Keeping goats

Basic Costs of Keeping Goats

Basic Costs of Keeping Goats

You may have started with smaller livestock such as rabbits and chickens. Now you are wanting to get into goats. A smart exercise is to run the numbers in keeping goats on your property. Whether they are dairy or meat goats, some basic costs are the same.

Hay, Hay!

Hay is a necessity. If you are keeping your goat in a “dry lot” (a smaller area with no grass), then you are going to need a lot more hay than if you have pasture. When we speak of quality hay this should also include woody and fibrous grass, not just think wispy grass. Remember, they would actually love to eat off of trees all day long. They LOVE Johnson grass.

Even if you feed on pasture, you will still need hay in the barn for rainy days and just for all day access. The cost of this hay really depends on your supplier and the area which you live. I feed my 5 goats about a half a bale a day during winter and spring.  Only about three flakes during summer and fall.  Our bales are approximately $6 each.

Grains in Keeping Goats

Contrary to popular belief, goats not in milk don’t “NEED” grain. However, if you do choose to feed them grain, stores carry basic goat feed for approximately $18 dollars a bag.  There is approximately 56 – 60 cups of feed in a 50 lb bag.

Usually I feed the our buck two cups once a day.  Girls growing babies get about a cup a day. Once babies are born and does are in milk, they get four cups each milking on stanchion only. One bag of feed feeds two does in milk for one week.

Parasite Management in Goats

Even if you treat herbally, chemical wormers need to be on hand at all times. If there is an emergency, you want that option.

Today, 50 mL of injectable Ivermectin (which you will give orally) is $40.99.  Safeguard 125 mL is $32.99. 

Herbal wormers are used as a preventative and also for treating parasite overloads. I keep oregano essential oil on hand for weekly worming spring through December. Also, we buy our herbal wormers from Fir Meadows. We buy DWA and GI Soother for parasite maintenance. These are administered weekly (3x a week) through the parasite season.  These cost me about $100 (with shipping and handling) from Fir Meadows. How long it lasts depends on how big your herd is.

Fecal Tests

You can bring a sample into your vet and have your fecals done. My vet charges $13.50 per fecal (that’s per goat). You need to get it done before you begin treatment and afterwards to see if the dewormers are working.

If you’d like to learn the specifics of how to do it, you can find that here.

Basically, you will need to purchase a microscope, epsom salt, a small tea strainer, plastic cups, a popsicle stick, a pipette or syringe, and a way to measure the liquid in mL (we use a chemistry beaker). Depending on what kind of microscope, you can get all set up for about $100.

While getting these supplies will cost a little up front, it will quickly pay itself back after doing fecals for a year!

Keeping goats means getting fecals done.
Learning how to find an identify parasite eggs.

Maintenance & Healthcare of Goats

You will need to give copper bolus once or twice a year.

A thermometer is an absolute must to help you diagnose your goat when they are ill.

Keep a drencher on hand to administer things like your oral chemical wormer, liquid iron, but you can also use to deliver apple cider vinegar to your goat or even diluted activated charcoal.

Parasite overload can leave a goat in a state of anemia. Red Cell can be drenched for anemic goats, so you need this on hand as well.

Keep vitamin B12 complex as well as needles and syringes. The vitamin B12 is used when a goat is coming back from a bad parasite load. It will help them regain energy and appetite.

Hoof trimming is a necessary part of keeping goats, so you’ll need a pair of trimmers.

In total, the amount you will spend in this section should not cost more than $150. The most “expensive” things are the copper bolus and Red Cell.

In order to maintain optimal health, goats need free access to minerals. These cost about $16. How long it lasts depends on how many you have in your herd. Typically they don’t go through it very quickly if they start off balanced.

Milk Goat Must-Haves

You will need Stanchion – BUILD IT!  Ours cost us $30.  We built it from pallet wood and scrap wood from a friend. The only thing we bought was a stall pad to put on the top of the stanchion for milk not to soak into it and hanging feed bucket.

If you were to buy one, metal ones can cost upwards of $500 to $600. Wooden ones start at $250.

You will need wash cloths, a stainless steel milk bucket (or bowl), and some teat dip (We make ours from diluted tea tree oil). These won’t cost more than about $40.

Good luck!

Hopefully this helps you understand the very basic costs in keeping goats! Do you have any questions? Anything we can help you with? Contact us! Also, if you want some other things you should consider before getting that goat, see this blog on what you should consider when looking for your dairy goat!

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