Cost to keep dairy goats?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by BeardedChick, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    What does it cost you to keep a dairy goat per year or month or whatever? I'm just curious how the expenses add up.

    I estimated alfalfa hay would be around $190 per year if fed full time (one 80# bale per goat every 2 weeks).

    What are the other ongoing costs of goat ownership (other than building waterproof fencing [​IMG] )?
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    It's that waterproof fencing that gets ya! [​IMG]

    When I was just feeding two Alpine milking does they would eat one 65 lb. (ish) bale of straight alfalfa hay every week.

    They got Klassy goat feed both morning and night on the milkstand and I was buying a 50 lb. bag every two weeks. BUT, I also bought a 40 lb. bag of BOSS (black-oiled sunflower seeds) and mixed it into the feed. It actually took me several months to go through that one bag of BOSS.

    They get free choice loose goat minerals, I bought a bag back in August and still haven't finished it yet (and I've added more goats).

    I also give free choice baking soda which is negligible in cost.

    I suggest having a CMT (mastitis test kit) on hand. I don't yet but paid my friend $5 to use hers once.)

    I trim my goats feet myself (very easy to do), I already had the trimmer as I also use it on my llamas. It cost just under $20.

    Shots and worming are a personal issue that you will have to research for your own area and talk to people and a vet around you.

    You want good quality stainless steel milk buckets (at least IMO), a strainer (makes it sooo much easier) and glass jars to store your milk in.
    I love the 1/2 gln. Mason jars but they can be hard to find except in the fall. A strip cup isn't necessary but nice to have. (Obviously these are a one time cost.) The filters for your strainer are on ongoing cost but very inexpensive.

    I'm blanking out on other costs... certainly a good, draft free shelter is very important but can be very inexpensive to put together. Straw or other bedding will be needed.

    I found wooden cable spools for free (took me a few months of looking here) so they have toys to get onto. I also got some free tires and buried them for climbing toys (although those are specifically for my NDs.)

    The last things would also be a one time cost or effort so they don't count in your monthly expenses.


    Edited:


    Oh duh! A milkstand is critical IMO, milking a goat on the ground is hard on the back. Again, a one time cost - easy to make out of left over wood laying around.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  3. Cara

    Cara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2007
    NM
    Quote:I haven't had mine long, but I think your hay calculation is way too high. My two eat a small bale of alfalfa every 12 days, and the heavily bred one has a small coffee can of cracked corn and oats twice a day. A 50lb bag if each is around $15, and the two mixed (100lbs) lasts her a month and a half.
     
  4. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh duh! A milkstand is critical IMO, milking a goat on the ground is hard on the back. Again, a one time cost - easy to make out of left over wood laying around.

    I was thinkin' I'd just roll her on her back and milk her upside down. [​IMG] Seriously, thanks for the other numbers.

    They got Klassy goat feed both morning and night on the milkstand and I was buying a 50 lb. bag every two weeks

    So grain/goat pellets would run somewhere around $180 per goat per year if fed year round ($15 a month per goat).​
     
  5. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    I am not milking yet, so my girls aren't getting as much grain as they will when they are producing, but we have had them for 2 months and still have about 1/4 of a 50lb bag of grain left ($20). They go through a large bale of alfalfa (not sure of the weight) in about 1.5mos and a bale of bermuda hay in about 3mos (we got the bale when we got the goats and we have about a quarter of it left) ($14-$18 per bale). I have a big tube of probios that will last us a good long while I am sure. I am going to be buying my milking supplies this month since one of my girls should be kidding in the next few weeks, so I'm not sure of the total cost of that yet.
     
  6. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I haven't had mine long, but I think your hay calculation is way too high. My two eat a small bale of alfalfa every 12 days, and the heavily bred one has a small coffee can of cracked corn and oats twice a day. A 50lb bag if each is around $15, and the two mixed (100lbs) lasts her a month and a half.

    Well, I found this on Fiasco's site:
    To maintain this level of milk production a dairy goat needs to eat between 5 to 7 per cent of her body weight daily

    so at 135# average, and 7% of body weight, that's about 10# of hay per day per goat. For me, 10# of highest quality hay is $1, and at $1 per day, that's still about $360 per year? I think? My math could be screwy...

    Actually, that's almost as much hay as our Icelandic horse eats. [​IMG] If only you could milk him. [​IMG]

    2 - 3 pounds of grain per day depending on milk production

    And one dairy goat, at the 3# consumption mark, would eat two bags of grain a month to a tune of about $30, or another $350 a year.

    So I'm coming up with ~$700 a year, in the worst, worst case (no pasture, feeding the highest amounts, etc.).

    I always prefer to know the worst case, then I'm pleasantly suprised if I can come out under budget. [​IMG]
     
  7. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Nebraska
    Quote:THAT I would pay to see! I am thinking of getting some milkers too, you thinking this Spring??
    Hugs
    christina
     
  8. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    approximately 1/6th the cost of a cow..
     
  9. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    THAT I would pay to see! I am thinking of getting some milkers too, you thinking this Spring??
    Hugs
    christina

    I'm really thinking hard about it... I know I would love goats, and having animals that produce for the family is wonderful even if it's costly. [​IMG]

    approximately 1/6th the cost of a cow..

    That depends. We have a Dexter heifer, pregnant, and she eats about 12# of good quality hay per day. It will go up when she's in milk... I am suprised how economical she is to keep.

    On the hugely positive side, having just ONE cow in my state allows us to keep our property in agriculture status, which knocks our taxes down by ~$3,200 dollars a year! So for us, it's stupid not to keep cows (we have a few, and we pasture some more on our range land).

    On the hugely negative side, my Dex is a first freshener and is not trained to milk. She has a gentle nature, and I have handled her a lot, but I'm honestly not looking forward to milking her! And I may not end up milking her if she's not safe for me to learn with. I really hope she has a heifer calf and I can halter train it, poll it, etc.

    Handling milk goats looks a lot more managable for me...

    [​IMG] I dunno. It's hard to decide...​
     
  10. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, and I just calculated that I am paying ~$290 for milk per year (raw milk from a dairy cow).

    So there is something to subtract off the cost of keeping a dairy goat...

    And if the goat can average 1/2# of milk per day (using a low number because I am figuring that as a year round number)...

    That goat is producing $730 of milk at the value of $430 per gallon.

    Darn, one goat just about breaks even in milk production!

    I guess that makes sense, that it would balance out in terms of what it costs to buy milk. Duh. [​IMG] Sometimes I just have to figure things out the really long, hard way.
     

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