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Farmers who are adding on a goat enterprise probably already have the production capability needed, but others may be wise to purchase hay. If you start with 50 or fewer does and only 15 or 20 tons of hay are required, purchasing hay seems reasonable. Whatever feed system you decide on, remember that any investment in harvesting equipment must be paid for by the goats.

A small herd cannot cover the costs of large tractors, forage harvesters, and other major equipment. The University of Illinois has a program titled "Illini Graze" to help producers estimate the amount of forage they have available on their farm. To purchase one of these, contact Dean Oswald at , or email at oswaldd uiuc. In order to make a profit, you need does that get pregnant on the first exposure to the buck, give birth to at least twins, raise the kids to weaning, and require minimal maintenance.

Tennessee State University is conducting research on profitability based on doe herd productivity and performing comparisons among different breeds of meat goats. All goats are amazingly adaptable. Using different breeds and systems, you can set and meet your production goals. Most Midwestern farms have the potential to produce suitable forage and, since concentrates usually can be purchased at reasonable prices, can produce at high levels. The goals you set will depend on your resources, management abilities, the ability of the goats, and the products you hope to produce.

If you decide to start a goat enterprise, where you get your starter herd is critical. Be sure to purchase healthy animals. Also, don't buy on pedigree alone — it is the performance of the goat that counts, not the papers that come with the goat. The key traits to be considered in selecting a breed for meat goat production include: adaptability to environmental and production conditions, reproductive rate, growth rate, and carcass characteristics.

Each breed was developed with the same goal in mind: fertile, low maintenance goats able to survive in harsh conditions. While each breed has its pros and cons, the most important factor in breed selection is the individual animals you are purchasing. Boer: The Boer is a heavier goat that was developed in South Africa. This makes the Boer a good fit for drier climates such as Texas. Puberty is achieved early, at about 6 months for the males and months for the females. A mature Boer buck weights between and pounds and the Boer doe weighs between and pounds. For some situations, this breed might be too big, with high maintenance costs.

Kiko : The Kiko breed was developed in New Zealand from feral and dairy breeds and continues to be selected for specific commercially-important traits. The Kiko goat is therefore well suited to wetter climates such as the Southeast and Midwest. It performs well under a variety of conditions in forage-based meat production systems. They have good reproductive rates, growth rates, and are low maintenance.


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On average, mature bucks can weigh up to pounds and does up to pounds. Spanish : Generically, the term Spanish has been used to describe goats of unknown ancestry. Because they have been crossbred for many generations, they are very hardy, and can survive under adverse agronomic climates. They are excellent range animals because of their small udders and teats. Body shape, size and color are not consistent among goats of the breed. Savannah: The Savannah was also developed in South Africa.

It is known for its survivability and mothering ability. Myotonic : The Myotonic goats are often referred to as the Tennessee 'fainting' goats, 'wooden leg' or 'stiff leg'. The stiff-leg name is derived from the fact that, in a startled or frightened state, the goats 'lock up' and fall over and lie very stiff faint for a few seconds a condition referred to as myotonia. Researchers claim that this type of involuntary muscle contraction could build a more tender muscle than a muscle developed by strenuous use.

This breed is one of the few indigenous goat breeds to the United States. Although a smaller goat, overall the breed is very muscular and meaty. Pygmy: This breed is a dwarfed, heavily muscled and short-legged breed originating in West Africa.

It is well suited to humid conditions and twinning is frequent. However, cull does and bucks often end up as slaughter goats. Many dairy goat producers cross their does with a meat-type buck to produce heavier kids for the slaughter market. For more basic facts, North Carolina State University has an excellent website. The best information often comes from other goat producers in your area who are willing to spend some of their valuable time with you and help you make decisions. Consider volunteering to work with another goat producer for a few days.

You will learn, and he or she may catch up on some jobs that need doing. Oswald: oswaldD uiuc. Miller: info rushcreekfarms. Electric netting fence can provide a temporary enclosure, but goats will eat through such a fence if it is used as a confinement structure and not continuously electrified. Woven wire fencing may be used, but the goat's horns may become entangled in the fencing and severely harm the goat.

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Raising Meat Goats for Profit by Gail B. Bowman

If woven wire is used, you will need to check the goats frequently to free trapped goats. A five- or six-strand high-tensile fence with electrified first, third, and top wires has proved to be an effective goat-tight fence. High-tensile electric fence wire. Like other livestock, goats need some type of restraint facility and shelter when on pasture.


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Regular sheep-working pens are adequate for goats. Cattle pens can be easily adapted by making the lower section goat tight. An open shed arrangement of square feet per doe can provide shelter during extremely hot or cold weather. A preventative health program should be carefully worked out with your veterinarian. Goats are more susceptible to internal parasites than other types of livestock.

Control of internal parasites is probably the most important health issue for goats. Generally, control methods for sheep within a certain region of the country will also be effective for goats. Problem diseases associated with reproduction or kidding can be managed and treated, in most instances, the same as for sheep.

Pasture productivity is often measured in animal unit months AUM. An AUM is the minimum area of grazing land required by one mature 1,pound beef cow for one month. If stocked according to recommendations in your locale, meat goats can be grazed with other livestock. In marginal grazing lands, goats have been shown to complement both sheep and cattle. Goats consume a higher percentage of brush and other less desirable plants; thus, they help maximize the use of marginal pastureland as well as improve forage production over time.

A carefully planned rotational grazing program can enhance pasture production and help control internal parasites. High-quality pastures and small-grain pastures are good for kidding since they provide excellent feed for milk production.

Getting Started with Meat Goat Farming

Supplemental grazing in stubble fields, corn fodder, small-grain pastures, and brassicas can be used to either extend the grazing season or boost required nutrient levels for some critical phase of production. Moving goats out of pasture before the grass is less than 3 inches tall will help prevent internal parasite infection. In general, growth rates for meat goats are slower than those of sheep. Under favorable nutritional conditions, meat goats may gain at a rate of more than grams 0.

All agricultural operations in Pennsylvania, including small and part-time farming operations, operate under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. A specific part of this law is the Nutrient Management Act also known as Act However, all operations may be a source of surface or groundwater pollution. Because of this possibility, you should contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to determine what regulations may pertain to your operation.

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There are several risk management strategies you may employ for your operation. You should insure your facilities as well as your animals. This may be accomplished by consulting your insurance agent or broker. You may also insure your income through a crop insurance program called AGR-Lite. You can then contact an agent who sells crop insurance and insure the income of your operation. For more on agricultural business insurance, see Agricultural Business Insurance. The sample budget includes cost estimates for a meat goat herd of does and three bucks. The budget summarizes the receipts, costs, and net returns of a meat goat enterprise.

This sample budget should help ensure that all costs and receipts are included in your calculations. Costs and returns are often difficult to estimate in budget preparation because they are numerous and variable. Therefore, you should think of this budget as an approximation and make appropriate adjustments in the "Your Estimate" column to reflect your specific production and resource situation. More information on the use of crop budgets can be found in Enterprise Budget Analysis.

You can make changes to the interactive PDF budget files for this publication by inputting your own prices and quantities in the green outlined cells for any item. The cells outlined in red automatically calculate your revised totals based on the changes you made to the cells outlined in green. You will need to click on and add your own estimated price and quantity information to all of the green outlined cells to complete your customized budget.

Is raising boer goats profitable

When you are done, you can print the budget using the green Print Form button at the bottom of the form. You can use the red Clear Form button to clear all the information from your budget when you are finished. Prepared by Melanie E. Kime, senior extension associate in agricultural economics; and Jayson K.

Raising Goats For Milk, Meat, and Profit | Homesteading Handbook

Harper, professor of agricultural economics. Department of Agriculture-Extension Service. Thank you for your submission! Home Meat Goat Production.