I bought two dwarf does this year who I will be breeding. I picked the Nigerian Dwarf breed because I figured that I wanted manageable pets who I could learn how to take care of and decide if I wanted more and decide if I enjoyed milking and making products to sell.
I've done a lot of research in my state and I could do herd shares here to sell the milk, but first I want to see if I enjoy being a goat farmer in addition to having my horses.
Curious if any of you have goats, breed them and/or make products to sell or give away. Also curious if or how long it took to become profitable, how many goats you have and anything you can tell me.
I'm primarily starting this as a hobby, but my girls are so delightful that I htink it would be fun to reap the benefits of their milk...
I think they would agree with me that you have to be where there is a market. Bozeman is very yuppy-ish. Where I live now people would laugh at me to buy goat soap from me b/c most of them already make their own and/or they're broke.
My ex- college roommate does. First there were adorable baby goat pictures. Later there were goat stew pictures. I had a much harder time with the whole thing than she did, and I never even met the goat.
I work for (manager) of a new and just up and running goat cheese dairy. We have a large amount of goats and a brand new building where we milk, pasteurize, and make cheese.
It's a ton of work, and my personal herd is quite small and I milk by hand (or used to, until I moved to the same property as the dairy operation), but I really do enjoy it. Most of the time. LOL.
It's way different, having just a couple small goats you milk for personal reasons, than it is to have production animals that produce a product for sale. Your profits margins are small if nonexistent at first! Have to spend a lot of money to make money, although I'm sure making soap is easier. I have MADE soap, but not for selling - I prefer to buy my goat milk soap from a friend who specializes in that.
It's hard too, because goats are so misunderstood and even vets can have a lot of very very wrong assumptions about the species. You have to learn to do a LOT of veterinary care all on your own, and learn how to diagnose problems in an animal that is either happy and alive or on death's door. They are very good at hiding problems until right before they die.
They are also very smart, exciting, fun animals when properly cared for and managed. Sure they jump on vehicles, but then I wonder, why were the vehicles available to them?
But I'd be lying too, if I said goats aren't escapes artists. Good fencing will go a long way to keeping you from strangling a goat or two!
We do eat our goats - some are raised for food from birth, some are culled, like non-producing female goats, or goats with a very serious flaw.
Then of course, we need to breed these goats - not just breed willy-nilly, because the daughters will replace mothers at some point, but breeding for strong dependable goats who are hardy, healthy, and will carry and give birth easily, and of course, grow an udder that is well attached, has good capacity and will hold up under the strain of producing milk.
Which brings forth another issue! Kids! Goats must have kids to make milk. Some huge dairies butcher kids at birth. Many seperate kids from the mom and raise on the bottle. Some let their does raise them. We sort of fall in between, the does keep most of their kids, some we keep, some we sell, boys are butchered or sold, and some are sold as bottle kids.
Then you have milking, every day, on time. A healthy udder means a healthy goat. Not so bad when it's a couple of goats, but man milking 40-50 can tire you out, even with a machine! LOL
I'm babbling on and on, but do feel free to PM me at any time! I love goats. They are my life. I am one of the lucky few who gets to work at my dream job. Nevermind it's practically a 24/7/365 job! LOL
We used to have a goat dairy about 40 years ago.
We generally milked about a dozen goats, mostly nubians.
We sold the milk in town to customers their doctors had put them on goat milk.
We sold the kids once eating solid food well to a larger dairy.
They fed them and sold them for barbecue.
We also supplied other horse breeding farms with trained goats to raise their orphan foals or those needing extra milk.
We put on goat shows, for registered goats and some for 4H kids.
Eventually, the regulations for selling milk to the public became too expensive to keep up with, requiring we buy costly added machinery and we sold out.
Just be sure you are aware of all the hoops you have to jump thru to legally sell milk products for consumption.
I just got done "farm sitting" horses (16), goats (33), dogs (5), chickens (who knows) and assorted cats. I know she does make soap and sells the meat (the goats!). She also makes goat jerky and also has an open house farm tour.
She owns fainting goats, which are always fun. The first time one "dropped", the only thing going though my mind was where could I find a replacement goat before she came back from vacation. Then it popped back up!
We couldn't eat them either. There was also an "ick" factor for me, after I'd spent too many hours smelling goat. That wasn't a smell I wanted to ingest, know what I mean?
The bucks are the most disgusting creatures known to man. Really revolting animals that pee on themselves. Horny bastards, also. Just gross in pretty much every way.
One of my biggest beefs with goats is that they will find a way to get out, no matter how good your fences are. That gets real old.
They are a lot of work for not much return. It did not pencil out in any way for me to continue raising goats (which I was raising to sell for meat). They are very picky eaters and only want the very best. I personally objected to feeding them better feed than my horses were getting.
Kidding was a nightmare. Does that wouldn't take their kids. Does with trouble giving birth, does with no milk or bad bags, etc. It was not fun.
No part of it went smoothly for me. I did not enjoy it and would never, ever do it again.
I will admit, bucks are pretty foul during rut but the rest of the year, they're my favorites. Sweet gentle boys who want a pet and a kind word. We do not tolerate an aggressive male goat, no more than anyone should tolerate an aggressive stallion. Even in full rut, my personal buck can be easily caught and walks on a leash, both towards and away from a doe in heat.
None of the healthy females ever emit a "smell" that is offensive, nor do neutered males, wethers, which is what we generally butcher.
Goat meat is very lean, healthy, and delicious. It does need to be cooked properly, but that goes for all meat really.
They really can be escape artists. I use very strong fencing, well stretched, with lines of VERY VERY hot electric. Works well enough!
I really did ramble on last night, re-reading my post. LOL.
Goats do indeed need good food. Just like horses. Or any animal. Including ourselves. If you want correct and good production, you need to do a lot of research for your area - raising goats down here in Texas is different than raising goats up north.
I will say the goats are harder than ponies. There is FAR more research out there for ponies. There is almost none for goats. All of the information you get that will work will not come from books or vets, it will come from people who have been raising goats for years and have done the dirty work, like necropsy after a death or biopsies of organs to check our their mineral ration is working.
I just unwrapped a wheel of Brie cheese we made at the dairy. There is something...amazing, about slicing off a piece of cheese that YOU created. You nurtured the goat, bred it, raised its babies, milked it, cooked the cheese...
To ME, it's worth it. It won't be to everyone, of course. We all have our different notes in life!
I used to live in Houston Texas and there's a woman west of Houston who started Goat Haus Dairy with her goats. She started the business with her own goats. i love love LOOOOOVE her soaps, lotions, bath products, etc. Plus, the woman who owns it (whose name escapes me at the moment) is the nicest woman. I'm sure she'd be happy to chat with you about how she started her business, and I highly recommend her products!
Quality or quantity starts you on the path to profit.
I raised goats years ago on my farm in Rappahannock. Mine were meat goats. They paid for themselves the first year in sales. I had quality, not quantity (not enough land to sustain more than 30 head).
To make a profit, I researched the "in" breed, which happened to be Kiko at the time. I purchased a full blooded black male and some percentage does to add to the boar percentage does that I purchased initially. I crossed the boar crosses with Kiko and produced some decent breeder females to sell. The meat side, no profit there (males only). It was the breeders who paid the money back into the farm.
If your dream is to produce top quality milk, then start with top quality milk goats.
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