Can you keep a pygmy goat? 0 345

Pygmy Goat

These little critters are about half the size of a regular, full-sized goat. As you would expect, they are hardy, mischievous and adorable. But before you get excited at the thought of snuggling up to a tiny goat on a couch, make sure you know what you are getting into.

1. Not house pets

Anyone who has ever owned a goat will tell you that they are not house pets. Goats are almost impossible to house train and will eat absolutely everything. Even a half-sized one can do a lot of damage if left indoors. If you want a goat, make sure you have an adequate outside enclosure for them.

2. They are spirited jumpers

Bouncing all over the place, Pygmies are cute bundles of energy. Make sure you build a fence that is high enough to keep them inside and out of your petunias. A fence about a foot high should do the trick. To keep them happy, a grassed area of 10 foot is large enough for two or three goats.

3. They are herd creatures

Being a part of the herd is in their DNA. It is cruel to keep them alone and they probably won’t fare that well. If you want a pygmy goat, then get two for good measure. Of course, building a miniature herd would give you lifelong bragging rights!

4. The females produce milk

Although pygmy goats don’t produce as much milk as their larger counterparts, they have about 180 milk-bearing days a year. The only catch is that you have to breed them at least once a year. Remember that if you choose to do this, you have to care for the new little one or find a suitable home for them.

5. Females in heat are loud

Females go into heat once a month and make a blearing bleating sound. If you have neighbours that hate noise, these little guys are probably not your best choice.

Pygmy goats can make great little outdoor pets if you have the right environment and dedication. Be prepared for loyalty, excited jumping and adorable mayhem. If you don’t have the space for full sized goats, these are a great alternative.

Explore more unusual mammals that can be kept as pets

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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 111

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 136

What can degus eat

When they’re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they’re kept as pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu’s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it’s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it’s growing mould. If it’s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It’s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu’s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don’t go overboard. It’s important that your degu doesn’t start ignoring the hay because it’s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

• Asparagus
• Carrot tops
• Dandelion leaves
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Fresh herbs
• Brussels sprouts
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Courgette
• Green beans
• Beetroot
• Dried herbs
• Pumpkin
• Butternut squash
• Marigold flowers
• Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we’d only recommend doing this once a month.

• Apple
• Cherry tomatoes
• Peas
• Sweet potato
• Carrots
• Cucumber
• Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it’s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food – whether it’s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: http://www.nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/