Would love some advice on how to get started with goats, please...

Discussion in 'Goats' started by gardentalk, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday my wife and I stopped over at an old man's house along the way to home. The guy raises goats (for meat and for selling the nannies, I think) and pigeons (for show). Honestly, we got the impression that the old man didn't want to give away any trade secrets, because he kept saying "I don't really know what to tell you", when all we wanted to know was EVERYTHING there is to know about goats in a 15 minute span (just kidding, LOL). ;) Basically we walked away feeling this way about goats:

    - they are beautfiul (we're animal lovers, and goats remind us of dogs with the way they look and act, they didn't like their ears messed with, though)

    - they seem gentle and aren't real big animals (like, say, cows)

    - we would have a difficult time parting with the goats in the event of selling them for meat, though my wife and I have talked it over a little bit and are trying to convince ourselves that "you have to do what you have to do to make it out in the country".

    - we would enjoy milking goats, though we've yet to taste goat's milk, and we don't know anyone that wants to buy goat's milk. If we didn't like the taste of goat's milk and couldn't find anyone to buy goat's milk, would it still be worth it to milk goats for the purpose of making things like soap and yogurt (the wife said she read something about making yogurt with goat's milk)?

    - goats seem sort of expensive to get started with (though the old man seemed to strongly suggest that we make all attempts to "raise one hundred percent'ers".

    - we would really enjoy raising goat kids and selling them off as pets, or possibly acting as a boarding home for goats.

    At the moment we don't have any shelter built for goats, no feed set up, nothing. In our minds it wouldn't make sense to go through all that trouble if we aren't even sure what we want to do first and don't have the funds to get started with it. We live in northern Kentucky (in the vicinity of Sadieville and Cynthiana, and close to Georgetown and Lexington. Our land is really small (1 acre), and *may* be purchasing the 1 acre lot next to our lot. Any advice or suggestions is appreciated!
     
  2. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Hey! We used to live in Georgetown. I worked at the college there. :)

    Anyway, read through the archives here and on other goats sites. Get some goat books, there are several good ones out there. Find goats milk somewhere to try. Health food store often sell it. To me, it tastes VERY similarly to cow's milk, so if you like cow milk, you'd probably like goat milk. You can make yogurt from it, and cheese, kefir, etc. Butter is very difficult though, unless you have a cream separator.

    It is pricey to get started, so save up now. :) Honestly, I would skimp on housing (scrounge used supplies, etc), in order to spend more on the animals themselves. Especially if you're going to get a dairy goat, spend the extra and get a good one who produces well, is healthy, and has nice manners. It makes a huge difference.

    Read read read. Visit other goat farms and talk to everyone you can find around you who knows anything about goats. The fairs are coming up. Go there and look at different breeds and talk to people.
     

  3. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    I have just started with goats.I am learning as I go.The best bet is to find someone in your area who will share.I have found most people with goats are my best information and most are willing to help out any way they can.Vet's in this area don't know about goats.The only reason I could see to raise registered stock is if you want to show and only sell for breeding stock.Mine are mixed Kiko and boer some could be registered .I am raising mine to sell as meat goats and if they are to be food I guess that those papers would not make them taste different.The woman I bought from helped me in any way she could to make sure that the goats had good homes.She kept exellent records on medication,vacination,breeding and so forth so I was pretty sure of what I was getting.She has trouble selling for meat so her husband takes care of that end of the buisness.Mine are not to the selling stage yet so it remains to be seen if I can part with them or not.Good luck
     
  4. WindSong Farm

    WindSong Farm Member

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    Goats are terrific! I can't think of another animal other than a dog perhaps that can have such a distinct personality. Just make sure you start out with clean healthy stock.

    one note as far as your land/space for goats:
    I have 1.25 acres currently and have 18 goats. That is not advisable; its very difficult to keep that many on that much land, especially if you want to pasture raise them! :) Just wanted to let you know you have plenty of land for a couple goats!

    There are some very very knowledgeable person on this forum who will give you very solid answers to any questions you have. Good Luck!!
     
  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Really sit down and look at this logically. Which one of you is going to milk a goat twice a day for 10 months? Are you competitive and a person who likes to be around other folks, joiners? Can you ever see yourself at goat meetings or goat shows? Do you want these goats as just pets, and can you afford to have goats that never make you any money? Can you deal with folks of other races for sales of your meat goats?

    If you are even thinking dairy goat at all, email me privately with your address and I will send you the Kentucky section of the ADGA (Amercain Dairy Goat Association) directory. This will give you all the dairy goat owners of registered stock, in your area. Plus go to ADGA.org and look up the clubs in your state. Go to a meeting and visit with the folks in your area with goats. Most dairy goat meetings contain folks who raise all breeds, even meat.

    Then start visiting. From the truly nasty place to the Buckingham Palaces, you can learn something new from each visit.

    You can milk a meat doe, especially if it's just some milk to play with to make soap or yogurt or cheese or to drink once in awhile. If milking chores isn't appealing than go with meat goats. Are there meat goat sales in your area? Go to realmilk.com even with pet sales, you can ask me privately about that, with an ad up you will have customers by the end of the week. Your customers for your goats or their products are not your local community, although I do have some sales now. It's the folks who drive in from the large towns around you. The internet is what sells your breeding stock (the largest profit part of goats, not their products or meat)

    And something that nobody tells you....a 50$ goat begets a $50 goat. If she isn't registered and being bred to a registered buck, the price you get is peanuts in comparison to what she costs you. You simply can't sell meat kids for $1 per pound on the hoof, and pay for the cost of your doe to live (unless you have year round pasture and alot of it) and then honestly if you pay yourself for you time what is the profit?, so you had better be wanting to do this for fun, for taxes. In every class of livestock the registered purebred (fullblood in Boers) is always the most money to be had.

    Don't even think of buying anything until you have your facility ready. Also until you know what the alphabet soup of CAE, CL, etc., is, you aren't ready.

    If you don't do your homework you will be back on the list with abscess, with swollen knees or hard udders from CAE her first freshening. A cheap goat who costs you in vet bills is not the way to go. Don't buy from anyone who is not willing to spend time with you, because if he is curt with you now, you will also receive no aftercare!

    Don't buy someones wild animal in hopes that you will tame them down, you won't.

    Goats are wonderful, they are addictive, be very careful not to fall into the trap of quantity instead of quality. Don't get overwhelmed and don't buy or keep anything that isn't going to bring you towards the goal you have set for your farm. Vicki
     
  6. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I really didn't expect this much information so soon! :eek: homebirtha, did you know Todd Harp? I went to school with him, he's a pretty big 4-H and Agriculture name here in Harrison County, and is the guy that my wife and I were advised to go talk to about getting into goats for milking (and I think nannies). Definitely, guys, my wife and I can not afford to get into something that will cost us in the way of vet bills. I think goats are beautiful, they are funny, they are sweet (at least the ones we met) (my wife and I would have a very dihttp://www.homesteadingtoday.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=877810#fficult time of departing with them for purposes of slaughtering), but we just can not afford to get into something that will sink us financially. It's coming down to getting into the chicken-rooster-hen hobby first, or the goat one, and we're just not sure which would be the most fun, let alone the most feasible.

    homebirtha, my wife's mother just moved from Baltimore to Florida (we lived in Massachusetts before moving down here last year), small world, ain't it? Oh, and I LOVE milk! Had a bowl of Co-Co Puffs last night, and a bowl of blackberries with sugar and milk before that.

    WindsongFarm, we're thinking of going with just 2-4 goats in the beginning, and possibly not going any higher than that until we move to some place bigger.
     
  7. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Vicki, I am pm'ing you now. :D
     
  8. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't ring a bell, but small world indeed. We didn't have goats when we lived in Kentucky. Heck we barely had a yard. So I don't know goat people from there.

    Chickens would be much cheaper and easier to start with. Honestly, once you get the stock, chickens can be very inexpensive. A few layers will not cost you more than $10 to $20 a month and you get free eggs. So you could start with chickens, then think about adding goats later.
     
  9. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    Right now it's looking more and more like we will go with chickens first, just to get used to maintaining animals other than dogs and cats (don't have any cats, but they are a cinch). Goats are pretty complex animals, from what I'm hearing, and probably out of our league at the moment. Besides, Im a heavy fan of The Far Side, so I might just be fine with a Saturday Night Chicken Dance :cool:
     
  10. goatee

    goatee Active Member

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    Goat milk if done right is the best tasting there is.I love it.Also cheese is fairly easy to learn how to make.If you bottle raise kids and like animals half as much as I do selling for meat will be a hard choice to make.A coule of milkers is not so hard to do,but you should have some knowledge abuot them and a place ready before you start looking.Good luck.P.S. Goats are great,Mine follow me around better than a dog well just as good.I take walks in the the woods with two bucks and my dog 3 times a day,they love it and so I.
     
  11. gardentalk

    gardentalk Well-Known Member

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    I really don't want to offend anyone here, and I realize that some are keep their emotions off their sleeves, but I'm not one of those people. My wife SAYS "we will just to keep our emotions separate from caring for the goats", but I KNOW how soft a person she is. Simply put, we won't be able to raise goats for meat. We're the type that would definitely be out there at all hours of the night (or whenever) caring for a sick goat, or bottle-feeding one. :p