When you’re ready to make the jump to own goats, it can be an exciting time. But, often it can be a challenge to find goats for sale that are the right fit for you.
This article will cover factors to consider when buying goats, places to avoid, and tips for how to find goats for sale.
If you found this page and are looking for goat meat to buy you can head to our farm website, Cylon Rolling Acres, to order packaged cuts of goat meat delivered to your doorstep.
Table of contents
- Factors to consider when buying goats
- Places to avoid when buying goats
- How to find goats for sale
Factors to consider when buying goats
First you’ll want to think about what are your goals for the goats you’ll be buying.
Purpose for raising goats
What’s your purpose of raising goats? It could be for meat, dairy, brush management, companion livestock, commercial, show, or hobby. You’ll want to select goats that are bred for these purposes.
It probably goes without saying that dairy and meat goats will do better for their respective purposes. Show animals may be better suited to be registered (see section below), but a commercial farm for producing meat or dairy products will likely not benefit as greatly from registered genetics. However, this doesn’t mean genetics don’t matter. You’ll just need to look at it from a different perspective, rather than a “paper.”
If you’re looking at using goats for brush management purposes, you’ll have a wide range of options for the type of goats you buy and use.
However, you’ll want to take into account management practices (see next section for more details) to make sure you’re working with a herd of goats that can thrive in a low input system. Sometime goat owners will struggle with their goats transitioning to eating brush because they’re still feeding additional grain or hay. Depending on the time of year and the availability of brush supplemental feed might be needed.
However, it’s best to set yourself up for success based on your goal of brush removal by having goats that will actively eat your brush. If you’re looking to also sell your brush goats for meat, then using a meat breed will be a better option.
If you’re just looking to address the brush as your main goal and have no interest in selling meat, a dual purpose dairy goat breed, such as a Nubian, could be an option, especially if you have access to dairy buck kids (male dairy goats) in your area. Often dairy goat farms are looking to sell their male goats. They will usually be a lower investment than buying breeding quality goats – meat or dairy.
What are your management practices? How and where you’ll be raising goats will have a major impact on how well the goats you buy transition to your farm or ranch.
Goats that are raised in a barn with little access to pasture and feed a grain ration may be less likely to transition well to a low input, pasture-based setting. These goats may struggle with parasite challenges and ability to gain weight.
Are you interested in registered goats or commercial goats? Registered goats need to meet certain breed standards and can have their genetic lines documented.
There are situations where registered goats can be beneficial, such as owning breeding stock for shows. However, many times you may be just paying for looks over true performance in an animal.
If you do want to purchase registered goats, I’d recommend inquiring in more detail about the goats and the farm management practices (see the next section).
Questions to ask when buying goats
Seeing photos and details on paper is a good starting point, but it can be very helpful to ask questions in person/over the phone about the goats you’re looking at.
A few examples of question to ask include:
- Kidding ease and maternal instincts
- Parasite management and deworming practices
- Feeding program
- Management practices, specifically pasture use and management if that’s something of interest to you
- Breeding and culling decisions
- Why are they selling the goat(s)
If you can see the goats in person at the farm that’s even better since the environment where the goats are raise says a lot about the goats might perform at your farm.
You don’t necessarily need to have a whole tour of the farm, but just simply observing other goats that aren’t for sale, condition of pasture, and so on can give you some perspective.
With social media today, it’s possible to be able to capture some of these through online photos. However, it doesn’t always give a full picture.
How many goats are you purchasing?
If you’re getting started raising goats, a smaller group of goats is a good place to start. However, if you decide to buy a group from one farm, and then add a few more goats from a few other farms you may run into challenges.
Even if goats are healthy and doing well at their original farm, you can still run the risk of goats not doing as well adapting to your farm. This is due to the fact that livestock get accustomed to their environment and management styles. It may take some time for goats to adapt to their new farm.
From a biosecurity standpoint, one herd may also be immune to different health concerns, while another isn’t simply because they haven’t been exposed to xyz. When you start buying goats from multiple herds you’ll start to run the risk of increasing health issues.
It is hard to avoid when you’re starting to build your herd, however, try to keep it to a minimum. Over time your goats will have less issues, but it’s a reality to be aware of. That’s why I recommend sourcing animals from one herd, maybe two. But then do not keep adding goats. Grow from within.
Purchasing decisions on our farm
Personally on our farm, Cylon Rolling Acres, we’ve had more success transitioning goats to our farm that come from similar management practices, which include low inputs, forage only (pasture, hay, brush), and an intensive rotational grazing system.
Next a comparable region/climate is also a priority for us since we’re in a colder climate.
When we’ve had fewer options to select from I’ve found that younger goats, under a year of age, tend to transition better to our farm and management style. I suspect epigenetics plays some role in this. Epigenetics is the concept of how an animal exhibits its genetic makeup based on it’s environmental surroundings.
Registered genetics is not something I’m concerned about. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking at the background of the goats or performance.
As a commercial meat goat farmer, my goal is to have a herd that’s low input (minimal or no added feed beyond pasture, brush or winter hay, minerals with a good rate of gain), and low maintenance (hearty, minimal to no veterinary needs, little to no kidding assistance, good maternal traits, parasite resistance).
Places to avoid when buying goats
There are a handful of places that I’d recommend avoiding when you’re looking for goats for sale. Unfortunately, these are the easiest places to find goats for sale. I can think of numerous not-so-good experiences I’ve told about when people have bought goats from these sources.
Craigslist goats for sale
While it’s easy to look for goats for sale on Craigslist you really have no idea the background of the goat or how it was raised, even if it has a decent listing online. Craigslist also has a bad reputation for scams.
I’ve found that most of my fellow goat farmer friends, including meat, dairy and brush herds, are not selling their goats on Craigslist. There are easier ways to find a more reputable goat breeder or goat farms to purchase from.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but goats for sale on Facebook, especially groups, are not a great place to buy goats. It’s in a similar context as Craigslist.
There are a lot of transactional-style posts for sale with little context. It’s also a place where there’s a greater chance of scams. In fact I know one situation, where a friend of mine had his farm photos used in a fake account. That account was then trying to sell goats in groups and there were reports of people paying deposits before they met up with him and then were ghosted!
Lastly, it’s actually against Facebook rules to sell animals. So why try to “work around the system” when it’s not even supposed to be happening? It makes for more work than necessary.
The only benefit to using Facebook is using it as a way to find and research reputable breeders or farms, but I’d highly recommend reaching out to those individuals to ask about available animals for purchase.
Goat sales barns, goat auctions, or livestock markets
While goat sales barns or goat auctions can be a place for people to sell goats, typically they are being sold since they’re terminal (raised for meat) or are being culled due to breeding decisions or health reasons. Additionally, you usually have no idea of the background of the goat.
In most cases goat sales barns are not the best place to buy goats for sale because there’s too big of a risk for bringing home goats with health issues or not ideal for breeding.
There are some situations where sale barns or goat auctions are doing a herd dispersal. This is where a farmer is selling their whole herd. In this situation, this may be worth considering or looking into further.
How to find goats for sale
So how do you find goats for sale? It may take a little more work on your part to do research, but you’ll likely have a better foundation to work from with your new goats.
Goat breed associations or related organizations are a great place to find potential partners to buy goats from. Typically these organizations will have member listings and sometimes livestock listings where you can find contact information. It’s easier to find goats potentially near your location.
Additionally these organizations will sometimes have their own goat sales or auctions. You’ll still want to do your own research on the goats for sale with these auctions, but these are a better option than buying from a local goat auction or sale barn.
Boer goats for sale
Kiko goats for sale
Spanish goats for sale
Other listings of goat breeders
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