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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an oppertunity to purchased 40 head of boer nannies that are due to kid at the end of September. Aside from a couple of pygmy pets my knowledge is limited. My Hispanic friend tells me they drive a couple hours to get goats and pay 100 for 70#. From other auction sites I seen does top at the $125 mark and go down to $50. What is a good price? Isn't this very late /early to kid? ( good for X-mas roast). Special considerations aside from my fencing/ housing. What type of hay feeder is best for horned goats? With the dairy dehorned ones I had used a hog panels with slots cut into it, but afraid they would snagged their horns on it. Also how soon could they be rebreed? Thanks for the input.
 

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Wow... actually a much bigger question than you might think:

First: Are you set up for that many goats? You'll need good strong fencing and at least a run in shed that will accomodate 40 adults AND their coming babies.

Second: Do you think you have the knowledge to manage such a large number of goats? That's not meant to be disparaging, but starting slowly and growing you grow in knowledge as you go. You're going to be starting 'big' so you're abilities to properly care for that many goats needs to be at the larger level immediately.

Third: I'm not a huge fan of buying goats and shipping them to a new place so close to due dates. September seems a long way away, but it's not. Just a couple months at the most if they deliver late in September. Going to a new home is extremely stressful for any goat, pregnant or not. Moving them, and putting them in a new home brings up all kinds of stress related problems right off... add pregnancy and you have a good recipe for abortions. Much more importantly is that the kids get their immunities from their mothers. The does' immunity is based on where they were, not where they will be when they get to you. It takes time to build up the specific immunities to your property so you may end up with sick kids just because of that.

Yes, there can be a good market for meat kids, and it seems like you already have some headway into that market which is a very good thing, but there's NO such thing as EASY money. It's a lot of work no matter how well you have things planned and set up... having less than perfect set up means even MORE work... and probably heartache from deaths etc.

I use a regular sheep hay feeder and have no trouble with my horned goats eating out of it and it saves some on hay waste... beware however, no matter how well you make the feeders there will be some waste at best. Goats are notorious for that.

As for what a good price for the does themselves would be, that's harder to calculate as it tends to be regional.

On the rebreeding issue, there are breeders who put the does back out with the buck pretty much right after the kids are weaned and let nature decide. Some will breed back pretty quickly. I'd prefer to make considerations based on the body score of each individual at weaning.
 

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The Boer people that I know have their fall and spring kiddings, so not too early or too late for kidding. Boers are year round breeders.

I agree with Tami on everything she said. Fences would be #1. Are they good enough to keep small babies in? Any hole in the fence and all of the goats will be gone. How about housing? Goats do not like to get wet. There would need to be adequate housing for 40 does and all of the babies to get out of bad weather.

How aboue feeding? During summer they will be on pasture, but what about during the winter? Would you be able to buy the hay to feed them and store it so you weren't trying to find enough over the winter? Some Boers are ok without grain while feeding kids, others will need grain to maintain any condition at all, so keep that in mind.

Meds and hoof trimming. Multiply that by 40 (and that is just the adult does). Are you up for that amount of work as they need to have feet done? Can you handle them to be able to vaccinate and worm?

The market is there for the meat. All ages and all sizes, bucks and wethers. Salebarns are fine but remember they will take out commisson on each animal. I would have a meat buyer lined up that would pay so much per goat or per pound.

Oh and if you are really considering buying that many does (bred), keep in mind that come Sept. there will be babies too. Each doe will most likely average at least 2. So you would go from 40 to over 100 in no time. Then there are the bottle babies.

Lots to think about. Ask lots of questions to the owner. CL, CAE, Herd Management, feeding, etc.

Carisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thought about getting ten at first, but may see how low he'll go to get rid of them and resale my extra and open culls. We have cattle so there are plenty of barns shed and have a lot of equipment from pasture farrowing pigs. I am hopeing that they complent graze /browse the same fields. Will running two or three strands of electric fence around woven wire help keep them in since it is not feasible to goat fence all the pastures at once? The neighbors use regular cows milk for the bum kids anyone else do this??
 

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You are getting starry-eyed, if I may say so. Your knowledge is limited. If you suddenly buy 40, and you are going to try to play "catch-up" with your facilities, you are likely headed for a train wreck.

I don't know where you are located, you don't say, but around here a 5- to 6-month-old Boer mix kid weighing 60-75 pounds brings $50-$60 off the farm in the summer cookout months, and about $40-$45 at the sale barn. The prices get much better in fall and winter if you can supply to the market, which is largely a buyer or sale barn effort then that is targeted to Northeastern slaughterhouses. Many people wanting to get into goats, no matter where they seem to be located in the U.S., like to point to the fact that "we have a lot of Mexicans nearby," but that is not the same as a marketing plan. One fact of the Hispanic market nationally is that it does not well tolerate prices for young goats under one year old that are much above $50, maybe $60 tops. Nationally, it is not predominantly a weight-based buyer market, but rather per-animal. That's where the NE slaughterhouse market has to come into play in any marketing mix.

If you are looking for a single off-farm buyer, you will have to provide a lot of uniform-size goats at once, to justify their pick-up.

You say Boer but you don't say whether it is registered stock. That is an entirely different market, and marketing plan. There, you concentrate on selling breeding animals based on pedigree and conformation. Your only meat efforts are your culls.

I'd advise that, until you have thoroughly studied your area's marketing opportunities, developed a realistic plan about how you will sell, established at least rudimentary facilities, investigated how you can feed and care for them as cheaply as possible, assessed the workload, and accounted for the downside like when they all get soremouth or pneumonia, you may want to get just 4-6 Boer or Boer-cross goats to start with, and grow into it as you learn. Get your feet a little wet before you jump in.

There's a reason the average goat herder keeps the herd for just 3 years. Actually, there are several, and 3 of them are the owner was unprepared to house goats, was unprepared for the work involved, and overestimated the possible monetary rewards. This is why it is often easy to find folks wanting to "get rid of" their herds. They went in unprepared and learned the hard way. The more goats you have, the more the workload expands.

To make money with goats, you need facilities, a very sharp pencil and a strong back. If you are missing any of those, your journey will be harder, for you and for your goats.

I ran a cow-calf operation for years. Goats are more work. If you're ready for that, that's cool. But it's hard to run them "minimum maintenance" like cattle.
 

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I started with 12 boer/kiko does 2 years ago. I am up to 60 head this year including kids and will be selling 40. I think 20 does and a couple of bucks is all I can care for by myself. There is alot of management involved with goats that you don't realize. I have lost one kid to illness and have been lucky.Lost one last year to a freak accident.I am working on more fencing for more pasture.The does I have in a larger pasture do better and their kids are growing better than the ones I have in a smaller space.I would think long and hard about jumping into that deep of water. If I had more than 12 to begin with I am sure my losses would have been greater and I probably would have thrown up my hands and sold them all.
 

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Well said, Jim. I have to second everything you said. I wanted to get started with goats, and started small (with 2 wethers). My cranky old wether has earned pride of place here on my farm, since he tought me so much-- that goats can get out of nearly every fence (if it can't hold water, it can't hold goats), that they will break locks to get into feed, that they will get sick in the dead of winter-- most likely the coldest day.

They are not easy kidders, for the most part. I have an excellent mentor and was very well-prepared for kidding. We had gone over the scenarious, I had purchased all the supplies she recommended, we had a good relationship with the vet, I even had a barn cam with sound to monitor the does. When it was all said and done, out of the three that kidded (total 5 kids), 3 died. One aborted late in the term, one was malpresented, and the two that lived had to be pulled and raised inside, since they were born when it was -10. I had to milk the doe 2x a day and feed it to the babies inside. When we brought them back out to momma, she didn't know them, and we ended up milking the dairy doe (whose kid died at birth) and feeding the kids with her milk.

I am not telling you a horror story to discourage you. I am just seconding Jim's comments that even those of us who are well prepared, that have things in place before we start, are in for disappointment. More than we could imagine. If you do want to get into goats, check your state for a meat goat association. They will have field days, educational opportunities, as well as other producers that can help you get your marketing plan in place before you get the goats. Start small-- it's so hard to do, but when you pay big bucks for your stock (no pun intended), losing animals can be so painful.

Best of luck! I hope it works out for you! I have had fun with mine, and hope to turn a profit in the next couple of years. The goat board on HT has been invaluable!

T
 

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Another thing you need to consider is the health of these animals. What about CAE, or CL? Have they been wormed regularly and feet trimmed? what about mineral?
If this is a farmer that got overwhelmed you could just be buying his future problems.
What I mean by that, is that if they haven't been cared for on a regular basis, you will have a lot of catch-up work to do, and for does that are due to kid, you may have all kinds of problems because they didn't receive minerals or worming etc.
Don't forget...you get what you pay for!
 

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I would not even attempt to purchase 40 goats, not knowing what I was doing. I can say that now. We bought learned lessons in raising the hard and expensive way. We had about 20 goats starting out and it was a train wreck. If you want to raise Boers, I'd suggest purchasing a starter herd of about 4-5 does and 1 buck. I'd start commerical but make sure you purchase them from a trustworthy individual and hopefully someone who can sort of mentor you or someone you can at least call for help. Unless you have money to throw away and don't care, I would start small. Then you can learn and grow and feel good about what you are doing. We are finally doing well but this is thousands of dollars in dead goats later. Trust me....that isn't fun or rewarding in any way at all!! Good luck to you no matter what you decide.
 

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evermoor, I'd better add that we are not trying to be doom and gloom or discourage you. Just trying to inject reality into it BEFORE you get in too deep.

Starting with small numbers can help you. You set a target of what you want the herd to BE, then you work with retaining successive generations, and culling, to get them where you want them.

Let us know what you decide.
 

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Jim S. said:
evermoor, I'd better add that we are not trying to be doom and gloom or discourage you. Just trying to inject reality into it BEFORE you get in too deep.
As a newby to the idea of goats and goat-keeping, I read this thread with interest and don't think you come across as doom-and-gloom, none of you. I think what you've written here is excellent advice and I hope Evermoor takes it. It sounds like heart-and-bank-break to do otherwise.

Good folks on this forum. :rock: I know that even if Evermore does decide to buy this herd, s/he will be welcome to come share the experiences they're having with this group and they will continue to offer helpful advice.

Cheers,
leslie
 

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evermoor said:
I thought about getting ten at first, but may see how low he'll go to get rid of them and resale my extra and open culls. We have cattle so there are plenty of barns shed and have a lot of equipment from pasture farrowing pigs. I am hopeing that they complent graze /browse the same fields. Will running two or three strands of electric fence around woven wire help keep them in since it is not feasible to goat fence all the pastures at once? The neighbors use regular cows milk for the bum kids anyone else do this??
I have one strand of electric on the bottom of my woven wire and it keeps the goats in, no problem. They do, however, know when the electric is down :)
I love my Boers. I started with two, a mother and daughter that kidded 5 doelings the first year. I, personally have had my numbers go up and down and feel most comfortable with 6 goats. I have 10 right now.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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Just like the couple who wanted to buy five milking does bred and in milk last year.....They had never had goats before...or cows, or horses, or even chickens. I advised them to buy a couple wethers and winter them over, then if they still wanted goats and had a winter under their belt...I would sell them the does they wanted.
Its the same advice I would give you. Buy a smaller number of does now. Kid them out this Fall/Winter/Spring and see how you like it. 40 bred does are quickly going to jump to 125-150 if they had good conception rates. They are all going to need care, feed, barn room, castrating, wormed, vaccinated, etc. That is a huge bite for someone who doesn't have much experience with it. I'd take it a little slower if it was me. :shrug:
I know I sure wasn't prepared for such a big jump all in one day when I first started out with a few does.
Good intentioned advice is all. :)
 

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evermoor said:
We have cattle so there are plenty of barns shed and have a lot of equipment from pasture farrowing pigs. I am hopeing that they complent graze /browse the same fields. Will running two or three strands of electric fence around woven wire help keep them in since it is not feasible to goat fence all the pastures at once? The neighbors use regular cows milk for the bum kids anyone else do this??
Cattle and goats co-graze/browse very well. Their eating patterns complement each other. Goats eat high and cattle eat low.
Running one strand of hotwire around the inside of woven wire(about goat-nose height), is a great way to keep the goats from rubbing on/climbing the woven wire.
I raise all my kids on raw cows milk from our Jerseys. It grows wonderful, healthy kids. :)
 

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What I tell people who ask me about fish farming is start small so you can make small mistakes because EVERYONE makes mistakes when first starting. I continue to make them even after 9 years.

There will be plenty of other goats to buy later after you get goat raising mastered so don't think this is your last chance to get goats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the great advice. Hopefully they will sell off a smaller portion for me to get more education on goats. At the local sale barns some youngun go for 1-15 dollars already weaned. Would this be a cheap way to educate as little monetary loss and hopefully find all the holes in the fences. Of course then I saw an add for 350 dairy goats and, lol. No really I have plenty to do all ready.
 

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usually at the sale barn you are getting other peoples culls or sick goats.Be a good way to learn about treating goats for stuff. I bought 40$ goats from a meat goat breeder.She was let me watch her vaccinate,trim hooves,and showed me how she kept her records she was also available if I had a question. I found this board though and have not had to go back to her.There is a learning curve, finding the best way to do things for you.Everyone uses different management practices but it is nice to get ideas and input from all over.GOOD LUCK
 
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