I love animals—I have four birds, three fish tanks, and a dog. Oh, and the newest addition: an appaloosa! I also love horseback riding.
Don't have much space for a large farm with large farm animals? Well, I have gathered information on many species of livestock that are "smaller" than your average breed, or they are just small in general.
Make sure to check with your city to find out what the local ordinances are before you go out and buy any of these animals. Also, make sure you are able to care for one, and do your research before you buy! Read on to learn more about these awesome mini farm animals!
The Top 6 Coolest Miniature Farm Animals
- Pygmy Goats
- Dexter Cattle
- Miniature Horses
- Potbellied Pigs
- Old English Babydoll Southdown Sheep
- Miniature Donkeys
1. Pygmy Goats
Pygmy goats are smaller than your average goat. In fact, they are the size of a medium-sized dog. Females weigh anywhere from 50–75 pounds and males weigh anywhere from 60–85 pounds. They have many different type of coats and colorings. They are very hardy and can live in any environment.
Pygmy goats primarily eat grains and greens. They have very "hardy" stomachs and can digest almost anything. They also need fresh water around the clock.
Pygmy goats need shelter and an accessible open space at all times. They also like to climb and explore, so it is best if you offer those opportunities. They are a prey animal, so it might be best to lock them up at night.
Pygmy goats need a companion, but it does not have to be another of their kind. These goats are very sweet and loving. They are also extremely tolerant. They make great pets for families.
2. Dexter Cattle
Dexter cows are some of the smallest you'll get. Cows weigh 600–700 pounds, while bulls weigh close to a thousand pounds. Dexter cows were once very rare but are now becoming more and more common. These cows are gentle, hardy, easy to handle, and intelligent.
Dexter cattle are easier on your pasture than normal cows; also, more Dexters can be grazed on less acreage.
If used for meat, they produce lean, tender, and tasty beef. Their milk is high in butterfat, and the milk is more digestible.
Dexters cost about half as much as a normal cow breed, making them easier to maintain.
- Miniature Cattle Breeds
Read about other miniature cattle breeds here.
3. Miniature Horses
Miniature horses are small and eat less than a normal horse, but they still require the same care as a normal horse. Your property must be zoned to have a miniature horse.
Miniature horses are sometimes fed too much. This may result in colic or founder. Only 10% of their diet should be grains and the rest good quality hay. It only costs about $30 a month to feed them hay.
Miniatures like to be outdoors. They like to have access to the outdoors, just like normal horses. They need a place to run and at least a three-sided shelter. If you board it in a barn/stall, try to turn them out every day.
You can do many things with miniature horses. You can freehand jump them, take them to halter shows, lounge them, or even have small children ride them. If you are experienced enough, you can even have them pull a small cart. They also make good companions to big horses and other livestock.
Miniature Horses Driving a Cart
Find more miniature horse info below:
- Miniature Horses for Sale
Looking for a mini horse? Here is a listing of miniature horses for sale in the US and Canada.
- USA Miniature horse
Tons of information on miniature horses!
- American Miniature Horse Association
Find more information on miniature horses by going to this trustworthy website.
4. Potbellied Pigs
What's cuter than a potbellied pig? Almost nothing! Potbellied pigs are social, friendly, surprisingly clean, and smart. Pigs are one of few animals that have a conscience and are rated fifth in smarts of all animal species on Earth. Surprisingly, pigs are cuddly and affectionate! Being as smart as they are, the pigs are also easily trainable.
Potbellied pigs mostly live outdoors, providing they have all the necessities, like a place to roam and shelter. Potbellied pigs also commonly live indoors, but sometimes that is unwanted. Pigs also need a place to run as they need exercise. Make sure to check with local ordinances before adopting one. And if you are to adopt, your best bet is to get a pig from a breeder, but you must make sure the breeder is reputable.
Potbellied pigs weigh from 100–175 pounds and to 16 to 26 inches high; that's a big weight and size difference, so if you're buying one as a household pet make sure it is from smaller parents. Potbellied pigs like to eat, but what pig doesn't? You usually feed your pig pig chow from various companies two times a day. Good pig chow includes Heatland and Peak Performance. Pigs also love veggies. Make sure you don't overfeed your pig.
Warning: There is no such thing as a miniature/teacup pig that is said to grow to 12" or so. That is a scam, and the pigs are fed less to keep them small. Most have health problems and grow more than expected.
More info on potbellied pigs below:
- Teacup Pigs? True or False?
Watch out for teacup pig scams, and get information on that here.
- Pigs4Ever - Gifts, Supplies and Resources for Pot Belly Pigs
Pigs4Ever's company mission is to offer you the most up-to-date information available on the care and well-being of pet potbellied pigs. This website practically has everything you need to know about potbellied pigs.
5. Old English Babydoll Southdown Sheep
These sheep are one of the smallest breeds out there, as they only reach up to 24" tall. They have adorable faces and are super-cute. Babydolls have fine wool and tasty meat, if you would ever want to butcher them. They also make good pets, as they are docile and have no horns. They are a very good choice for a 4H sheep. Lots of times they are used in petting zoos. Although they are small, they do require the care of a normal sheep.
They need to be sheared yearly and vaccinated. They need regular hoof trimming and deworming. The sheep can live on smaller plots and are great 'lawnmowers' because when they eat grass they nicely trim it instead of pulling it out of the ground.
Babydolls are easy keepers as far as sheep go. They need good quality hay or can eat grass that grows from the ground and still keep healthy.
More info on babydoll sheep below:
6. Miniature Donkeys
Miniature donkeys are becoming very popular and, well, how could they not? They're adorable! Donkeys are friendly and have a loving nature; they're really more like a dog than a horse.
Miniatures need a secure area, with at least a three-sided shelter to keep them safe. Being prey animals, they need a safe area to protect them. They also like to be in herds, so give them a companion. It doesn't necessarily have to be another donkey, though. It can be another peaceful herd animal such as a goat.
Donkeys mostly eat hay and graze on grass. They need low-protein hay. They also need salt blocks as a supplement. They are fairly easy keepers and love their food. One thing to watch out for is if they aren't eating like normal because that indicates there is something wrong.
Donkeys do need vet care, hoof care, teeth care, de-worming, and vaccinations yearly.
More info on miniature donkeys below:
- About National Miniature Donkey Association
The National Miniature Donkey Association's goals are to protect and promote the Miniature Mediterranean breed and to provide education on donkey care and management.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.