thinking about a small meat herd . . .

Discussion in 'Goats' started by GeorgiaberryM, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    southwest AR
    We are considering adding meat goats to our small farm - but want to start out with only a few.

    One problem (and this is a big problem!) is that I am totally ignorant on the subject of selling the meat. We do not want to direct market. Do the goats get sold at auction? We have had casual contact with one marketer that claims to be paying $2.90/lb for the meat - this seems high to me. We deliver goats to his processor, he pays us by the pound. Do you all think this is realistic?

    Another question - and I've been afraid to ask anyone in person (like local breeders I've talked to), because it seems rude, but honestly no offense is intended.

    Are Boer goats really a good, practical meat animal, or a fad? Everyone in my area selling them, and there are quite a few breeders, just seem to be selling them back and forth to each other, and for "show," and for crazy prices -$1250 ? I can't afford these! They are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but is the price inflated? I saw Boer cross goats for $200 - this seems crazy high for an unregistered goat. When I ask any of these breeders about existing meat operations in our area using Boers, they don't know of any.

    I don't want pets or a hobby, I am in the business of preserving my rural lifestyle, and so far my small ventures have been financially successful. It seems that the goats are a logical next step for my family.

    Can I afford to get into the meat goat raising business? Help!

    Georgiaberry
    www.berryfarm.com
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A half blood boer buck for $200. thats not bad, just remember that he is half of your herd and his genetics will be with you for years, so I would think a few halfblood does and maybe use A I if possible that would cut your costs. the boers add extra weight thru genetics and it would be a fast way to get larger offspring.
     

  3. Antoinette

    Antoinette Active Member

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    Texas
    You can sell goats at the auction, however you will usually get a lower price. If you can get decent percentage boers (cross-bred) for around $200, that is a good price, especially for an adult. If you are going to sell strictly meat, and have no plans for showing or 4-H etc. , you really don't have to worry about "papers". Honestly, I have registered stock, full blooded stock and percentage stock, and at times there is not much difference. Some of my best looking and producing does are only 75% Boer. You should, however, look for healthy goats. That should be your main objective when you buy any goat.

    You have to look for the "market", put up business cards, flyers etc. You can sell directly to the consumer who will eat your goat. If you produce a good product, they will come back and bring friends. Hope this helps.
     
  4. MAC

    MAC Active Member

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    Northern California
    The blanket answer to your questions is:It Depends
    The keys to profitability are understanding the markets, having the right goats for that market, and most especially having goats that fit your farm.
    If you are going to depend on the slaughter market, the bottom line is fairly simple: pounds of meat produced per doe/acre, minus inputs...the three big inputs being feed, wormers, and labor. In practical terms this means that the more you put into your goats, the more they have to produce.
    Boer Goats are not a fad. Neither are they a panacea. The same is true of the Kiko and Spanish Meat Goat. You need to find local producers whose operation is similiar to yours who are producing the product you want to produce. Find out what works (and didn't work) for them. How do they market their product? Punch up "Arkansas meat goat" on Google. Good luck.
     
  5. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm in roughly the same spot as you. I find meat goats appealing, but haven't made the leap, for roughly the same reasons. I've got friends and family with experience with them, and I've learned some things.

    Highest dollar comes from selling direct. Lowest dollar comes from the auctions. If you're not willing to sell direct, you're almost assured of not making any money.

    Biggest money is in creating a reputation of some kind, and selling your special goats to others as investments. Seems like that's the sole game for Kiko goats for example. Boers, and especially the Boer crosses are much more common, and not so exclusive or boutique like in their prices. Though it seems like you're finding boutique sellers of Boers.

    Genetics does play a strong variable. Not only in heath and growth rates, but brains and personality. Can think of one very good farmer who knows how to make money and handle livestock have all kinds of problems with the worlds stupidest Boers.

    Making money with just a few meat goats seems to be unlikely, to the point of impossible. Making money with more meat goats is still unlikely, but possible. If I work it hard and run it like a business, I might show a profit. But I'll probably never match the money I could make by placing those same fields in raspberries.

    But, a few goats because I think goats are neat animals? It won't cost me a whole lot of money if I avoid boutique animals. And, I'll have a lot of fun. At least, I think I will.
     
  6. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    southwest AR
    This could be true - I have been thinking about the same thing, except our family raises blackberries. Next season we are raising the price to $1.50/lb for you pick. This is only a little less than the Texas slaughter prices that were posted for a couple weeks ago.

    My goal for adding any animals to our farm is for them to pay for themselves. We have alot of weedy, underbrush filled forest that is unsightly and a fire hazard and a hiding place for snakes and vermin, and I can run goats in it-
    so if I bought cheapo brush goats, I'd come out on the profit side for sure, at least considering the intangibles (fire safety, visual appeal, we just like goats).

    But now I'm thinking of how to show a little tangible profit. Just a little. I'm heavily into diversification - a little money coming in from each of many different sources. So I'm going to keep my eye out for a good deal on a few Boer cross goats, I think.

    Georgiaberry
    www.berryfarm.com
     
  7. mailman

    mailman Miniature Cattle

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    Upstate Vermont
    I am finding my meat goats to be very profitable. I live in Vermont. There is a Vermont Coop that buys kids at $5.25/lb. and then sells them to restaurants. The coop has a membership fee of $750 one time purchase. If not a member, you pay 26%. So:
    Want KIDS: 25-35 dressed or 50-70lb liveweight @ $5.25/lb
    so: 35lb dressed(70liveweight) = $183.75
    so $183.75 - 26%= $135.98 - $15 killing fee = 120.98
    I do not feed grain to my goats, just roughage (alfalfa pellets and grass hay). They stay in great shape. Visit my website to see a picture of one of my kids that gained .76 pounds per day on just roughage, milk, and pasture.....Dennis
     
  8. billygoatridge

    billygoatridge Well-Known Member

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    Keep looking for affordable meat goats, they are out there. Most of the really high priced boers are from herds who do a lot of showing to get their name out there. There are some commercial meat herds that have some of the same bloodlines as the high priced show goats that have just as good of goats but more affordable. If you are just wanting a small meat herd, maybe you could get some dairy goats cheaper and breed them to a good meat billy. The kids with the meat genetics nursing goats with more milk often gain about as quick as the purebred boers. You can always breed up to get more boer blood in the herd. I don't think you'll loose on meat goats. If you don' t put a lot of grain in them you should make a little.
     
  9. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    southwest AR
    Thanks for the advice - this is what I'm thinking too. I read that the Nubian is the best dairy goat to cross for meat - does anyone out there have any boers crossed with lamancha, and are they pretty meaty?
     
  10. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    Countrybuck - your site looks great! Goatshares -I love it - I had to email that link to some friends trying to sell milk here in Arkansas. Did you come up with that or is this common practice in Vermont.

    And are you feeding the goats alfalfa pellets like rabbit pellets, or is this something different.
     
  11. xbeeman412

    xbeeman412 Well-Known Member

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    We have a couple of full blood bucks left for sale.. no papers. call and Ican tell You how to find us in Oklahoma or here in Tx. We are in Texas for the next week or so then back to the farm in Oklahoma.

    Will let these boys go for 130.00 apiece u pick up.They were born Febuary this year. Would take some blackberry cuttings in trade too.

    Will have a few bred does for sale later this fall.

    God Bless