Best Advice for Getting into the MEAT goat business?

Discussion in 'Meat Market' started by GotmygoatMTJ, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    I used to raise the boers, but really never got the knack for the showing. Loved showing, but it was more hassle and a lot of the shows are fixed around here. :angry:

    Anyways, I love my nigerians, but I miss the thrill of getting those kids as big as they can. But I want to be more in commercial meat goats. I find commercial does sell really good around here, and wethers for show and slaughter.

    I need some GREAT advice and pointers on fulfilling this 'dream'.

    So heres what I want to know!

    --What kind of does? Anybodies opinion is welcome on what crosses are best!
    --What would you feed if does were on pasture for most of the time?
    --How many does would you need for the 'business' to profitable (money?! what money?!)
    --How to keep the does in top shape even if they kid twice a year (usually I wouldn't do that, but if they are kept in tip top condition?)
    --How many can I have on 10 acres?
    --Best time to have kids? (Not gonna do 4H! No Feb kiddings for me please!) LOL

    Thank you all!
  2. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    --What kind of does? Anybodies opinion is welcome on what crosses are best!
    I like the boer/nubian crosses as they grow fast...
    --What would you feed if does were on pasture for most of the time?
    Every once in a while.. they need roughage...when the pasture is lush and thriving in Spring....what ever hay.. you would like to give them..
    if the pasture is irrigated... if it is not and is will have to monitor the pasture they have.. to eat.....and may have to feed them.. if they chew it down....
    in winter..the pasture and the plants are mostly made of water... which makes it not very they be fed.. good quality hay... as they will burn off ...what they eat... loose salt and minerals.. free choice is good to have for them...

    --How many does would you need for the 'business' to profitable (money?! what money?!)the more the better must remember... you have to be able to care for each one...... ..hoof trimming... vaccinations... worming ect...
    --How to keep the does in top shape even if they kid twice a year (usually I wouldn't do that, if they are kept in tip top condition?)I wouldn't recommend doing it breaks them down and they won't last... that many I have no opinion on that... as I am unsure... how to keep them in tip top condition by breeding them 2x a year..... :(
    --How many can I have on 10 acres? Not really sure...but.. I do know ....the more you have ...the faster they will eat a pasture down....and they will have babies and then... there are even more mouths.... so also have to figure in the kids too..
    --Best time to have kids? (Not gonna do 4H! No Feb kiddings for me please!) LOLSpring babies are the best with all the new lush pasture out and the babies can be play..

  3. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    Thank you Toth. :) I dont think I would really force my does to have kids twice a year either, but perhaps have does kidding at different parts of the year...
    I used to have 60 does that I cared for. Usually I did their wormings/trimmings on the weekends, splitting up the herd between saturday and sunday. :)

    I do like the Boer/Nubian. I also like the Spanish, Spanish/Nubian and Spanish/Boer.

    Do you think feed would be a necessaty, if they have good hay every once in a while, mineral blocks/tubs, loose mineral and baking soda?
  4. RPC

    RPC Boer Goat Breeder

    When the does are open and only a few months bred I just give them hay and pasture. Once they are 3 months bred I start giving them some grain then up it once they kid. I am super worried about kids being 2 big so that's why I have done it this way.
  5. Steve

    Steve New Member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Central Ky
    Ill take a stab at some of these,Ive only had my boers for 3 years though.

    Boer/nubian crosses are good but dont limit yourself to those if you can buy a good boer/kiko doe or other boer cross.I look at how many kids will be on the ground and how many will be at a good weaning weight so i dont have to bottle feed or put alot more feed into to make money on them.

    I am trying a boer/alpine this year just cause i am tending to my cousins alpine doe.Will be letting you know the results of that soon.

    I feed a 16% medicated goat feed,but only limit it to a need to basis.After kidding they need grain to produce milk,as i too only kid in the spring for nearly free feed/browse.Everything will be growing soon and the kids will be getting more nutrients from browsing does than feedlot does.

    I would say you can turn a profit on 10 does if they have multiples.Thats 20 kids or more if they all survive.Selling them at 60lbs each or more at 1.50 lb would be $1800 minus expenses it wouldnt be alot but it could be profit.Start with 10 and see how your pasture/browse holds up,then adjust from there.We had a drought last year and had to feed hay in august.Not good for profits.

    If you bale your own hay you could keep all bucks until spring for better market prices and they would weigh more.

    Never sell at an auction/per animal,always sell by the pound with multiple bidders.Unless selling to another breeder,then it is what you want for it.
    We have graded goats sales in kentucky and they always bring better money than a regular auction.

    Dont kid twice a year,too stressful on does and they need more feed to keep up weight and be healthy.More feed=less profit.

    I dont know where you are to say how many per acre,but you should be able to manage 10 does and a buck plus all the kids on that if you have decent forage and browse,but you need hay fields too to be profitable.Hay is not cheap unless you buy junk.I look for weedy hay for bucks with grass mixed in it.Does need good hay a few months before and up to the time they kid.I mean good protien content and something they will eat.Moldy or over ripe hay is not good.

    Do as much yourself as you can,you said you trimmed hooves and wormed a herd before.Doing your own fecals and giving shots/worming diagnosing sicknesses can help you be more profitable.

    Kid when the grass starts,around here it is late march/early april.

    Mine should kid starting the first of april.

    Im no expert,this is just what i do and it works for me.
  6. jodief100

    jodief100 New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    There is a lot of research coming out of U of Tennessee on breeds. It depends on you want to run your operation. Boers are big and grow fast but they are high maintenance. Kikos are hands off but do not grow as fast. The research shows kiko does bred to Boer bucks produce the fastest growing kids. I love my kikos, they are much hardier and better feed conversion rates.
    I keep mine on pasture as much as possible, even in the winter when it is dead. I supplement with hay at that time but they do not eat hay exclusively. I feed grain to late gestation and lactating does. The rest only get minimal grain, just enough to get them to come running when I call. I notice my kiko and Spanish will eat more pasture and my boers will eat more hay.
    If you want to breed more than once a year, you need to be feed a lot of grain along with the browse. You have to see what is going to work for you and do the cost benefit analysis. Is the increased grain cost worth the additional kids or not? I breed a doe every 9-12 months, depending on her individual condition.
    10 acres- it depends on what you have on 10 acres. At my place, with lots of grass, weeds and half my acreage wooded, I can keep 8-10 does per acre. My aunt’s place in the desert, closer to 2 does per acre.
    Research at UT is showing that late spring and late fall kids grow faster. Summer born kids grow the slowest. It also depends on your market. Prices are highest December through April and then drop in the summer. Your local market may have price spikes for certain holidays. Do the cost benefit analysis.

    My advice- do your research and find out your local market first. Where can you sell, how can you sell and what the prices are. I sell most of mine on farm to people from ethnic minority groups who drive down from the city. My state allows me to sell them and allow them to butcher at my farm- but I cannot butcher for them. You will want to see what your state and local government allows and doesn’t allow. Anything I cannot sell on farm, there is a goat auction 1 ½ hours away that has good prices, comparable to the San Angelo’s market. A specialized goat auction will get better prices than a general livestock auction. I also have 3 slaughterhouses within 2 hours that will buy goats.
    2nd piece of advice- keep track of every penny and what it was spent on. That will help you adjust your business plan as needed. It also is great for your taxes. Find a good accountant that specializes in farms in your state.
    3rd piece of advice- find out every tax break, grant program, reimbursement, matching funds program there is. I get reimbursement for capital expenses from the commonwealth and money for fences along my creek from the feds (environmental program). I pay no sales tax for livestock feed and certain farm related expenses. I get a lot of write-offs for farm expenses on my non-farm income.

    4th piece of advice- remember free advice is worth what you pay for it.
  7. ()relics

    ()relics New Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    I agree with Jodie, in principle anyway: Free advice=Not of much value. That said here is My Advice:

    My oldest percentage line is an alpine boer cross. I have maintained this line for 6 years. I have a newer nubian boer line but don't have enough data to comment which is better or worse. I will say that Intially your first generation, F1 crosses, will be very dairyish and cannot compete with a true fullblood boer in adg or carcass quality...But if you continue with your cross to the F2, F3 generation your kids should start gaining quicker and become fattier...Conclusion: dairy kids do not compete with meat type kids so your first few years of a new cross, or Hybrid, may not yeild as well as the later generations.
    My does kid every 6-7 months. If they cannot do this and keep condition, they are culled. My feed bills tell the tale...True " more feed= less profit"...BUT Less kids= WAAAAY less profit. My does do not EVER look out of condition but they are fed the best available ration and have the best pastures or hay always available.
    I kid when my markets Demand I kid. I want kids ready for Christmas, september kids. I want Kids ready for Easter,January kids, and I want kids ready for Labor Day,April kids. I want to be able to get the most for my kids When I am Ready to sell them. I don't want to have to hold them until the time is better. I wean and sell kids at 100 days. Based on my markets and my herd genetics and my rations, I can easily figure when the does need to kid to have kids ready. Most of my does are Rebred while they are still lactating. They dry while gestating and never lose condition. They kid and nurse for 100 days then the kids are gone.
    My herd costs are +/-$100 per week based on my herd size and ration quality. I expect 40-70 kids per year, again based on my breeding herd size and breeding cycles. I "make" very little money per year...BUT my percentages support my Fullbloods. These are, essentially, run as seperate herds.
    I have been at this racket for a few years now and have seen lots of people that have jumped right in over their heads only to be forced into selling out because " the money wasn't there" due to poor planning or a faulty budget. I would think it might be better to start with a few does so you can set-up your feed rations, your breeding schedules, and your budget on a smaller scale....Invest little= lose little...To realize a profit and be a "full time goat farmer" I would have to maintain 100+ does run on an intensely managed schedule...and that isn't going to happen....Because this is a hobby.
  8. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    MILK - Growth.
    Find Boers, or your preferred Boer cross, out of the best producing line. that's where my original goats lacked. they wouldn't grow as well, because of the limited milk supply! So as relics said above, having some dairy back there in genetics wont really hurt you. I have a 75% boer,25% alpine, never had less than trips, and always girls...and she milks her you know what off!
    When I bought My buck..I looked for MILK in the dam, yup it was there.
  9. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    Thank you all for your opinions and suggestions/information!! I am definitly taking them all into account!
  10. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Your welcome...good luck in your decision.... :wink: :hi5:
  11. Ruby Farms

    Ruby Farms New Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Tioga, PA
    the only question I can give an opinion on is the 10 acres to how many goats .. my place is 10 acres .. I have 2 acres of woods .. 1 acres of lawn and the rest in pasture .. I had 5 females, 2 bucks and a pygmy .. my fields are split into 2 pastures .. I made sure that I switched the pastures when it looked like one was getting a little short .. when I get the next herd I plan on splitting up the pastures into 4 instead of 2 .. this will give me a better rotation of the pastures .. this may help you get the most out of your pastures .. another piece of advice .. contact your local conservation district .. they can give you a count of how many animals that you can have on your fields without overloading the ground ..
  12. DRJ Ranch

    DRJ Ranch New Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Anderson, California
    Hi I'm kind of new to big herd managment but we have been raising meat goats for over 5 years.

    I'm a little different on Feed, I only feed grass and what ever they forage which is black berries around here right now on 40 acres of irragated pasture, I'm working on developing a animal that can reach weight and grade on pasture only. I'm thinking of buying a protien feed in bulk 1ton is $400 plus.

    We also do custom hay work so at most it cost me .50 a bale to make 80lbs of red clover and grass hay. This winter though Im looking into putting in some cow peas and oats Hoping to get the protien % up with the cow peas.

    I run fullblood boers and a nub/boer cross from newborns up I have 60 does and 9 weather/bucks. I run them on my hill side and pasture right by my house while the other grows at the end of hay season we will have over 3k bales in the barn we can feed out.

    I have acouple different place to sale but right now im taking to the auction yard max prices are 150 at one and 200 at the other.

    I breed every 8 months about so that works for a 2nd kidding every 2 to 3 years I also cull heavy for stuff that doesnt meet my preferences.
  13. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    Thank you guys. :) We have been raising goats for about 11 years now (different knds. Raised the boers for 5 or 6 years of that)

    I have always heard 7 adult goats per acres with kids. So, if I have 10 acres to forage/graze on, wouldn't I be able to have quite a few?

    But, this plan doesn't look like it will work out, because we are splitting up the field for horses tomorrow and the field for the miniature goats and some large dairy goats will be about 5 acres. So the meat goat business, no more ):
  14. Perfect7

    Perfect7 New Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    South Georgia
    I can only help with the pasture issue as well. Last year we had horses on 8 acres and 7-10 goats on a 2 acre pasture (mainly grass, lots of wild blackberries). The goats didn't get anywhere close to eating that smaller pasture down. I could have had twice as many goats and even then, I don't think they would have made a dent in it.
    This year I have no horses so the goats get all 10 acres. I've read that a good rule of thumb is 6 does and their nursing kids per acre (considering a standard grass pasture). :thumb: