Monday, May 2, 2011

Got Goats?

Me and Hubby have been kicking around the idea of getting into the goat business. We had an "issue" with the bull and him wanting to kill the four wheeler about a week ago. Don't ask. So, we got to thinking, a 200 lbs billy would probably be easier to handle than a 2000 lbs bull. Don't get me wrong, we still want to keep a couple cows for our own calves to eat. But, we would just "borrow" the neighbor's bull. lol.

Before we just jumped into getting a million goats,(okay maybe an exaggeration.) we are looking into what kind of goat business we want to get into. Do we want to go for meat goats or, do we want to go for dairy, or, maybe a mixer of both? Anyway, we are studying the markets. We are asking people their opinions. We are learning about different products that goats can be used for. You know, just checking on if it would be worth the money invested to get into the goat business any deeper.

One of the things I did was call the extension agent here in our county. I heard she was very knowledgeable about goats. But guess what, she was on maternity leave. The nerve of her! lol.  So I called 3 more extension agents from 3 different counties. All were busy and would have to call me back.

Skip forward 2 weeks. I finally got a phone call today from the secretary of one of the extension agents. She said that the extension agent that I wanted to talk to would be going out of the town and wouldn't be back until next week. Would I like to talk to the extension agent's assistance?  I told her I would. Someone is better than no one. At least that's what I thought.

When he got on the line he was nice enough. He, at first, was trying to act like he knew what he was talking about. That was until I started asking him questions. He kept back peddling on his answers. Then after a few minutes he declared that he was more knowledgeable about plants instead of animals and that I should call back next week and talk to the extension agent. Well, that's what I wanted to do! Thanks for wasting my time. I understand if the man didn't know anything about animals. But, don't tell me you do when you don't. Oh well.

Now I'm going to ask all my blogger friends out there who have goats or whoever wants to put their two cents worth in. Would a goat farm be worth investing money in?

So until next time,

Small Farm Girl, goat farmer?


Tonia said...

One thing I would do is find Several goat farms with in oh about a 50 mile radius of you and talk to them. Email, visit or by phone. Most will be willing to talk to another goat person. See how they are doing things and what they raise for. Good luck on your decision! I like goats they are much more manageable than cows to me..

Carolyn said...

If it's possible, try to find out what kind of demand there is in the meat goat trade in your area. I love the dairy goats for our own personal use, but unelss you want to become an "officially licensed" goat milk producer, the &^%$$*^ FDA will be your biggest hurdle (even after the **&%* give you permission). God save you if you try to sell milk witout their blessings.
We're just starting to work on the farm infrastructure here so that we can have dairy goats for our own use (and a few on-site farm sales) but to also intergrate Boer goats into the herd to have meat for us and to sell.

Then there's the possibility of selling the kids to other wanna-be homesteaders. Which, if the economy keeps it's straight & steady path to destruction, may become a lucrative business as there will be more people wanting / having to raise their own meat.

We've never had cows, so I can't attest to their behaviors, but it does seem logical that an angry 200lb buck is much less of a threat than a 2000lb bull.

Good luck! And keep us blog-stalkers updated!

Modern Day Redneck said...

You know me, I am pro pygmy. They have the best milk.
I can sell 10 times the amount of pygmys than full size goats. I cater to the small, weekend backyard farmers and my little herd cannot have enough kids to meet the demand. As a matter of fact, I almost doubled my herd tonight. Drop by the MDR blog and check them out.

Anonymous said...

How typical that sounds. Never can get a straight answer, and the one you want to talk to is always GONE, NOTHING IS SIMPLE...debbie

small farm girl said...

I have talked to 2 farms around here. One, I think she just wanted to sell me some of her goats so she really talked up the business. The other looked like he didn't care for his goats and said there was no money in them. He was just keeping a few for his entertainment. Guess I need to talk to more.

Debbie, your right, NOTHING is simple.

Anonymous said...

We're in Mississippi and just purchased a Sanaan doe & baby from a local farmer. He mainly keeps his goats for pleasure and doesn't advertise, but said if he did advertise he would not be able to keep up with the demand. Even without advertising he is selling everything he wants to sell just by word of mouth.

We have another friend raising Nubians and she said the same thing. It seems like more people are gaining interest in goats and if you have a healthy herd you probably will do quite well with either one (dairy or meat).

Jim F Loos said...

Goats over cows. Are you crazy. Just joking. I have heard the market as turned favorable for goats. Have you looked in to hair sheep? The producers around here like them better. Easier to work with and less parasites.

curmudgeon said...

One of the colleges here in OK is a huge goat information bank. I remember reading an article in the tulsa world about it being at the forefront of bringing info about owning/raising goats to the 3rd world countries. Anything you want to know about goats, they should have the info.

The sad part is for the life of me I can't remember which college it is... :{

I'll keep looking and try to find the info for your.

Anonymous said...

I have had goats for a while and here is my advice to you.
1 CAE You do not want to start out with a sick goat. Ask owner if they know about CAE and if their goats are free of this disease.
2 Order a free catalog from Hoeggers Goat Supply. There you will have info on what the proper structure of a goat looks like and all the info on caring for a goat.
3 If the county agent ever calls you back, as her about goat owners in the area.
4 I would not recommend buying a goat at an action. Too many chances of getting a goat that was trouble to the owners.
5 Decide what type of goat you want and the use of it. I raise Alpine goats, I like their personalities, and their milk. Also, some like the Boer goats for meat, but you can have milk and meat from an Alpine or other milk breeds.
6 You must buy two goats. Goats are herd animals. They will cry and call for you every minute you are not with them, if you buy one goat.
I hope your first goats are healthy, sweet and loving.

SweetLand Farm said...

Ever thought of fiber goats? being a spinner myself, that would be wonderful to spin! meat and milk have their pluses too. i think i'd rather wrestle a 200lb goat then the 2000lb bull! haha, and then turn them both into supper! i think local goat farmers would give you better info then any extention office too.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

There are many bloggers who own goats who I'm sure are willing to share the ups and downs of the goat business.

We are strictly a beef operation here on the Ponderosa and deal with the locomotive sized bulls. Not always within my safety factor.

God bless and I hope ya'll can find the help and information ya need.

Sarah said...

I can't vouch for goats but hope to know more about them before too long. I can say that there is no point in putting up with the drama of a bull if your only running 2 cows! Use a neighbors for sure! I look forward to learning more about the goat industry in your future posts!

Teri said...

Hey girl,
Maybe you should consider who you will sell to ... who do you want your buyers to be? Do you just want to breed for market sales? Do you want to breed for resale of pure reg goats? Consider maintance? Worming? shelter?feed?
You know I am a sheepy girl ... but at $2.60 a lb ... sheep are coming around ... and they are in the bovine family ... don't limit yourself to what everyone else is breeding, raising or selling ... sometimes the "goat market gets flooded" if you know what I mean. Over breeding is a big problem ... supply make be to much for demand.
good luck tho.
Hope your staying dry in your neck of the woods.

Denise said...

Hubby and I have been talking about getting goats for milk and meat when we (sigh) get enough money together to buy that back 40 (or 20 or 10 we're not picky ;) There are a lot of Hispanic and Indians and even Africans that love goat meat. And goat meat is really good in a curry. I think that sheep would be another good one for meat. The lamb in the store is imported from Australia...go figure. Guess it's cheaper to buy it there and ship it over here than to actually go looking for a sheep farm here...jeez. And lamb rubbed with spices is really good too.

Peacemom said...

I know that raising dairy goats is a lot of work in red tape if you want to sell the milk outright, and Oh HEAVEN forbid if you want to sell that milk...gasp...raw. So, perhaps consider milk soap (though there are a lot of people here producing it) and cheese, otherwise, meat may be the way to go. And others have mentioned sheep which may also be a great alternative to goats. Best of luck to you! Since you have the land and the knowledge to care for the goats, you're already more then halfway there! ~Vonnie

Allie said...

I second the issue of over breeding. I'd make sure the market where you're at isn't over serviced with goats milk/cheese/soap/meat. You could always keep a few hair goats around as well, pygoras or nigoras would be easy to handle and give you a different market to tap into.

Unknown said...

We have diary and milk goats and love them! our nubian just had a kid, two weeks ago and we love watching it grow. We originally got them to clear the brush, and then moved on to dairy goats too. We have 4 goats and they are really the highlight of the farm. Good luck deciding, my vote is yes!