Buy ALL the goats!
If you love goats, want to buy all the goats, and your husband has to block you from Craigslist because all you do all day is search for more adorable goats…
This post is JUST for you!
Why you need a goat (or 20):
I think the first question you should ask yourself is “Why not buy goats?”
I mean, seriously, is there anything cuter than an adorable tiny goat? And is there anything cuter than adorable tiny goats romping around the yard? And is there anything cuter than an adorable tiny goat making its tiny adorable goat sounds?
I submit that there is not.
So, whether or not you want to buy a goat for milking or just as a pet, today I’m going to give you my guide for purchasing the perfect goat. You’re welcome.
A Simple Guide to Buying your First Goat:
Choose a breed
There are a lot of different breeds of goats.
- Dairy breeds: Nubian, La Mancha, Alpine, Oberhasli, Toggenburg, Saanen, Sable, and Nigerian Dwarf goats.
- Meat breeds: Spanish, Tennessee, Boer, and Kiko goats.
- Fancy-pants breeds that produce fibers for fabric: Angora and Cashmere goats.
- And then there are the fun pet breeds: Pygmy and Fainting goats.
Your best breed choice really depends on what you are using your goat for. Think carefully!
Are mixed breeds okay?
Yes, mixed breeds are fine. Actually, they will be cheaper in comparison to purebred registered goats. The pros are that you can buy a goat sooner (because you won’t have to wait around for a particular breed to come up for sale) and you can spend less money. The biggest con is that you won’t be able to show your goat at a fair or FFA event in the future. The goat registries (yes, they’re a real thing) won’t register your goat unless it’s purebred, with one exception. Nubian-Nigerians are also called Mini-Nubians, and are beginning to be recognized as their own breed.
What about de-horning and vaccinations?
Well, it’s true. Goats do have horns. And most people like to raise goats that are de-horned. The proper term is actually “dis-budded.” This is the name for a goat who’s had its “buds” removed as a baby. When the buds are removed, they can’t develop into horns. Problem solved.
As sad as it is to see goats dis-budded, keep in mind that goats with horns can fight with each other and possibly harm/kill one another and are a danger to humans as well. We once had a goat with horns and once caught my husband on the ear when it reared its head back (he was NOT happy). So the moral of the story here is to opt for goats that are dis-budded.
What about vaccinations? Most veterinarians will recommend you vaccinate goats for clostridium perfringens (types C and D) and tetanus (CDT). We vaccinate our goats every spring. Babies should have been vaccinated at 8 weeks & 12 weeks. (and their mamas should have been vaccinated 4 weeks before kidding)
How do I know if the goat I want is healthy?
When you visit the farm to purchase your goat, check out the surroundings. Is the place clean? Is it dirty? Is there a “normal” amount of animals, or does the place seem overrun and the seller seem like an animal hoarder?
The one thing you have to remember with animals is that they do best when living in a natural environment with plenty of space. You don’t want to see animals in small cages, living in large amounts of poop, or too many animals in the same area. If the owner has provided a clean, healthy living conditions for their goats, chances are, they have put time and care into their animals.
How do I know if the goat has a good personality?
This is the best thing about goats—they all have a wide range of personalities! There are some that are calm and chill, some that are dramatic and hilarious, and some that are just plain annoying and stupid. Hey, I’m just keepin’ it real. Every family has at least one, right?
The most important thing to look for is a goat that enjoys being fed and touched by humans. If you visit a farm and the goat you want runs they other way (and a group of you has to chase it down!), then you’ll probably want to choose another goat. If the goat is friendly and playful, not skittish or wild, then you’ve found your goat!
What do goats eat?
Most people are shocked to find out that goats are NOT GRAZERS. If you put your goat in your backyard and expect it to mow it for you, it wouldn’t be very happy.
Why? Goats are browsers, not grazers. They will still eat some grass, but they prefer a VARIETY of green vegetation. So, they’ll pick at weeds, pick at grass, nibble on hay, etc. This is why goats are so good at clearing away overgrown properties, because those properties usually have a lots of choices. Goats love it.
We feed our goats alfalfa hay/bermuda grass pellets, along with some regular alfalfa hay for them to nibble on. They also get to browse our yard for weeds and other grasses that look good to them. My husband will also cut down branches and let the goats go crazy over the leaves.
Do goats need any grain/feed mixes?
One HUGE mistake first time goat owners make is that they feed their brand new baby goat a grain feed mix from the local feed store. Do you know what that causes? Constipation. Trust me, the last thing you want is a constipated goat.
The truth about grain is that it is only necessary if your goat is milking and you need something to feed it at the milking stand. The only other exception to this is if you want to give a small treat every once in a while. Grain IS NOT something you feed everyday.
Do goats need any supplements?
I have a blog post HERE all about feeding goats.
How do I get over the adorable-ness of my new goat?
This one you’ll have to figure out for yourself, because I still haven’t figured it out yet!
I forgot about one more thing that a reader reminded me about. Be sure to ask the owner for test results that show the herd is CAE and CL free. CAE and CL are goat (and sheep) diseases that can really make them sick down the road.
What do I look for in a good milking goat? Watch my video below!