Are you starting a farm? Do you want more sustainability for your family? Do you like fresh milk every day? If so, you may be thinking about buying a goat. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before starting your search for the perfect one. Do you have enough pasture and room for housing? Do you want pets, efficient weed eaters, or are you more interested in goats for milk, fibre, or meat? These are just a few considerations that need to be addressed before making a final decision.
10 Tips on Buying a Goat
1. Start Slow – Don’t be fooled by cute YouTube videos. Raising goats can be challenging. Start small. Expand your herd when you know that your fences are secure, and you have developed a care-routine for your farm animals. Keep in mind that average life span of a goat is around 15 years.
2. One Is None – Goats need buddies as they are herd animals. You may hear a lot of complaining if you just have one.
3. Read – There are many excellent books on the market about buying and raising goats. Literature can also be helpful when problems arise. Like humans, goats can get sick. They require balanced meals and a salt lick; they need hoof care, etc. You should also learn the language goat keepers and breeders use to avoid misunderstandings.
4. Determine the Breed – There are three main categories:
- Dairy goats
- Meat goats
- Fibre goats
Dairy goats produce milk. Meat goats will be consumed. Breeds like Angoras are kept for their fur, which can be turned into wool.
5. Shop Around – Small goats are playful and adorable. Don’t buy the first one you see. It may be the wrong breed for your lifestyle. The breeder may not be reputable. Study suppliers in your area before buying a goat. Check online reviews. Request to visit the farm before deciding which breeder has the right goat for you.
6. Ask Questions – Run if a breeder’s answers are vague. Do you have doubts? Go home and research some of the topics that were discussed during your farm visit. You are under no obligation to buy farm animals right away.
7. Plan a Shelter – Build a shelter or pen large enough for all the goats you want eventually. The structure has to be sturdy and secure, because goats will jump on the roof. The animals need shade and a dry place when it rains. They do not like to walk through water. They should also not be outside in the winter when it is extremely cold. Insulate if you live in a cold climate.
8. Spend Time Together – How do you know if a goat is even-tempered and friendly, and not shy or aggressive? You spend time together. Gentle goats are easier to milk.
9. Physical Inspection – Check the coat before buying a goat. The fur should be shiny, smooth, and soft, not rough, coarse, and dull. The tail should not be tucked, be relaxed, or held upright. The eyes should be bright.
10. Compare Prices – Ask several breeders for prices once you have determined which breed you want. Goats range in price from $75 to $300, depending on factors, including age, gender, breed, and temperament. Neutered bucks (male goats) are typically cheaper.
Keep your goats healthy and active by providing plenty of yard space. They love going on higher ground so provide large rocks, picnic tables, big old tractor tires or even children’s play structures.
Irida Sangemino is an accomplished permaculture adviser, homesteading expert, and instructor.