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  #1  
Old 09/11/04, 12:16 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 88
Can you make a living with goats?

Ok, no offense to all of you goat lovers out there, but I only got my goats (all of which I named and love) to keep the Tx Agriculture exemption and avoid the rollback taxes that a nice real estate lady (also our buyer's rep) didn't tell us about. That being said, I find that having livestock takes a ton of time and money to keep healthy. I have 3 miniature horses and 10 dairy goats (Nubians, Alpines and one LaMancha.) Everybody says not to worry because the "goats will pay for themselves" with goat milk, selling the kids (which I probably won't be able to do because I love them all now .... geesh!) and various other enterprises. However, NO ONE I know who has goats makes didly on them and the care/vetting, etc of the herd comes right out of their pockets. In addition, I'm a professional humane dog trainer and I am getting no time to train or run my business because the goats/horses take all day to clean up after, innoculate, buy feed at the store, etc. etc. Granted I'm a terrible farmwoman as I'm new at it, but can a dairy herd of goats really support itself? That's all I care about is that the Ag exemption doesn't cost me this small fortune I've been spending. Any information, suggestions, help and support you can offer I'd appreciate because today I feel like giving up and selling this place.........LOL or lots of tears, hahaha.
Karen
PS. In case you're wondering "why the Miniature Horses?" ... we were told by a nice neighbor that they'd count toward the Ag, but found out the Government considers Miniatures pets and not livestock. Am I dumb or what (don't answer that, hahaha.)

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  #2  
Old 09/11/04, 03:43 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfSoul
Everybody says not to worry because the "goats will pay for themselves" with goat milk, selling the kids (which I probably won't be able to do because I love them all now .... geesh!) and various other enterprises.
Ok well, part of the plan is to sell the kids..!! though I have to admit, I have all the kids from my first two breedings.. I had to promise my DH that next spring would be different, they will ALL be sold..
That said.. if you are so inclined you can get Ellie Winslow's book "Making Money With Goats" She has lots of fabulous ideas! you can email her @ elliew256@hotmail.com


Quote:
and I am getting no time to train or run my business because the goats/horses take all day to clean up after, innoculate, buy feed at the store, etc. etc.
I don't know about the horses and the clean up after them, but my goat chores, which consist of feeding and milking, don't take up any time at all.. I clean out the barn 3 x a year, innoculate once a year and purchase feed every few months... I only feed grain to my milkers..
And FYI on the Minerature horses.. if you are breeding/raising/selling them, then they WILL count towards ag-exemption.. a family down the road raisies MH's, her farm name is Tiny Treasures and their place is in Ag.. Horses are tough to use to get Ag on 'cause they're basically pasture potatoes and unprofitable...

There are day's I want to pull my hair out too.. and then on of the goaties will have a Kodac moment and things will again be right with the universe..
Good luck, and hang in there!!
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Zenubi*Creek Nubians
Blue Ridge, Texas

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  #3  
Old 09/11/04, 04:13 PM
moopups's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
Posts: 7,101

Here, near Orlando, part of what I do is supply a local meat processing company with hay. The company supplies the ethnic community with goat meat, the community is very large here, the average goats consumed per month is between 450 and 500. Goats are imported from Texas in that they are not available in the quanity needed for the companys customers. The average age of the goats is 6 months; the company also provides ceromional animals for the ethnic groups dureing their holidays.

Yes there is money in goats if you can provide continously the quanity needed, you need to be near enought to a large ethnic group city to make it work well, do your own hauling, cut out middlemen, ect.

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  #4  
Old 09/11/04, 11:20 PM
Lonesome Doe Nubians
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North of Houston TX
Posts: 4,817

You have to run your farm like a business to make a profit. Yes I love my goats, but the pet notions have to go. With frozen milk sales on the farm at 5 to 13$ a gallon, cheese at over 1$ per ounce, colostrum at 50 cents per ounce, and most good milkstand trained family milkers selling in the 300$ range, yes you can make a nice tidy income off your stock. Mine certainly pay there way in just milksales, my cheese, soap, colostrum, lotion and kid sales are complete profit. To put it into terms for my 4H kids, most good milkers cost your right at 200$ to 300$ a year to keep, that means a sale of one good kid a year or 2 lesser prices animals just to make her pay her way, then anything else you do with the doe is profit.

Texas has a nice little loop hole in the law for animal consumption. Go to realmilk.com and find out about this, putting your name on the list will immediatly have customers calling and emailing you, there is such a demand for milk we are seeing our very first real cooperative efforts in getting milk customers to other farms, not just our own, because none of us have enough milk to sell. Even milking 10 does, I never have my freezer full.

We sell 1/2 gallon of milk strained raw, into 1 gallon Glad (works the best) ziplocks, freeze them flat, 2 sell here for 5$. I write on the white strip "For Animal Consumption only". What your customer chooses to do with the milk after the sale is only up to them. With customers coming from realmilk.com they understand the laws, this makes for informed customers.

It is work, I milk from March to December, only taking off these months when the girls are heavy bred. I also of course show, which gives me top dollar for my kid sales, and I likely have better prices on my buck kids going for breedings. But don't loose the quick sales of soaking wet kids..........I sell for 50$ which includes paperwork, all my first fresheners buck kids, they have to be picked up at birth. They get a colostrum bottle and then go onto whatever kind of milk the folks will be using, most cases it's grocery store milk, which we find works much better than milk replacers. This gets all bucks off my place, except for what I am using myself, in less than 7 days after birth, a huge labor saver for me.

There is no profitable way to raise dairy bucks for meat...milk, hay, feed prices all outweigh the profit you will make selling the does milk. If you aren't selling your doe kids for over 100$ each, than it is not profitable to raise them, you can purchase replacements that are grown and ready to breed for less....now having said that with the disease prevention/and since it's my show stocks kids who likely also will show, I do not purchase replacements but raise them.

If you don't get the bucks gone quickly they drink a 10$ bottle of colostrum and 75$ worth of saleable milk in 12 weeks, this does not count anything else, worming, cocci prevention meds, hay, grain, cleaning pens, shavings. I don't let them nurse because they drink considerably more milk this way.

With milk sales, do you really want a group of boys you will only get meat sales (1$ a pound) drinking your profit?

You have to have goals for your farm, if a doe or buck does not take you a step further towards your goal than it doesn't need to be there. Most folks don't make money on their goats because of sentimentality.

My goal is a nice show herd, that milkes for 10 months consistantly so I have milk sales. Easy does to deal with, that are large and dairy. I get rid of does who will not follow the milking routine, who are mean to other goats, who have kidding problems, who have bad feet that make hoof trimming a nitemare chore, I only keep purebreds and only breed purebreds because there is more money in their offspring. I raise nubians, if I was independantly wealthy and didn't have to make a profit off my gals, I would raise and show LaManchas again. A doe must earn her keep, either through show wins, which means sales of kids for the most money, and/or a nice long level lactation. It's a bonus when they can do both. Vicki

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Vicki McGaugh
Houston TX
Lonesome Doe Nubians est: 1986
www.lonesomedoenubians.com
NubianSoaps.com

Round 2 of kidding starts May 15th, a few doelings and bucklings will be for sale.

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  #5  
Old 09/14/04, 08:25 PM
opus
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We had 600 goats, Cashemere goats. We sold the cashemere and also sold meat...which by the way is quite good. We used them on the ranch for weed control. They do great on larkspur, knapweed, thistle...on and on.
To answer your question....too many variables to answer that. If you are going to have a bunch of mixed breeds....I think that would be a step in the wrong direction.

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  #6  
Old 09/14/04, 09:56 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 158

Hey, I just want to break even. I have a small farm so my children can grow up with some farm chores and responsiblities so I'm not trying to make money but I don't want it costing me too much either. I havn't sold my first two year kiddingss but am up to 11 goats and will get it down to about 5-6 again after next kiddings. I will sell the does I bought and keep their kids if they are good milkers, 1 defenitely is.

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  #7  
Old 09/14/04, 10:50 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montana
Posts: 252

We used to sell to ethnic markets...for meat. That might be an avenue, especially if you are near a city. We used to send to NY and SF if I recall correctly. I would keep things uniform though. Breeding/breeds, etc.

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  #8  
Old 09/15/04, 12:26 PM
greenacres's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: North Central Texas
Posts: 677

Are you selling the milk in 1/2 gallons or 1 gallons and what are you charging? Thanks.
Kerith



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians
You have to run your farm like a business to make a profit. Yes I love my goats, but the pet notions have to go. With frozen milk sales on the farm at 5 to 13$ a gallon, cheese at over 1$ per ounce, colostrum at 50 cents per ounce, and most good milkstand trained family milkers selling in the 300$ range, yes you can make a nice tidy income off your stock. Mine certainly pay there way in just milksales, my cheese, soap, colostrum, lotion and kid sales are complete profit. To put it into terms for my 4H kids, most good milkers cost your right at 200$ to 300$ a year to keep, that means a sale of one good kid a year or 2 lesser prices animals just to make her pay her way, then anything else you do with the doe is profit.

Texas has a nice little loop hole in the law for animal consumption. Go to realmilk.com and find out about this, putting your name on the list will immediatly have customers calling and emailing you, there is such a demand for milk we are seeing our very first real cooperative efforts in getting milk customers to other farms, not just our own, because none of us have enough milk to sell. Even milking 10 does, I never have my freezer full.

We sell 1/2 gallon of milk strained raw, into 1 gallon Glad (works the best) ziplocks, freeze them flat, 2 sell here for 5$. I write on the white strip "For Animal Consumption only". What your customer chooses to do with the milk after the sale is only up to them. With customers coming from realmilk.com they understand the laws, this makes for informed customers.

It is work, I milk from March to December, only taking off these months when the girls are heavy bred. I also of course show, which gives me top dollar for my kid sales, and I likely have better prices on my buck kids going for breedings. But don't loose the quick sales of soaking wet kids..........I sell for 50$ which includes paperwork, all my first fresheners buck kids, they have to be picked up at birth. They get a colostrum bottle and then go onto whatever kind of milk the folks will be using, most cases it's grocery store milk, which we find works much better than milk replacers. This gets all bucks off my place, except for what I am using myself, in less than 7 days after birth, a huge labor saver for me.

There is no profitable way to raise dairy bucks for meat...milk, hay, feed prices all outweigh the profit you will make selling the does milk. If you aren't selling your doe kids for over 100$ each, than it is not profitable to raise them, you can purchase replacements that are grown and ready to breed for less....now having said that with the disease prevention/and since it's my show stocks kids who likely also will show, I do not purchase replacements but raise them.

If you don't get the bucks gone quickly they drink a 10$ bottle of colostrum and 75$ worth of saleable milk in 12 weeks, this does not count anything else, worming, cocci prevention meds, hay, grain, cleaning pens, shavings. I don't let them nurse because they drink considerably more milk this way.

With milk sales, do you really want a group of boys you will only get meat sales (1$ a pound) drinking your profit?

You have to have goals for your farm, if a doe or buck does not take you a step further towards your goal than it doesn't need to be there. Most folks don't make money on their goats because of sentimentality.

My goal is a nice show herd, that milkes for 10 months consistantly so I have milk sales. Easy does to deal with, that are large and dairy. I get rid of does who will not follow the milking routine, who are mean to other goats, who have kidding problems, who have bad feet that make hoof trimming a nitemare chore, I only keep purebreds and only breed purebreds because there is more money in their offspring. I raise nubians, if I was independantly wealthy and didn't have to make a profit off my gals, I would raise and show LaManchas again. A doe must earn her keep, either through show wins, which means sales of kids for the most money, and/or a nice long level lactation. It's a bonus when they can do both. Vicki
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  #9  
Old 09/15/04, 02:08 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,195

One thing you can do to cut down on cost is buy all your feed in bulk! Also try and do as much vet stuff your self as you can. That will cut down a ton of the bills. And anything that you use a lot buy in bulk! It will really cut down on cost big time. You also can put them out on pasture and that helps cut down on food intake. I have about 16 goats my self and right now they are costing me about $180 a month. But soon that should go down even more because I will be buying all my food in bulk. Granted a bunch of them are youngsters so they arn't eating as much as a full grown doe but still..they eat a lot of grain which is expensive. I prefer to free choice grain with my kids so they don't waste it and its less time for me.

MotherClucker

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  #10  
Old 09/15/04, 09:59 PM
Lonesome Doe Nubians
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North of Houston TX
Posts: 4,817

Sorry I wasn't clear I freeze 1/2 gallon of milk in each Glad one gallon freezer bag, this way it isn't buldging, doesn't leak, and lays flat in the freezer. Milk sales for me are 5$ per gallon, I will go to 6$ next year, except a few of my oldest customers. Vicki

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Vicki McGaugh
Houston TX
Lonesome Doe Nubians est: 1986
www.lonesomedoenubians.com
NubianSoaps.com

Round 2 of kidding starts May 15th, a few doelings and bucklings will be for sale.


Last edited by Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians; 09/15/04 at 10:21 PM.
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