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Celebrating the Adorable Pygmy Goat

Updated: Oct 14

The Board of Directors for the National Pygmy Goat Association has declared April 23rd National Pygmy Goat Day! Join Parkside Farm as we celebrate the anniversary of the NPGA and promote awareness of the pygmy goat breed.

If you hear someone say the word "goat," typically an image pops in your head. When you hear the words "pygmy goat," maybe you're not sure what that means! Often the term pygmy goat gets thrown out and overly used to describe any goat of miniature stature or size. But did you know the pygmy goat is a specific breed and classification all unto itself? Many people get the Nigerian Dwarf breed confused with pygmy goats. True and breed standard correct animals must possess certain criteria and qualifications. Pygmy goats will never have blue eyes and can only be certain color patterns.


In order to register a pygmy goat with the National Pygmy Goat Association or American Goat Society, animals must meet certain requirements. Animals registered through the NPGA also must come from registered parents. The only exception to this is the ability to register wethers (castrated males) through a certification process within the NPGA. The AGS's requirements are somewhat different than the NPGA in terms of registering pygmy goats, however, they do recognize NPGA animals and will dual register them upon providing official NPGA registration papers. Parkside Farm is proud to be the only registered pygmy goat breeder in Kent County, MI holding memberships with the NPGA and AGS.

Pygmy goats are a joy to be around and through animal assisted activities, help humans push past their fears and gain confidence in their abilities and themselves. - Nicole Zaagman

Some fun facts about the pygmy goat breed found on the NPGA website and online brochure:


"Pygmy Goats are a specific breed derived from the Cameroon’s or West African Dwarf Goat. The first Pygmy Goats were brought to the United States in 1959 for use in petting zoos. The Pygmy Goat is hardy, alert and animated, good-natured and gregarious, a docile, responsive pet, a cooperative provider of milk, and an ecologically effective browser.


Pygmy Goats are assets in a wide variety of settings, and can adapt to virtually all climates. They are ideal personal livestock suited to today’s smaller homestead. A brief summary of the National Pygmy Goat Association’s Breed Standard describes the Pygmy Goat as being genetically small, cobby, and compact. Mature animals measure between 16 and 23 inches at the withers. Head and legs are short relative to body length."


3 Things Parkside Farm loves about pygmy goats:

  1. Pygmy goats make perfect pets: for someone starting out in the world of livestock caretaking, pygmy goats are an exceptional choice as pets. Compared to other goat breeds they are smaller and easier to manage for children and young adults. They are social, jolly good natured animals that bond easily with humans. Each pygmy goat will have a distinct "voice" and unique personality. Some are more bashful or outgoing than others. Pygmy goats are an economical option for youth starting out in 4-H or local fairs compared to larger livestock such as horses.

  2. Pygmy goats teach us about community: goats are herd animals, they rely on one another for their enrichment and social community. Mother pygmy goats make great parents and you can often find other pygmy goats of a herd helping out to take care of the babies as they get older. It takes a village! Pygmy goats and goats in general do not do well without at least one other goat. They can easily become depressed if they are left by themselves with no social interaction. We can learn a valuable lesson from pygmy goats that it is not good to be alone and to isolate ourselves away from each other. Family and community matters!

  3. Pygmy goats are great "therapy" animals: while the world of evidence based "therapy" using goats is a relatively unexplored field, there are some, including Parkside Farm's Jump for JOY Program™ who are stepping out to use goats as a way of helping children, teens, adults and senior citizens reduce stress and experience therapeutic benefit. Goats are playful and curious, they engage with humans in a way that is different than other animal therapy species such as dogs or horses. They enjoy being brushed, cared for, played with, talked to, walked and held. Pygmy goats are a joy to be around and through animal assisted activities, help humans push past their fears and gain confidence in their abilities and themselves.

 

Nicole Zaagman lives in Byron Center, Michigan with her high-school sweetheart and her four legged family members. Nicole is an accomplished, Christian entrepreneur and children's author, passionate about helping women succeed in life and business through coaching. She travels the state of Michigan visiting senior centers and special events with her pygmy goats through the Jump for JOY Program™ and operates Parkside Farm in Byron Center, Michigan. Nicole is an advocate and ally for agriculture and farm education and started the Farmilies Connect™ initiative to help connect farms and families in Michigan.




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