Natural lawn mowers and providers of meat, milk, wool and hide, goats are a renewable livestock animal popular for animal husbandry and agriculture. Individuals often start goat farms to produce a means of income or to keep the animals as pets, particularly the pygmy variety of the species. Before purchasing goats and starting a goat farm, make sure it is legal in your area and learn your city's specific laws about owning goats.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Consider the breed of goat you want. There are different goat species specific for meat, dairy production, wool and so on. When purchasing a goat from a farmer, request to see information about the goats' lineage to see if there are health problems among the herd.
Get licensed. Fill out the necessary paperwork needed to start a goat farm from your local county clerk.
Build an enclosure for the goats. Enclosures with roofs should be tall enough for goats to stand in, have proper ventilation, have enough room for feeding and good drains so the pens stay dry and kept clean. It is important that a goat barn keep the animals safe from predator and the elements. Build a fence around the outside of a goat enclosure and the area the goats graze. Keep in mind when building fences: goats are good jumpers and climbers.
Invest in farm equipment. If you plan to keep dairy goats, you need to purchase a milking machine, unless you plan to do that by hand. You will also need a place to keep hay and feed, and a way to transport it easily. In addition, you will need grooming tools for the goats.
Purchase the goats. Fias Company Farms, a goat farm, suggests getting at least two goats for your farm to start with, and avoid bucks (especially if this is your first time owning goats) and goats with horns (or disbud the horns). They also recommend not purchasing goats from an auction barn because "The Auction is where many people take their 'problems' to get rid of." In addition, purchase goats that do not need to be bottle-fed and are used to humans.
Buy goat food. "Starting a Small Business" says that buying goat food is the most expensive part about raising goats. According to Caroll Thomas with the Ontario Goat Milk Producers Association, goats should eat hay that contains alfalfa and a 16 per cent non-urea grain ration.
Tips and warnings
- "Starting a Small Business" states that Alpine, Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, Toggenburg, Oberhasli, Sannen and LaMancha are good goat breeds for a goat dairy farm.
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