Choosing a good farm to purchase from?


6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
Rockford, IL
I'm learning quickly that "small local farmer" is not necessarily a good thing. There's one that is giving me real warning signs, but I'm not too sure of what to be on the lookout for so it could just be paranoia.

The big one is I don't know where this farm is and requests to come see the livestock have been turned down.

How do you tell if a farm is 'good'? We're trying to find somewhere to purchase Angora rabbits and goats. Since both will be fairly pricey purchases, I want to really vet the breeder(s). Any tips?
That is very strange. If they wont allow you to come view their animals,how are you supposed to decide wether or not you would like to buy from them or not? Explain to them that you want to buy animals from them and that the only way you'll be comfortable buying from them is if you view their own personal animals. If that doesn't work, avoid them. Something seems to be very fishy.

A 'good' farm is a farm that the owners are proud of and would love to show their animals off to anyone who asks. At least that's what I think.
a LOT of farms/dog breeders/horses/etc will not let people just visit their farm for bio-security reasons. The amount of diseases that can be spread like that are amazing. However, they should have other ways to prove the worth and health of their animals.
You can also ask what you can do to help with biosecurity - not visiting other farms, disinfecting shoes, etc

If you ask them "why can't I visit" and they don't have a good reason, then walk away
We're torn between Saanen and Nubian goats right now. Nubians are easier to come by and closer to "dual purpose." I really want Anatolian Blacks, but those seem impossible to find.

I tend to agree with that definition of a "good" farm. If someone is acting like they have something to hide...they probably do.
I know that many people who have dairy goats and sell the milk have VERY strict guidelines they must follow to insure the safety of their herd. If they are a dairy farm, it is most likely that they have a signed contract stipulating who has access to the facilities, etc.

However, if you ask why you can't visit, they should be upfront about this
Yeah, find out the why. Biosecurity is not a good enough reason for me personally. Make me change clothes and step in a foot bath, but I want to see the facilities and animals when I am buying.
Yeah, find out the why. Biosecurity is not a good enough reason for me personally. Make me change clothes and step in a foot bath, but I want to see the facilities and animals when I am buying.
Exactly. Also, at the time of the request, we weren't looking for goats. We were asking about rabbits.

I'm not entirely a fan of this farm, the more I get to know about them. They breed several species - including dogs - which, I'm sorry if it offends anyone, combine that with the "secrecy" really concerns me.

At this point, I'm probably going to call a farm up in Wisconsin if we get the rabbits, and look for goats from the guy down the road. His place looks "dirty" from a drive by, but he has a big sign advertising goats with his phone number. All I can get from the other place is an email and a Facebook page.
I would definitely skip over them. The other red flags are a bigger concern, especially when combined with secrecy.

Punk, the problem is that some commercial facilities have a signed contract with the company they sell to that they will not let anyone on the premises. If they do, then they lose their ability to sell to that company. I know some cattle dairies have rules like this. A LOT of poultry farms have this rule too. The problem with changing clothes is, unless the farm keeps a closet of clothes onsite and has everyone shower off and change before going in, your clothes still come from YOUR house with the "germs" of YOUR animals.
I know some dog breeders who won't even let potential buyers anywhere on the property if they have young puppies. Even if you just come into the driveway, you could have parvo on your shoes, one of their other dogs walks across your path, picks up the virus and brings it into the house. Once the pups are a bit older (6 weeks or so), then they will allow visitors with special bio-security measures. One of those is that you have not been around any dogs other than the ones you own before you visit. No taking your dog to the park and then coming over after you drop him off at home. No walking anywhere where a lot of other dogs go either. Then you step into a little bleach bath to disinfect your shoes before you enter anywhere their dogs have access too.

ETA: my whole point in the original post was to just say that there might be legit reasons that they don't allow visitors. By itself, it's just a reason to ask more questions. The OTHER things combined with not allowing visitors says "run away" :)
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Good luck finding the rabbits and goats you are looking for! Some goat/rabbit specific forums and clubs can really be helpful when locating breeders and lines that match your specific needs. I've had a lot of luck locating La Manchas with ridiculously narrow specifications using these routes. X)

Dainerra: I was refering to changing into clothes (and stepping into footbaths) provided by the farm/facility, as even some small time breeders provide these biosecurity measures. Biosecurity is a common reason given, but even for high levels of desired biosecurity, there are ways to work in effective programs. Thus, it is not a good enough reason to disallow visitation for me personally.

On contractual agreements, that would fall under "find out the why" to determine the reason given for visitation denials and if said reason is acceptable to the potential buyer. Another reason given may be that the seller is not comfortable with allowing people on their property. Reasons may include future theft of animals by people simply posing as potential buyers. Whether this is an acceptable and honest reason or not is again up to the potential buyer to determine. The point of my post was: Find out the reason given. Determine if it is acceptable. :)

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