Like with any business, raising meat goats requires a good initial investment. Going into business tentatively makes it harder to progress and gain a profit. Since you will be dealing with livestock, the first herd you purchase is important. And like most goods, the quality of the product often depends on who you buy it from.
Buying Meat Goats
When beginning a meat goat herd, it’s best to go first for quality than quantity. Several resources will give you information on what to expect from meat goat sales.
These will typically tell you how to examine goats and possibly where to buy them. However, if you are not confident that you’ve retained all the information you need, you can try asking someone to go with you.
Goat experts typically take years to gain enough experience and knowledge. It would be impractical to expect that you would get the same information just by reading books. Try to ask experienced goat buyers to come with you. They can be the safety net that secures your investment.
Looking for Meat Goat Sales
When looking for meat goats to buy, it is best to look in nearby areas. This is because the similarity in climate, plants and soil condition makes it easier for goats to adjust. It would also be easier to speak to the seller about any problems with the purchased animal.
To look for meat goat sales in the same area, you can approach members of your local meat goat associations. There are several classified ads online, you can also check newspapers and listings in the phonebook.
Several websites for meat goat associations contain listings for registered members (most of whom also sell meat goats) aside from the typical classified ads. There are also forums wherein buyers and sellers interact, most contain reviews or testimonials from previous buyers.
Signs of a Reputable Goat Seller
Given how easy it is to find someone who sells meat goats, you should be more diligent about the research you do when deciding whom to purchase from.
Try to ask around and seek others who have purchased from the same buyer. See if they’ve encountered any problems. Reputable goat sellers typically replace goats if the buyer complains of structural or health defects.
A good breeder keeps up-to-date records of the goats health and breeding records. This includes what shots the goat has had, how many does it has produced and how many times it can breed in a given mating season.
The best breeders can even tell prospective buyers the records of the doe and buck that bred each goat.
Aside from just checking the records and reputation of a breeder, it is essential to check the goat itself. It should not have any structural or health defects.
Most breeders prefer South African boer goats or goats with a percentage of that certain breed, specifically for their hardiness. They can withstand cold weather and they forage on plants typically considered weeds.
If you are interested in investing a particularly expensive buck (for boer goats this can mean up to USD100,000), consider having a veterinarian of your own examine the animal. If you intend to have the buck breed, have its sperm checked for fertility.
Here are a few other important things to keep in mind:
Adaptability to their environment
The goats need to be low maintenance, and must be hardy enough to successfully thrive just about anywhere. Goats that are too fragile or those that would demand certain temperature levels (like the Angora goats and the Cashmere goats that favor colder climates) are not suitable for commercial meat production, specifically because these animals cost too much to keep.
Growth rate, litter size, and reproductive rate
Monitoring the growth and reproductive rate of the animals are two of the most basic fundamental principles of raising meat goats. As a rule, commercial goat farming would need animals that could grow up very quickly, so that the reproduction rate is also on the up and up. Aside from having another generation of meat producers on your farm, you also have a higher yield in the fresh produce markets.
As you might know, goat meat from younger animals is highly valued in the fresh produce markets because of their tenderness and somewhat sweet flavor. Therefore, goats that produce good litter sizes are more favorable when it comes to raising meat goats.
Meats from very young goats are usually called Cabrito and Chevron. Both of which are excellent for barbeques, broiling and stewing. Older animals’ meat are usually grounded and turned into sausages, or salted and / or smoked like ham.
Overall carcass value
The price of commercial goat meat is usually dependent on the value of the carcass in the market. The more common the meat source is, the more competitive the prices are. Although some meat sources are considered exotic (from goats that are not commercially produced, and therefore would demand a higher price tag,) the market for these is relative small. And having very few buyers means fewer profits too.
As such, the best goat breeds for meat production are: the South African Boer goats, West African Dwarf, Myotonic goats, Kiko, Spanish and the Brush goats.