Goats: Buying a Goat
Are you thinking of starting a goat farm? You are not alone in your feelings. Goats are the second most rapidly expanding livestock animal in the United States today, after chickens. A growing number of small farms and homesteads are incorporating them into their landscapes since they are both easy to care for and quite beneficial. A goat that has been appropriately reared may indeed be just as devoted, companionable, and charming as a family dog, and in certain instances, it can be even more beneficial.
If goats pique your interest and you’d want to learn more about caring for them, you’ve come to the correct spot. We’re going to wrap all you need to know about goat farming right now. This guide covers a wide range of goat topics, from food to housing to wellbeing and everything in between.
Before Bringing Goats Home/Farm
Making the decision to raise goats is a significant life decision. To mention a few needs, goats require considerable time, attention, equipment, cash, and other resources. Consequently, before acquiring any goats, it is a good idea to consider long and hard about why you want to own goats. In addition, it is critical to conduct thorough research before proceeding. It is possible to gain an understanding of what it is like to raise goats by researching things such as breed and number. This can eventually assist you in determining whether or not caring for goats is the correct career choice for you and your family.
Before introducing any goats into your house, be sure that you choose the appropriate breed for you and your needs. Do you have goats for milk production? Meat? Fiber? As a companion animal? You’ll want to grow various breeds of goats at different ages, depending on your reasons for wanting one.
Here is a list of the best well-known goat breeds used for multiple purposes:
- Pets: Pygmy, Nigerian Dwarf, and Kinder
- Meat: Kiko, Boer, Savanna, Spanish, and Genemaster
- Fiber: Cashmere, Angora, Pygora, and Nigora
- Dairy: Alpine, Anglo-Nubian, La Mancha, Sable Saanen, Oberhasli, and Toggenburg
What Number of Goats Should You Purchase?
It’s essential to decide on the number of goats you’ll want to start with first. In order to learn how to care for your goats without the demands of a bigger herd, most goat farmers advocate starting with fewer animals than you want to have in the end. You will want a minimum of two goats due to the fact that they are friendly creatures that will become lonely if left alone.
Another thing to consider is how much area you have available for your goats. Having acres and acres of range (woods, pasture, etc.) for them is a wonderful thing to have. The indoor sleeping area for goats should be between 10 and 15 square feet per goat. You’ll need around 20 square feet per goat for sleeping space and 30 square feet for exercise if you don’t have a barn (ideally, this would be outdoors).
How to Choose a Goat?
Choosing the right breed for your needs is the first step in purchasing a goat. Your goals may include providing meat or milk, displaying and creating a breeding line, or generating fiber.
However, there are a few more characteristics to take into consideration:
- Size: It is possible that you will choose a tiny breed if you live in an urban setting or have a small property.
- Horns: Horns can be dangerous to other goats, humans, and property. Inquire as to whether or not the breed you’re contemplating is horned.
- Whether they’re registered or not: If you plan to exhibit and breed goats, you’ll want to purchase registered animals, which are required to be marked with a tattoo or microchip and to have a documented breeding history. 3 If you’re raising goats for meat or milk or assisting out around the house, you don’t have to worry about getting them registered.
Are the Goats Registered?
Even if they are in the same condition, kind, and quality as unregistered goats, registered goats are worth more than unregistered goats. The buyer will have a traceable lineage if the registration is successful. Moreover, it lets them to participate in exhibitions and milk production programs, and it also allows them to register any progeny they may have.
Benefits for Purchasing a Registered Goat
- Registered goats allow you to advertise to a larger number of individuals from a breeding viewpoint. A large number of clients are interested in purchasing a registered animal. In the event that you choose not to register your herd, you will see a significant reduction in your future customers.
- Registered goats are backed up by a pedigree, which allows you to trace their genealogy back to their mother.
- You may enter them into competitions and shows (4-H, county fairs, etc.)
- Registered goats fetch a greater price than unregistered goats (in the US, the difference between unregistered and registered goats is $75-$200 for unregistered and $200-$1000 for registered).
- It is always possible to sell a registerable goat without papers, but it is never possible to do the inverse.
How to Purchase a Goat?
Make certain you work with a trustworthy breeder. In order to ensure your breeder’s reputation in the community, ask to see both the breeder’s animals and their records, and be sure to ask for references. A reputable breeder has healthy and sound animals, and their records will demonstrate how well their herd performs.
It is best to avoid the sale of barns because this is where many people sell their cull goats. Shop around and compare the ways in which goats are handled on the various farms you visit. Start slowly, but anticipate purchasing more than one goat due to the fact that goats are sociable creatures.
What Should You Look for in a Goat before Purchasing It?
You always want to know the fundamentals: breed, age, gender, estimated height and weight, and so on.
Disease Screening and Diagnosis
Keeping your herd disease-free is critical to its survival. Inquire with the breeder whether they have records of herd testing for the current year; if they do not, inquire as to whether they are comfortable with blood tests being performed on their animals. If the breeder is unwilling to pay for these tests, you may have to pay for them yourself, but it is an investment in the future of your herd.
The following are some examples of frequent tests:
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Caseous Lymphoma (CL)
- Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE)
- Johne’s Disease Brucellosis
Six Red Flags to Avoid When Purchasing Goats
- Lack of CAE and Johnes testing papers
- No photos
- Lack of paperwork
- Inability to provide a list of what is included with the purchase
- There is a scarcity of information regarding the goats’ Dam and Sire.
Which Vaccinations and Deworming Procedures are Followed?
The vaccination and worming protocols for goats appear to range from one goat caretaker to the next. The ideal way to care for an animal is up for discussion. Instead of continuing that debate here, I would advise that you investigate which goat vaccinations are available and determine what you believe is necessary.
It is essential to know which vaccines/wormers the animal has had in the previous year in order to avoid administering them again.
Whenever you welcome a new animal into your house, it’s vital to know what kind of feed they’ve been eating. A goat’s food should not be changed abruptly or excessively because this might create stress. A combination of these factors, as well as a recent relocation, may result in scours. Continue to follow the seller’s instructions as much as possible, and gently transition the goat to your new feeding schedule.
If you decide that keeping goats is the correct choice for you, it is critical that you be prepared for feeding time once you have brought them home from the farm. Contrary to common perception, goats do not consume everything that comes into their path. When it comes to food, kids may sometimes be picky eaters. This is why it’s critical to provide your goats with the proper sort of food, amount of food, and feeding apparatus, so that they may remain well-fed and in excellent health throughout the year.
Type of Food
The sort of food you select to feed your goats can significantly impact their overall health and wellbeing. In general, goats prefer to consume plant-based foods such as shrubs, trees, hay, and grains rather than animal-based foods. These things give goats with an adequate supply of energy and nutrition. There are various approaches you may take to feeding your goats these well-balanced foods, depending on your preferences.
Amount of Food
The amount of food you provide your goat is also critical to their overall health and wellbeing. Goats may get angry if they are given too much food, and they can become sluggish if they are given too little food, which is why it is critical to strike the right balance.
The amount of food you should provide your goats will vary depending on the size of each individual goat in your herd. It would help if you fed goats around 10-12 percent of their body weight each day in the ideal situation. A goat weighing 20 pounds, for example, should be fed 32 ounces of milk each day, according to the USDA. Not all at once, but equally spaced throughout the day, this amount of food should be consumed. The majority of goat owners feed their animals three times a day on average.
When it comes to rearing goats, various factors contribute to their overall health and wellbeing. In order to maintain their appearance, it’s necessary to groom, brush, trim, and clean them every month, at the very least. In addition, you should keep track of their immunizations and provide them with goodies regularly to keep them happy and healthy.
Grooming and caring for your goats aids in the formation of a relationship between you and your goats, which is necessary for the development of trust and dependence. Grooming your goats daily will also help you to become familiar with their physical characteristics. In other words, you’ll be able to recognize when something is wrong with them or when they’re being affected by a parasite before it spreads to the rest of your herd.
Signs that your Goat may be Suffering from an Illness
Unfortunately, even if you give your goats a healthy and happy environment, there is still a chance that they may become sick or injured at some point in their lives. If this is the case, it is essential to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of your otherwise healthy cattle.
What signs do you look for when your goat is sick? When your goat exhibits any of the following indications, it is likely that he or she is unwell or unhappy.
- Refraining from eating or drinking
- Not getting up
- Rubbing the back of their head against a wall or a fence
- Not urinating at all
- Pale or grey eyelids or gums
- Hot udders
- Sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes
- Distancing themselves from the rest of the herd
If any of your goats exhibit any of these broad signs, we urge that you speak with a specialist to determine your next steps.
Shelter and Space for the Goats
When it comes to rearing goats, the final thing to remember is that they require room and protection from the harsh elements. These two factors contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of your goats.
When it comes to growing goats, it’s essential to have access to a large quantity of area. In an ideal situation, you’ll have ample outside space where your goats may roam, exercise, and generally be healthy. Keeping your goats in a restricted place might cause them to become anxious, unhappy, and unwell, as tiny areas are known to be breeding grounds for diseases that are easily transmitted.
Give your goats plenty of areas to wander in order to avoid these issues. As a general rule, we recommend that each goat be given at least 10-15 feet of room. But it is possible that this will differ based on the size and activity level of your goats’ breeds.
It will depend on your budget and the size of your outside space how you choose to shelter your goats. The ideal arrangement would feature a barn with lots of room as well as a fence with sturdy, towering borders around the outside of the property.
When it comes to sheltering and safeguarding your goats and their young, a barn is ideal. As a result, they are more protected from harsh weather conditions, such as the high heat of Arizona, and from predatory animals like mountain lions and wolves and stray dog packs. Keep in mind that while planning your barn space that you need to provide enough space for water and feed, storage, lighting, and a milking place if you intend to milk your animals.
Additionally, fencing is required for the successful rearing of goats. Goats have a reputation for being great escape artists, able to slip in and out of nearly any situation. Installing a fence around your goats’ enclosure will help to alleviate this problem in the long run. We recommend that you build a fence that is at least four to five feet tall and reinforced by solid wooden posts to keep your goats safe and contained inside their assigned area.
FAQs about Goats
When it comes to purchasing goats, does are generally the most valuable. A well-bred doe, particularly one who is lactating, will command a high price. If she has been bred, inquire about the buck. If he is a resident, make an appointment to see him.
Approximately How Many Litters have been Produced by Her, as well as the Number of Children she has given Birth to on Average?
Goats are most generally known for giving birth to twins; triplets are the second most usual occurrence, followed by a single delivery. As far as how many goat babies you will be able to sell or add to your herd is concerned, you should have a fair notion of what to expect ahead of time.
What Amount of Milk does she Provide per Day/per Milking Session?
If you have a small house/farm, you may not require gallons upon gallons of milk every day. However, having a high-producing milk doe will increase the value of the children. At the end of the day, you are increasing the number of high-quality goats.
What Time of Day does she usually get Milked?
If the breeder’s milking schedule does not coincide with your own, the doe’s milking schedule can be progressively altered. Does should be milked every 12-13 hours, but you can gradually increase or decrease her milking time by 15 minutes per day, every milking until you achieve your desired milking timings. Do not overmilk your does.
What is the Reasonable Price is for a Goat?
This is dependent on a variety of factors, including whether or not the goat is registered and how successful the parents have been. Unregistered children are typically sold for $50 to $150, depending on where you live. Wethers (castrated males) are the greatest pets and are generally available at the lower end of the price spectrum.
If you are able to register the children, breeding animals will start at around $300, and unless they had anything really unique about them, that would be about where the price would remain. Among the factors that might influence the price of a goat are the following:
- Can you tell how much milk it produces daily? Alternatively, if it is a kid, how much milk is produced by its mother and grandmother?
- Does she have any teats on her? Alternatively, how do her dam’s teats look?
- In the case of the milker, what is her personality like while she is at the milk stand?
- Does the goat have any awards from competitions? (Assuming you wish to demonstrate)
Unless you plan on showing, there is no purpose in spending $1,000 on a pet or even a family milker when you can acquire goats for far less money that is equally as excellent as a pet or milker for the same price.
Are there any Sellers that you Should Avoid?
If a seller claims that a goat “carries” polled or blue-eyed genes, yet the goat in question is not polled or blue-eyed, the seller is either misinformed or dishonest about the goat’s genetic makeup. Because such genes are dominant in goats, if a goat possesses the gene, the goat will express it as well. Due to this, there is no such thing as a goat who “carries” polled or blue eyes.
Sellers who are either attempting to get rid of pets they have decided they don’t want any longer or who are novice breeders would often advertise goats as “great for pet, milk, or show” in their advertisements for goats. There are very few goats that are good for all three of those things, and if there are, the vendor should be able to back up all of his or her statements with evidence. Technically, every goat may be shown or milked, and any goat can be kept as a companion animal. That goat may or may not have a good amount of milk output, and it may or may not place well in the show ring. It might also be extremely bashful or even hostile at times. They have no idea what their children have in store for them if they are selling goats for milk or show but are not really milking or displaying them themselves.
Are there Goat Rescues?
Yes, because goats have gained popularity in recent years, goats are available for adoption from rescue organizations.
Before purchasing a goat, or any other livestock, do your homework and ask around. Talk to other breeders, join social media groups, and learn everything you can about the industry. Get in touch with a veterinarian who specializes in that particular breed of cattle and get a copy of their price list. Look for a mentor who has a lot of expertise; most livestock owners are glad to share their wealth of knowledge with you. For a reference, you can get in touch with your local extension office. Never be scared to walk away from a contract if you are not satisfied with the terms of the agreement