Getting Started in the Goat Business


What you need to do is to write a business plan - include goals, timeline, and budget. Also write a comprehensive marketing plan; know who you are going to sell to, how you are going to accomplish this, when you plan to sell, and what the market (buyers) wants. Every area of the country has different conditions/different customers, etc. You need to analyze your particular situation. No two farms are the same; no two sets of goals are the same. You have to tailor your operation to your plan. And remember that a business plan and marketing plan are living documents, the need to be updated as your business gets started and grows.

Ok, how do I write a business plan? This site has a format and lots of into on what goes into a Business Plan: http://www.planware.org/bizplan.htm


Before you can do the above, you have to decide what you want to do - do you want to raise only meat goats, or raise breeding stock/replacement stock, or 4-H animals or raise show animals?


Next I would recommend you buy does of breeding age or, better yet, already bred. Kids are cute, and there is nothing more charming than a just-weaned doeling. But do you really want to be feeding that doeling for a year before it can be productive?


Your most important investment/decision is to buy the best buck you can afford. Determine what traits you want in your buck then visit as many farms/farmers as you can to find the buck that best represents those traits. [Note: don't buy your buck until you actually need him. If you buy young does - not of breeding age - or if you buy only does already bred, you are not going to need that buck for 5 to 8 months.]

Check out web sites; there are several excellent ones with different articles and bits of advice. But remember these are written by farmers/ranchers from their point of view. Figure out who you can trust based on their successes and failures (we learn more when we mess up than when we manage to get something right!). Check out Jack Mauldin's web site and boergoats.com. There are some sites that have incorrect information, so beware. We have several articles on our web site you might find helpful, especially our article on Marketing

Now that you have decided what you want to raise and have written your business and marketing plans, its time to get ready.

Before you buy your first animal, get your barn built and your fencing in place – at least enough fencing to hold your initial investment.

Next, create an isolation area – a place you can put new animals (or later any animal that leaves your farm and returns) for 30 days. This isolation area should have no common fence with any other paddocks (so the goats can not have nose-to-nose contact) and should have, at a minimum, shelter and feeding area.

The next thing you want to do is secure all the medical supplies (and other items) you will need either when the goats first arrive on your farm or shortly thereafter.

Following is a list we consider "must-have" items:


Clorox

Wormers (white and clear)

Probios (or Calf Pac)

Covexin 8 (or a CD/T)

Poly Serum

Super Poly Bac B Somnus

Nutri-Drench (or Goat Ade)

Antibiotic (LA 200 or Biomycin or Nuflor)

Syringes (3cc and 6cc as a minimum)


Biosol

Pepto Bismol

Magic (corn oil, Karo syrup, molassas)

Needles

Hoof Trimmers

Ear Tags (and Applicator)

Tattoo Kit

Leads

Feed and Hay

Before you allow the first goat to get off your truck or trailer (oops, you need some method to transport your goats), we highly recommend dipping their feet in a Clorox/water solution, worm them, and give them Probios. Since you probably don't' know what vaccinations they have had, if any, we also recommend you give them their initial vaccinations at this time. At the end of their 30 days in the isolation pen (where you are observing them for any signs of illness or foot problems), you will be ready to give their vaccination boosters before turning them out in their new paddocks.

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168


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