So i want to be a goat farmer...

Discussion in 'Meat Market' started by Jordan8505, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    Hey all,

    Im new here, I've came across this forum a few times searching google for farm/livestock/etc questions so i decided to join.

    A little background on what is going on with us and our plans. We are just short of buying our 14 acre plot by the end of this month, this is just the start as we were promised the rest of the tract to make 75 acres. We should have room to grow from there.

    I have had my heart set on registered black angus once i got to own my own farm as thats what my family use to raise. I unfortunately didnt get the pleasure to grow up with that lifestyle because my mom is an odd duck. We lived in a subdivision my whole life so i helped odd farm jobs with friends and other family when i could.

    My wife though decided to get a ND goat because i was helping her parents find one as a pet and they backed out. So we wound up taking what they didnt get. I wasnt exicted at first but ive really started to like it, we got it early due its mother passing but we knew we couldnt have just one so instead of getting 1 more we got 3. Were picking 2 up tomorrow.

    Now to the main point here, ive been doing some research on goats and see how profitable they are, or so i read. More so than cattle by the pound. I am interested meat goats, maybe dairy as well if its worth it. I am looking at going all in to make the biggest profit, registered, grass fed, whatever will be beneficialto profit in the end.

    That being said, i havent really got a clue what goats would be best for me, ive looked at the kiko, spanish, kalahari and savanna but i dont know which way to go. I did hear from a boer goat farmer/shower that they are a pain for upkeep because they are so susceptible to health issues which is why i didnt list them, but i would be open to them if thats not the case. The ones i listed are what i found online to be "the best meat goats" and ive seen them for sale closer to me, i dont want to have to drive from kentucky to west texas everytime i want to add to the herd.

    Any insight on breed would be a big help. I would also love to know things like how many can i run per acre, when to sell, best place to sell or how to sell for the biggest profit. Anything would be fantastic.

    Thank you all!
    HMNS and Iluvlilly! like this.
  2. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Welcome to The Goat Spot. There are a lot of knowledgable people here and no one is "uppity"!
    I raise dairy goats. It is very hard to be real profitable with goats unless you are a really large farm or ranch.

    I had Kikos for awhile, but for me, it didn't work. My Kikos were wonderful, it was too hard on me to sell them as meat. (I'm no bunny hugger, I just did not care to raise meat goats.)

  3. Boers4ever

    Boers4ever Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2020
    East Texas
    Hi there! Welcome to The Goat Spot! I raise Boers. They are definitely the gentle giants of the goat world. They are not more susceptible to health issues, pretty much just like any other goat. Except that they’re bigger.
    I got some tips if your gonna raise Boers though!
    Have really good fence. They are big and very heavy goats. They will destroy your fence.
    Sell to your local 4-H club and FFA. It’s the best way to get as much money as possible. They are buying around this time.
    If you find a Kalahari Red in the United States, LET ME KNOW!!!!! I’ve been wanting a Kalahari Red for years! They are from South Africa (@Tanya) and the USA doesn’t trade from them. So the only way to get them here is to buy them from another country, Australia has a big breeder on the coast that ships to the USA. Only problem is the restrictions. Believe me, I’ve done some really extensive research on them.
    Good luck with your future herd!
  4. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    My apologies on the red lol, i copied the list of "best meat goats" and missed it when deleting the others. I have not found those near me lol. But thank you, the person i talked to was big into boer, showed them, etc. So i trusted what she said and havent looked at thrm since. Okay ive looked but it was window shopping.

    We will develop into a fairly large farm eventually, at least what id consider large around here because i dont see many, its mostly cattle and horses. But i want to be successful and get the most profit per lb.

    I will look into the ffa and 4-h, i know the teachers and agents really well from when i attended. But i also want a constant consistent way to do this. I would believe goats are like registered angus, which i had planned, the sale barn is not the place to make your money with them. Is there a place worth the drive to load thrm up and take them, a region of the us where they sell better, should i learn to sell packaged meat on my own, etc. My wife is wanting to milk her nigerian dwarf goats and sell the homemade milk products, soap, lotion, etc. Ive seen doing stuff like that where it should be very profitable, is there something equivalent for meat as far as provately sold products.

    Does 100% grass fed really bring more money, and either way how many can i run per acre?

    Thank you all so much for the replies, i have so many questions and im just soaking it all in lol. Ive been researching cattle for so long and now switching to goats i feel clueless.
    HMNS and Moers kiko boars like this.
  5. singinggoatgirl

    singinggoatgirl Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2016
    the deep south
    I know nothing about meat goats. I raise dairy Nigerian Dwarf goats for fun, not profit.

    Goats don't like to be 100% grass fed. Given the slightest hint of a choice, they'd rather be 100% weed, brush, and/or alfalfa fed. It's their natural inclination. You could market it as 100% pasture fed, maybe? I don't know if that's a thing.

    If goats can eat up off the ground from a raised feeder or from brush they will get fewer parasites.

    How many per acre depends on what plant life grows on your property and at what density.
    Iluvlilly! and Moers kiko boars like this.
  6. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    I would start looking around at serious boer breeders close to you. There is a lot that can go into a registered herd. You do need to to understand commercial, % and full blood. Know that ABGA also requires DNA typing for all bucks. Goats require loose minerals, dry draft free shelter, quality hay and many times feed. Regular hoof trimming, vaccinations, coccidia prevention and worming as needed. Strong fence, and plan where to separate those bucks, kidding does, kids and dry does. If you can visit a breeder they can show you what works for them. Quality registered boers can cost quite a bit - but you are able to make more $$ on kids.
  7. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  8. CountyLineAcres

    CountyLineAcres Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2014
    Mineral Ridge, Ohio
    There are many different routes to take in the meat goat industry such as commercial meat stock, wether stock, registered breeding stock, etc. Making a profit with goats is not impossible, but it is a lot of work. Most are happy to just break even.

    It sounds to me like you’re wanting to run a commercial meat operation. This isn’t my specialty, but I’ll give an overview. You will need to have quite a large operation of at least 100-200 to see a decent profit. Many large scale operations run 300-500 as their full-time business. How many per acre depends on forage available. Minimal input will require heavy culling, smart breeding, and the best management possible, but it can be done. You’ll mostly be selling by the pound in this setup. The market seems to be bringing $2-3/lb at this moment. You also can sell replacement breeding stock.

    Remember that if you have livestock, you’ll have deadstock - especially in the beginning, as it will be an intense learning curve no matter the breed.

    We personally specialize in registered fullblood boer goats. We also raise savannas and nubians, but they aren’t our focus. We sell to 4H in the spring, send our culls to market, and grow out the best to be sold with papers as breeders and potentially show. We run a herd of about 20-25 breeding does.
    HMNS, Iluvlilly! and Moers kiko boars like this.
  9. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    The grass fed is merely me asking if that is correct and if so i would i would think it would include hay, alfalfa, pasture? I would think just no feeds, like no corn or sweet feed, etc for cattle. But i dont know for sure, thats ehy im here lol.

    We have troughs for my wifes goats and wall mount hay feeders, i plan to do the same thing because i seen that, and keeping there water up as well.

    Im not sure what is in the pasture we are moving to, im not good with telling types of grass, weeds etc. Lol but i will find out for sure so i can figure that out.
    Moers kiko boars likes this.
  10. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    i wi
    I will try to find someone, im sure theres more that im not aware of but its not soemthing i drive by normally, or at all really. Ive seen those terms used but will definitely have to learn about them.
  11. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Hi..welcome to TGS. Im in Oklahoma..I would love to know how to make major $s I have Myotonics(fainters) Kiko, and Registered boers. For the meat market I agree with @CountyLineAcres . You have to have several that are dropping young all the feed & sell. And 75% of all goat meat is imported So..if you want to be a meat will have huge. And you will need to be in a very desert like have less worm/ disease in your herd. For that..i would suggest Spanish or Kiko and cross with some.Boer or Savannah for more meat.
    Your main goal will be to connect with a buyer to sell your meat for processing. Then all medications and paperwork will need to be up to date. Usually a money making goat farm deals with hundreds of head per.month.
    Your ability to spot sick or unhealthy animals will have to be quick. You will need an area to deal with.culling and sickness. Death requires an avenue to be dealt with.
    Most goat businesses move the goats over 100s of acerage. Have several workers..and usually a vet or vet student working for them too.
    None of this includes the Health certification requirements..they are different per state. Transports of the animals..and costs of feed, hay, and medications. Plus fencing, buildings, and feeders & water's.
    Most people I have spoken with grow the best goat they can so it is versatile. Example. Registered Boer 100% can breed any breed with a percentage kid. That percentage kid..can be reg or not. It can be sold without papers as a pet. It can be in jackpots as a commercial. Or sold at auction to pay you back.
    I would suggest raise a few..and find all the avenues you can sell with the few you have. Whatever breed you go with. Its all a learning process. I wish you the best at your endeavor!
    MadHouse and CountyLineAcres like this.
  12. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    Okay i am not 100%sure what my focus is, and second my profit desire isnt a desire to make it my full time job but i just want to try and be succeful and good at what i do. I believe the cost per lb is already going to be more profitable than beef cattle that i wanted to do, so that alone is a start.

    I would also like to have a good herd that my boys can show in 4-h and ffa when they get older. I wont try to jump in head first, starting with 14 acres i believe i can get a good start and when we expand to 75 acres i should be able to expand as i feel comfortable. To what extent that is, what that pasture can handle, im not sure yet.
    MadHouse and Moers kiko boars like this.
  13. CountyLineAcres

    CountyLineAcres Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2014
    Mineral Ridge, Ohio
    Best piece of advice I can give is to research all possible avenues and specialize in one or two. You do not want to spread yourself too thin. Certain types of goats won’t mesh with other programs, plus every market wants something different. For example, most 4H buyers in our region looking for a market project want traditional boers and boer crosses. Other regions may differ.

    Registered stock makes little sense if the majority of the kids are going for meat or 4H market projects. You can’t eat their papers. They could bring a bit of value to replacement breeding stock, but you would still incur membership, registration, and DNA fees.

    I’ve seen goats sell for anywhere from $100 to $50,000. There is a market. You just need to find your niche.
  14. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    Thank you! there is definetely a lot more options and niches than i imagined. I appreciate the responses and i am taking all if it in. Im not use to getting much help from forums if any at all so i am very grateful.

    It seems like Boer will be the way to go but i will look into it more for what is happening in my area. I also will head over to our extension office to see what information i can get there for options on selling, 4-h, etc.
  15. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    I will definetely be doing as much research as i can, i think the hardest thing is what will work best, what options i have, etc where im at. There is a lot of general info on the web but i will have to look harder for local info.
    Moers kiko boars likes this.
  16. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    Welcome to TGS! Looking at your location, you are not far from me! I am just east of Lexington! We have been raising goats for 10 years. We started out with Commercial meat does, then my kids got into showing in 4-H, they love showing breeding (registered) so over the years we've worked up to having 100% ABGA registered Boer goats. We have a small place/setup, and don't have a fancy show herd, but we enjoy our goats very much and they do very well. Our main focus has been breeding classes at county fair shows, but we do attend a couple of ABGA shows each summer.

    I could really sit here and write you a book about goats lol sorry if I drag this out!

    Boer goats are by far the most popular breed in KY, along with standard size dairy goats, then you get into your small goats - Pygmy.
    I'm not sure who told you to avoid Boer goats, but that is where the $$ is, and anyone raising goats will tell you a huge part of it is the animals you buy and how you maintain your herd. Don't be hands off and expect them to do well. They do require a lot of care and commitment. Worms is a big issue with any breed, especially with our crazy weather. Learning how to check FAMACHA (inner eyelid color), doing fecals (learning how to do it yourself is best!!!), and good general care all make the difference.

    4-H/FFA market wethers & commercial does are a BIG deal in KY. If you want to do decently in this market, you really need to look at the animals that are marketed and shown as such so you can get an idea of what does well in the show ring. Again, anything in this market is going to have a big influence of Boer in it.
    If you want to go this route, once you are established and before you start marketing kids for any reason you need to make sure you are registered with the USDA and get Scrapie tags - each kid will need to be tagged.
    For kids being sold for 4-H/FFA projects I would also look into joining the Kentucky Proud program. They have tags you can order for I believe $5 each, and you would only use those in the ears of kids that will be shown in district shows & state fair. The KY Proud program is a big deal. Kids can earn more $$ in the show ring, along with points if the animal does well at the shows. It's a great program.
    Most kids buy their show animals I believe in March/April at the latest and must have them home/at their location by May 1st. So you'll want fall or early winter babies for market/commercial showing and they are shown by weight and must be under 1yr old.
    In May they get another tag inserted in the goats ear in order to show at any KY show. It's called a KUIP tag, they also pull DNA on the goat at that time. So yes, the goat will have 2-3 tags in it's ears all said and done depending on if you tag them with KY proud tag. You have nothing to do with this 3rd tag, it is totally the 4-H/FFA youth's responsibility.

    The registered Boer goat world is big in KY. We get decent $$ for our registered goats. Big thing is learning and making sure animals meet breed standards and what sells. For a good buck kid we can get anywhere from $400-900, and doe kids sell for $400 and up. But we've also sold them for $1500.

    We prefer to kid out Jan-March, although I wouldn't mind starting in Sept/Oct. I do not like late spring or summer babies. I feel they just don't grow as well as winter babies, and are more prone to issues like worms. But also factor in we have a small place, very limited grazing, so we can't rotate pasture. Our babies start eating feed around 5 weeks old, so we set up creep feeders with feed for them so they have access to feed pretty much 24/7 (we fill them morning/evening).

    Burkmann feed in Danville is a good feed, that is what we are currently using (Going there tomorrow!). Their Premium goat pellet #561 is very popular. They have a creep feed that I have not tried. We have used their show feed last summer and had some issues with it (major dust issues) so I do avoid that one, but the 561 is a good solid pellet.
    Bagdad feed is also another good choice. Their 16% feed IMO is really good and when their 18% Tingle is fresh it is great, but like the Burkmann show feed for some reason it gets dusty in the summer, maybe the humidity?
    Either place is very reasonably priced on their feed.
    McRays is okay, we haven't used them in years, and I know some people swear by them, but I just don't care for using sweet feed - I found many of our goats would pick through it, and sometimes waste a lot. I think pelleted feed is the way to go. Again just my opinion.
    Burkmann has a good farm store with supplies, medications, dewormers and their prices are very good.

    If you have any questions just ask! We have a lot of wonderful goat people in our area :)
  17. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    This is perfect, this sounds exactly like the route id like to go. The person who deterred me from boer in the beginning was a local boer breeder/shower, she did well from what i remember or think anyways. You might know them but no need to throw out names, i havent went and bought a whole heard of kikos, or any at all so far so no harm done.

    But im going to have to read this again a few times to really get it all in my head lol. But, to reiterate a few things, i want all my kiddings to be in fall/winter and you all find it best to have the kids in jan to march? So i would need to allow breeding at the right time for this, whatever the gestation period is as i dont know right now lol.

    I have been to burkmanns before so i will definently go there when i start mine, i heard their stuff is good. I had been told, this could be completely irrelevant as its for my wifes ND goats but they only get a handful of feed a day, so the boers i just keep filling it as they eat it? How long do they do this?

    How exactly do i separate my heard, weaning kids, bucks, does, etc. Bucks and does is kind of obvious but for anything i dont even know of yet. As i said well have 14 acres, probably 10 or a little more after the house and yard and my wifes goats are fenced off. so i feel like that should be a good start to this, and eventually we will be able to expand.

    If you would be willing i would love to check out your little operation and get a better idea of how you do things. I am a much better hands on/vidual learner lol. The bad part of forums and why i said id have to reread it a few times. But since your one of the only ones i know of i might as well ask lol.
  18. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    I totally understand, it's a lot and there is just so much information to know depending on which way you go!
    When I posted last night I made a big oops - my poor tired brain. I meant to say Lexington is east of us lol I'm in Woodford county!

    So for feeding, when it comes to kids you want to ensure they are getting good nutrition so they can grow well. You don't have to pour the feed 24/7, but at least put down enough so they can come and go through the day/night and eat since they don't generally eat much at one time.
    If they grow well chances are you can get them to market weight at 3-4 months old so... right about weaning time depending on the goats/genetics.
    Yearling does and adults you don't want to feed up like that, but you want them to have good weight. If you stay on top of issues like worms, and keeping loose minerals out for them along with supplementing as needed with Bo-Se or Selenium E Gel and Copper Bolus, then that helps a lot too. A lot of times those hard keepers end up being deficient in something and that is why they are struggling. So I would definitely educate yourself about selenium and copper. Many people dose Bo-Se and Copper 2x a year. We normally do it right before breeding when we do fecals/deworm, then again sometime after kidding.
    CD/T is the only other thing we do that is routine. Kids get it around 6 weeks old and again 3 weeks after that, then 1x a year. Our does get CD/T and deworming if needed when they are 4 months pregnant.

    Kidding in the fall is fine, we just tend to kid in Jan-Mar, although I wouldn't be opposed to kidding in Oct-Dec either but generally we go to state fair in August and take whatever buck we have, and try not to start breeding until after state fair so he doesn't lose condition, so that usually puts us at the end of January. This year we started breeding when the does showed signs of heat so hopefully having kids right at New Years.
    We have a small herd, so we bring our does to the buck when they show signs of heat. It's very important to know due dates! So either pen separately or get a marking harness to put on your buck if you turn him out with your girls so you know who he is breeding. Buy 2 different colors of chalk. Use one color for a couple of weeks, then switch to another color for 2-3 weeks so you know if they recycled and came back in heat a 2nd time. I've never used the harness, but know several who do and if I ever had to I would definitely use it. Guessing due dates is way too stressful.

    I don't know what your setup is like so it's hard to say. Goats in general are hard on fence, so any fence that divides pens you need to make sure it's strong, and if you have the option of running some electric between them, that would be a great idea. I really wish we had electric around the young bucks pen.

    Your welcome to come see our setup, but honestly, our place is a major wreck lol. We started tearing stalls out in the barn, and planned to add onto the barn and build a shedrow type barn for the girls. Then decided to stop that project and just make a carport barn instead. The carport should hopefully be installed next week so we can get started on turning it into a goat barn. Then we can decide how we want to redo the old barn.
    However, if you look at this link, you can get an idea of how it was and is.
    Again small setup, when we built our little barn we had it in mind we'd have 5 goats lol. Then the kids got into showing. The past summers they've shown 10-15 goats at times! it's nothing fancy, but it sure has worked for us. It may very well help give you some ideas to get started.

    Separating at weaning time. With having land if you can build a weaning pen for your doe kids and buck kids away from their mama's where they can't see them, that can definitely help with weaning. But ideally don't let them share a fence line if you can help it.
    We generally wean buck kids around 3-3 1/2 months unless we feel they need more time with mom, and doe kids around 3 1/2-4 months.

    These are some of the kids we sold this year






    A random video I took tonight with most of our girls, and their temporary setup. 5 of these girls are around 40 days bred (hopefully), we have 2 more does and a doe kid still nursing mom that stay in the barn at night.
    Our goats are treated like pets, they all have names, they all have great personalities. They are very spoiled to animal crackers (lol) which I'd just fed them so they are hunting looking for any missed treats, haha.

    This is our buck at the Clark county fair last weekend. He is in breeding condition, not show conditioned and just turned 2 years old about a month ago. He is such a sweet boy, he is my buddy.
  19. Jordan8505

    Jordan8505 New Member

    Sep 16, 2020
    I think im slowly getting some idea of what i need to do lol, thank you for all this information. Screenshots are going into a folder for easy access!

    I definitely dont want to impose so completely understand if you dont need a random stranger visiting lol. But it would be awesome to see, because i kind of knew this is the avenue id like to go but couldnt get it across i guess. I didnt mean profitable as in get rich, but i want what i do have to do really well, and if i can expand some as i go then great!

    I would also like to start my heard with something from your herd to if that will be available! Im not sure yet when that will be, were working on my wifes herd now since she has dwarfs and a smaller goal. When we can get fencing up at our new place though i will be looking to get going!
  20. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    Your welcome, and you are welcome to come see the goats and get an idea of what we've done with a small setup on a tight budget - 1 solid income budget. I have been a stay at home mom over the years, then goat mom and part time photographer for media purposes at Keeneland/Churchill Downs and misc horse stuff/sales. I am still waiting for confirmation on working the Keeneland meet in less than 2 weeks which is frustrating as far as trying to plan.
    If I am working the meet, I won't be home on the weekends but would be home during the week.

    I totally understand about the profit part, it's fun to be able to raise them, sell them, see them succeed for yourself & others, keep up with them, etc.
    We will most likely have kids for sale sometime after weaning in the early part of the year or after show season. Generally, we keep the best kids for showing, then sell all the young bucks after show season, and keep 1-2 does. But with building the barn we opted to not keep any kids and parted with a couple of mature does.
    But I also have a friend nearby that has a really nice herd, they are more competitive in ABGA showing and super nice as well. I have a friend in your area that has a nice big commercial herd that she breeds for meat boys and replacement does. If you are on Facebook and want to friend me my name is Candice Chavez, just type my name and Lexington, KY and I should come up. I can invite you to a local private group my friend and I have for people in our area. It's not really active right now, but if you need local contacts, have questions, etc. I also uploaded lots of information in the files section to try and help others out. We had even planned a get together back in March to talk goats - management, questions, breeding/kidding, and showing, but thanks to the virus that had to be cancelled, so we're hoping we can pull that off next year.

    I think it's great to start off small with your wife's ND's, that will help get you some ideas on how to do things with your setup, with keeping in mind that Boers or standard sized meat goats would just need more space and are harder on things like fence and gates.
    Avoid field fencing if you can and get goat or horse fencing if it's within your budget. We have field fencing and around the property it is fine, we honestly don't have issues with our does or bucks getting their heads stuck, but the young goats most certainly can and will as their horns grow. Plus if they are rubbing on it, and messing with it enough they put holes in it. If you use it at all I would consider also using fence boards to help keep them off the wire.
    Our buck kid weaning pen fence is in bad shape. I made it work to get us through this year, but next year we'll have to work on replacing it. But it has held up well considering over the years it also kept in adult bucks.
    Moers kiko boars likes this.