What kind of startup costs would I be looking at to raise a small herd of goats?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Farmer Mike S, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Farmer Mike S

    Farmer Mike S Songster

    Oct 18, 2012
    Glen Mills, PA
    I'm considering raising goats. I may be able to get a land lease from my neighbor for either real cheap or in exchange for labor. He's got 10 acres that are just becoming overgrown, I'm thinking about asking the lease an acre. I can't count on this but I'm not 100% sure yet if I can even afford goats.

    But assume I do get the lease and can afford goats, I would be looking to get a small herd of maybe five, 4 does and one buck. I would probably install an electric fence with about 6 wires, as I heard this is effective and it would be good to get something temporary if I'm leasing land. Now the area of this fence would be whatever area is comfortable for five goats. I would also need a goat shelter which I would build myself, and whatever waterers and feeders are needed for raising goats.

    To buy five goats, install an electric fence, and build a shelter, how much money do you think I'm looking at?

  2. SA Farm

    SA Farm Songster

    Mar 11, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    Honestly, the best thing for you to do is to price it out and do your research. My guess would be at least a couple thousand, but it depends on what you're doing for material, how much you can get of used materials, if you're going to buy new, what type of goats, how much that type goes for in your area, etc.
    It may be an idea to keep an eye out for someone getting out of goats - selling their herd. Usually they're discounted a bit to get them gone or to get only a buck and two does and build your own herd since it's a lot easier and cheaper to replace a buck than it is to buy does.
  3. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Songster

    Mar 1, 2013
    The price will depend on the quality and kind of goats you want -plain ol' weed eating goats, boar type meat goats, dairy goats, etc. You could start out with two bred female (nanny) goats. Those goats will probably/possibly give birth to two kids each, then you will have six goats. Keep all the females you want and feed out all the rest to eat or sell. Then by the time those kids are born have a nice male (billy) goat either bought or borrowed and breed your nanny goats back when they are ready.
    Since you don't own the land I would buy 2 rolls of the Premier brand electric netting and a solar charger. I don't own any of it but friends say it is easy to move around to new pasture when needed or you could pack it up and take it with you when you need to. Lots of people use it for chickens.
    For housing about anything is good if you will just keep them dry and sheltered in the winter. I would buy a used dogpen, put a cattle panel roof on it and cover it in something like good tarps.
    If the neighbor's place is getting overgrown you ought to be able to strike up a good deal with him. Goats are wonderful for clearing land. They love to eat weeds, briers, saplings, bushes, etc. For feed, anything will do such as a tub or pan of some kind. For water, again, anything. Just make sure it's not deep and they can reach the water and the babies not drown in it by falling in and can't get out.
    If you had to buy all of that I would guess at maybe $1,000.
  4. H Diamond

    H Diamond Songster

    Jan 26, 2014
    If you were to fence off one acre is a perfect square shape, the perimeter would be 834 feet. If it were a rectangle shape, it would be closer to 1100 feet, and a circle would be less. So... let's figure 900ft on the perimeter length. For a six wire fence, you would then need 5,400 ft of wire to do all the fence.

    14 guage wire, 1/2 mile spool = $50 x 2 = $100
    14 guage wire, 1/4 mile spool = $25
    Total Wire cost: $125

    If you set your t-posts around 8ft apart (that's what we did and it made a very sturdy fence that the goats only went through if the electricity was off) you would need : 900/8 = 112.5 t posts.

    115 (for good measure) x $4 (roughly) = $460

    You need 6 insulators per post (one for each wire) which would be 115 x 6 = 690 insulators.
    They generally come 25 per bag, so 690/25 = 27.6 bags. You can't buy a partial bag, so you would need 28 bags of insulators

    28 bags x $4per bag = $112

    You also need a fencer.... plan to spend around $200 on the fencer, battery, and/or solar charger. Do you have electric close by or will you need to use solar?

    Do you have a post driver or a tractor of some sort to drive the posts? What about fence pliers? I'm not going to figure those costs in, but if you might need to.

    Will you need to build a gate? If so, you will need to figure in a few more dollars for gate hardware.

    To get a basic 6 strand 1 acre electric fence up, you're looking at:

    Wire: $125
    T-Posts: $260
    Insulators: $112
    Fencer: $200
    Total Fence Cost: $697

    Ok let's talk about shelter... If you're wanting portable, I would purchase a polydome calf hut. Either 1 large or 2 small ones for 5 goats. They would run you about $250-$350 in cost.
    If you are going to build a shelter yourself, I'm not real sure on price. For now I'm going to put shelter at $250-$750

    Feeders and Waters.... You will need some sort of water tub. A nice sturdy one will run you $50-$75. Hay feeder... if you can build it yourself I'd say around $100. If you purchase it, I would double that price.

    Goats.... I HIGHLY (and I cannot stress that enough) recommend you don't just go buy whatever you come across at the auction. I can't give you an exact answer on price on goats until I know what kind you want. Registered dairy goats? "Just some goats"? Do you want ones you can also milk? A ball park estimate would be $500 - $1500. Do you plan to keep a buck? If so, you will need a separate pen for him, as it is not good practice to run a buck with your does all year round. If you are willing to buy bred does, kid them out, and keep a couple of their doe kids back you could get by a little cheaper. Just please whatever you do, buy from a reputable breeder. They will cost a little more to start with, but they won't come with all the possible diseases that you will more than likely get with auction goats.

    So a rough estimate:

    Fencing: $697
    Shelter $250 - $750
    Waterers/Feeders: $150-$275
    Goats: $500-$1500

    Totals: $1597 - $3222

    This number does not account for things like a milk stand if you plan to milk, a basic first aid/medicine/vaccines/wormer stock to have on hand, buckets, hay, grain (if necessary) minerals (100% necessary) mineral feeder, etc. It also doesn't account for being able to find some of these items used.

    Goats are wonderful, and I highly highly recommend them. I just don't want you to be surprised at the hidden costs associated with them and have to sell out if something goes wrong. Good luck. :)
    1 person likes this.
  5. Farmer Mike S

    Farmer Mike S Songster

    Oct 18, 2012
    Glen Mills, PA
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to give me the great advice. I can't say how much I appreciate it!

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