Orio and Fudge

The pygmy goats living their best lives

by Gill Sherry

Having been brought up surrounded by animals, it was perhaps no surprise that Iona Pollock requested a pair of pygmy goats for her 12th birthday rather than, say, a hamster.

“Iona had always wanted pygmy goats,” her mum, Christine, told me when I visited the family farm near Stewarton. “She always asks for animals for her birthday. She has a rabbit, pigs, and now goats.”

Not forgetting Rocco, the family cavapoo.

The goats, Orio and Fudge, joined the Pollocks last year at eight months old and although they officially belong to Iona, the whole family shares the responsibility of looking after them, including dad, Euan, and ten-year-old Blair.

“I feed them every morning,” Christine told me, “and Blair does the beds.”

As well as replenishing their straw so they’re nice and comfortable, Orio and Fudge are given fresh water and food each day.

“They’re not actually that dirty so they don’t really need mucking out,” Christine confirmed. “They’re probably the easiest animal that we’ve ever had.”

Considering that list of animals includes Luing cows, pigs, horses, cats and rabbits, that really is quite a compliment!

“They don’t require much attention,” Christine continued. “The attention you give them is because you want to give it, not because they need it.”

They do, however, need each other for company. Apparently, goats suffer from loneliness and stress when left alone and require at least one other goat partner to feel safe and content. I must say, siblings Orio and Fudge looked perfectly content when I met them in April.

Christine had this to say about their characteristics: “They’re definitely inquisitive, they’ll jump up like a wee puppy. They’re playful but they never bite. And they’re very greedy. They eat hay mostly and a little bit of hard food – goat nuts. They eat loads of grass and all the daffodils!”

They don’t destroy absolutely everything in the garden, though, as their larger relatives might do.

“There’s a wee apple tree that was planted for Euan’s mum who passed away. They don’t ever eat that, they just stand at it.”

Christine also described them as “wee escape artists” but although they might wander around the farm, visit the cows or sit by the pond, they always return to their own wee house when it’s time for bed.

They certainly seemed very happy. Any why not? Just like Iona and Blair, they’re growing up in a wonderful environment, surrounded by countryside and with plenty of company.

“They’re just relaxing and calming and lovely to be around,” Christine added. “They love human company. They follow me about, it’s almost like having a dog. When they hear us going outside, they’ll shout, ‘Feed me, play with me, come and see me!’ They like to be where we are.”

The whole family talked about the two pygmy goats with much affection. But their popularity extends way beyond the Pollock household. Iona told me that her friends love to come and visit Orio and Fudge and Christine said that even the delivery drivers stop to take pictures of them.

“It’s nice that they’re in the front garden,” she said, “because everybody that comes in can see them.”

But although pygmy goats are exceptionally cute and relatively easy to look after, it’s still advisable to do plenty of research before taking the plunge and bringing a pair home. Goats need plenty of space as well as food, water and shelter and a suitable play area. The average lifespan of a pygmy goat is between 10 and 15 years so, as with any pet, it’s a serious commitment.

That said, the Pollocks definitely don’t regret adding Orio and Fudge to their family, concluding with this simple declaration: “We love them!”