Goat life. There ain’t nothin’ like it.
Sure goats are mischievous, but their cuddly, playful nature can win over anybody.
So, the question is, how much does a goat cost, and will one fit easily into your life? Goats are hilarious, and trust me, after you see the cost breakdown I think you’ll be ready to start your goat-shopping adventure.
Purpose vs. Play
Traditionally, people have owned goats for a purpose like milk, meat, or hair. In fact, a surprising 65% of the world drinks goat’s milk (us Arizona hippies included).
8 years ago I was hell-bent on getting a goat. And now I’ve made it my mission to help others get started with their own jumpy ball of fur. When my son couldn’t drink cow’s milk, we decided to switch the entire family over to goat’s milk and we’ve never looked back. We use our goat’s milk for yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and regular milk-drinking.
We’ve never forayed into the world of meat goats, though we’ve had friends that have tried it. We keep mainly female goats (Nigerian Dwarf’s are our favorite breed) and use them for milk.
If you’re looking into getting a goat as a pet, besides choosing the right sex (females or castrated males are best) the only thing you need to be sure of is to purchase a friendly dam-raised goat or a bottle fed goat, so that it is very accustomed to humans and will actually come when called:) You definitely don’t want to have to chase down your little goat friend and force him to play with you. A big red flag is if it runs from you when you go to pick it up.
So, what is the overall cost of goats? Let’s break it down…
The Cost of Owning & Raising Goats
Of course these numbers may vary depending on where you live and the size of your lot/land. If you have a large pasture or are in an area that has great prices on hay, you may be saving a lot on food.
Purchasing your Goat
The first purchase is most likely going to be your highest. A goat (whether it’s a baby or an adult) can cost anywhere from $100-$800 depending on the breed & sex. Purebred goats are usually more expensive as are the females. If you’re looking to milk your goat, you definitely want high quality lines, so be willing to spend more for good stock. If you’re looking for a pet, you can get away with a castrated male who is a mixed breed and as long as he’s healthy and friendly, you’ll be set.
One thing that’s important to know is that you can never just buy ONE goat. Goats, by nature, are herd animals and need another goat in order to be happy. A dog, cat, chicken, duck, or goose won’t cut it. A horse, cow, or sheep is better. Another goaty friend is always, always best. An unhappy goat is a LOUD goat, so trust me, just get a 2nd goat.
Need help purchasing your first goat? Check out my guide.
Goats are notorious escape artists, but it’s not too hard to fashion a simple fence. As long as the fence is at least 5 ft. high and you put the posts on the OUTSIDE of the fence, you can make a pen to keep your goats away from plants you don’t want it to eat. A goat usually needs about 250 sq. feet of space, but goats always need another goat buddy, so plan on 500 sq. feet.
Fencing can be as cheap as $50 (if you’re willing to find free stuff or repurpose items) or up to $600 depending on how elaborate your pen is.
Feeding your Goat
The majority of your goat’s diet should be hay or pasture. Goat’s LOVE variety, so they won’t be super happy on just grass alone (though they will eat it and it will sustain their life if it’s their only option). We feed our goats a nightly scoop of alfalfa pellets (which is basically hay in pellet form), along with a flake of alfalfa hay at night and in the morning we let them out to the pasture. Our milking goats get a handful of grain at the milking stand, but no treats other than scraps from the garden or a few brazil nuts.
We’ve found that one average-sized goat costs us about $15-20/month in feed.
You’ll have to make sure your goat has minerals to make sure and supply him/her with those necessary nutrients. Some people also like to feed their goats black oil sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to help boost their health & reduce intestinal parasites.
Vet Care for your Goat
We have a vet that we can call for emergencies, but for the most part, we do all our own care. We de-worm our goats weekly with herbs and then we test our goats for diseases once a year, which costs us about $20 per goat.
Deworming & testing costs about $30 per year per goat.
How much does a Goat Cost?
We’ve found the total cost of keeping a goat (after your initial goat purchase and fencing supplies) is around $20-$25/month.
Not too bad, right?
Of course, if you decide to raise your goats for milk, there will be breeding & pregnancy costs involved, but that can usually be offset by selling the babies down the road.
The cost of keeping goats: Is it worth it?
Owning goats, in my opinion, is TOTALLY worth it. Because, well, goats. You just can’t beat their hilarious and adorable nature. So, are you ready to get a goat? If so, be sure to download my guide below to help you on this journey!