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How Much Does a Goat Cost to Buy and Raise on Your Homestead?

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Goats make fun friends, are great workers, love to help you get rid of healthy food scraps, and serve as noisy alarm systems when trespassers approach your homestead. But how much does a goat cost to buy and raise?

That is what we’re here to find out! In about 10 minutes from now, you’ll know what an adult goat costs, how much a baby goat costs, the type of habitat you’ll need to create for your goats, what goats like to eat, and the expenses you’ll need to plan for concerning veterinary care.

Two adorable young goats cuddling and enjoying the day.

But first – have you ever tried to have a serious conversation with a goat?

If so, you know it’s nearly impossible – because they’re constantly butting in!

HA! Gotcha!

Now we should get serious.

Let’s talk about goat pricing.

Budgeting for Multiple Goats – Have You HERD The Word?

curious goat staring at camera and standing in a green summer meadow
Here’s our favorite way to estimate the cost of buying a goat. Check out the weekly USDA Goat Reports! The USDA publishes tons of goat auction, sheep auction, and livestock market sales information weekly! The goat cost reports include the number of sales, average goat cost, and more. (Most listed goat auctions appear to occur in Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, and other US states.) We’ve searched through dozens of their goat auction reports. We conclude that new homesteaders can easily find goats for around $100 – $300 per head at auction. However, we prefer sourcing goats from small farmers and ranchers! That way – you know that your goat got raised with love and care. (As long as you source your local farmer responsibly!)

Before we discuss how much goats cost to buy and raise, consider the following.

Although they can make excellent companion animals, goats are natural herd animals. They’re wild animals at heart. And, of course, they like to hang out with other goats.

Sure. Maybe a goat has a horse or cow friend, but they would probably prefer an amigo of their kind. No sane goat wants to hang out with the family cat, corgi, or duck. Not all of the time, anyway.

Whether you’re planning a goat-based hobby, a 5-goat mini herd, or a 10-goat dairy operation, a lonely goat with no friends can become a NOISY, baaaaaad-goat!

So, if you’re wondering how much it costs to buy and care for a goat, you should anticipate raising at least two goats and plan accordingly. Your goats will likely want like-minded company!

How Much Do Goats Cost?

How much is a goat, you asked?

And how much do baby goats cost?

According to goat owners everywhere, the answer depends on several variables that we’ll look at now. The primary factors include:

  1. The type of goats you choose
  2. Your goat’s diet
  3. Where your goats live
  4. Veterinary expenses

Let’s take a crash course in goat breed pricing. And also learn which type might be best for your homestead.

These goat budget exercises are going to be super fun – and eye-opening.

adult goat on green grass forage enjoying a free range lifestyle
How much does a goat cost to buy and raise on your homestead? It depends! The Cornell Extension Goat Industry Update cites that Doelings cost around $350 to $400 per head in the Fall of 2022. But your costs include not only buying the goat! Also consider other costs that vary – including fencing, goat food, fencing, waterers, veterinary services, medicine, et cetera.

Read More – 10 Best Goats for Beginners – Top Breeds for Dairy, Meat, and Pets!

Types of Goats

Most likely, you’ll find a wide variety of goats for sale at any sheep and goat auction, including:

  • Pet Goats
  • Kid Goats
  • Tall Goats
  • Meat Goats
  • Dairy Goats
  • Pygmy Goats
  • Stripey Goats
  • Purebred Goats
  • Miniature Goats

The only type you’re not likely to find is a Mountain Goat!

The Best Goats for Beginners [Top Breeds for Dairy, Meat, and Pets!]

How Much Does a Pygmy Goat Cost?

Miniature goats, like Pygmy goats or Nigerian Dwarf goats, are some of the tiniest goat breeds. But that doesn’t make their price tags linearly smaller! So, expect to pay as much for a miniature goat as you would for a more sizeable dairy goat.

The American Pygmy goat:

  • Appears and is compact, stocky, and heavy-boned
  • Can weigh 85 pounds (40 kg) or more
  • Solid black, black and white, brown, grey, or caramel-colored

You will have to spend up to $500 on a purebred, healthy, registered Pygmy goat. And remember, it’s best to buy at least two for goatly comradery.

No goat wants to be lonely. So, consider getting at least two does, or a doe and a castrated male (wethers). Goats with friends are happier!

How Much Does a Dairy Goat Cost?

Here in Ohio, a half-gallon of organic whole cow milk costs more than $4.50 at Kroger. That’s nearly ten bucks a gallon after taxes. Yikes!

These sky-high dairy prices make more and more homesteaders think about raising goats for milk, especially if they have a large family that drinks a lot of milk themselves! Goat milk is also typically more nutritious and richer than bovine milk. And it makes some delicious ice cream!

Dairy goats are much tinier and easier to manage than dairy cows. They’re also much easier to transport when needed, eat less, do not require a large barn, and cost less.

However, you’ll need as many as ten goats to provide the same milk as a single cow. Some of the best breeds of goats for milking are:

  • Alpine
  • Nubian
  • Saanen
  • Oberhasli
  • Damascus
  • Toggenburg

Concerning female goat prices, you can buy a registered Nubian doe, of breeding age, for between $500 – $1,000. And a registered champion-tested buck will likely cost you $1,000 or more.

How much is a baby goat? Well, you can buy a new kid Nubian goat for about $300. Of course, prices vary by location, breed of goat, and lineage.

The Best Goats for Milk on the Homestead (Top 5 Dairy Goat Breeds)

Read More – The Best Hay for Goats In Their Heyday. Or Any Day!

How Much Does a Meat Goat Cost?

Here’s what the American Goat Federation (AGF) had to say. 

  • Currently, the demand for goat meat is so high in the United States that only 20% of the supply gets domestically produced. Eighty percent of the goat meat consumed in the U.S. today is imported from Australia and New Zealand.

Preferred goat breeds for meat include:

  • Kiko
  • Boer
  • Angora
  • Kalahari Red
  • Black Bengal
  • Spanish Goats

You can expect to pay $100 – $300 for an unregistered Boer goat. Registered Boers cost up to $2,000, depending on age, gender (males tend to cost less), lineage, and the farmer’s unique life situation.

Comparatively, a registered Kiko costs between $250 to $1,500. But you have to do your research. Contact a professional goat breeder, or ask a local sheep and goat rancher to get a more accurate idea of what goats cost today in your area.

goats foraging on a sunny and green summer meadow
Feed cost is probably the most pricey ongoing expenditure for raising goats. Consider the following goat-feeding tips to help reduce the financial burden. You can cultivate and produce your own harvested goat food. And when you buy goat food, shop around and buy in bulk! You can also carefully weigh your goat food to ensure you’re not overfeeding your goats – or wasting excess goat food. (We’re not saying to starve your goats. Quite the contrary! But weighing your daily goat food portions might help reduce waste.)

Expenses of Feeding Goats

Aside from natural grazing on bushes, brush, weeds, and grass, hay is the main food staple for goats. In typical situations, a goat will consume about 2% of its body weight daily. A pregnant, lactating, or working goat will eat more, up to 4% of its body weight daily.

So, a 100-pound hay bail will last a single 110-pound goat for about 45 days and 25 days for a pregnant/lactating/working doe.

When it’s cold outside, and natural foraging is limited or impossible, goats will need more hay to keep warm, and their appetites may also increase with their need for warmth. And you can supplement your goats’ diets with pelletized goat food and other nutritional supplements.

Also, be aware that many goat feeders allow the goat to waste as much as 50% of their food supply, meaning the goat is walking on the food instead of eating. That alone can double your goat food expenses!

three goat kids foraging and grazing for lunch
Want to minimize the cost of raising goats? Consider planting more forage crops! Forage is easy since goats eat anything – including shrubs, grass, garden leftovers, legumes, vines, and trees. We also read an excellent guide from Cornell Extension that lists quality forage as one of the best ways to minimize food prices when concentrate prices are too high. (If you’re unsure about which forage crops might work for goats – here’s a massive list of goat forage crops and their nutrient composition and protein content grading. The list includes favorite goat forage crops such as alfalfa, Bermuda grass, wheat, dead leaves, soybean, cottonseed, and more.)

Read More – Raising Sheep vs. Goats! Which Is Best for Profits and Fun?

What Is the Best Hay for Goats?

Alfalfa and Timothy hay are the two most popular foods for goats. Like many worldwide commodities today, they are both in short supply and cost more than they have in the past.

You can expect to pay up to $25 for a square bail of Timothy hay and between $30 – $100 for a round bail. Don’t sacrifice quality for a lower price!

Be sure that any hay you buy isn’t moldy or extra old. Your goat enjoys the tasty flavor of fresh hay feed without mold. (Mold can cause listeriosis.)

If you’re raising milking goats or have underweight or pregnant goats, you’ll want to give them Sweet Feed, which costs about $20 for a 50-pound bag. A lactating doe will consume about a pound of sweet feed for every 3 -5 pounds of milk she makes.

Read More! – Here’s How Often You Have to Milk a Goat! Once vs. Twice a Day!

What Can Goats Eat Besides Hay?

In addition to their base diets of alfalfa or another nutritious hay feed, nonforaging goats also need mineral supplements to keep them healthy and happy. A quality supplement doesn’t cost much and does wonders for avoiding goat deficiencies of vital minerals like selenium and copper.

You will likely find goat minerals to cost about $25 for an 8-pound bag and about $110 for a 50-pound bag. It depends on the brand and your local market conditions.

How long these supplements will last a goat depends on the nutritional content of the hay it eats, the quality of the plants and soil where it forages, and the possibility of inclement weather making foraging impossible.

Plus, goats can eat whatever humans eat, but human food should be considered a goatly treat, not a dietary staple. Your goat’s nutritious hay or alfalfa should account for the bulk of its diet, but it will surely love some tasty apples, carrots, or other fruits and veggies sometimes.

And always remember what goats like best for breakfast: Goatmeal!

Yummy!

What Kind of Living Conditions Do Your Goats Need?

Goats get raised in nearly every type of habitat. They are very adaptable creatures, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy being uncomfortable. So, make them a decent goat shelter!

According to Animal Diversity Web (ADW), you should ensure that your goats:

  1. Have a dry, clean, well-ventilated bedding area for safe and warm sleeping
  2. Receive daily exercise, sunshine or daylight, fresh air, and interaction
  3. Be protected from predation by secure goat fencing

Making sure your goats have what they need to eat, drink, stay healthy, and remain safe will protect your investment. You’ll also feel good knowing that your animals are treated humanely and given all they need to enjoy their lives the most.

Every good goat deserves a good goat house.

Read More – How to Pasteurize Goat Milk at Home – 3 Simple Ways!

How Much Are a Goat’s Veterinary Costs?

While there are various scenarios where taking a goat to the vet for major procedures is possible, it’s not typically needed.

However, goats do require some ongoing care. In most cases, goats need routine deworming. Herbs or inexpensive dewormers can sometimes help. Yearly testing might cost around $40 – $50 per goat, depending on your relationship with the vet.

Like a human, dog, or other animal, goats with healthy diets and regular exercise aren’t prone to falling sick very often. Common sense health practices go a long way toward ensuring your goat’s vitality.

pygmy goat standing near wooden fence on rural farm
We found an excellent guide about meat goat cost on the Alabama A&M & Auburn University Extension. Their insights reveal meat goat cost nuances that are easy to overlook – such as market conditions, local demand for meat goats, meat goat niche markets, et cetera. (They also share a 2022 Alabama Meat Goat Enterprise Budget worksheet that might be worth exploring – even if you’re not from Alabama – to get an idea of what to expect.)

A Few More Tips for Saving Cash When Raising Goats!

After incurring the initial cost of purchasing a goat and setting up a proper and safe goat house, the monthly price of goat raising is typically about $30 to $80.

It’s a money-saver to get yourself a quality pair of hoof trimmers and trim your goat’s hooves.

Plus, it’s thrifty and wise to pick up some $20 pest treatment to kill off any goat lice and mites and spend another $20 or so to buy some ophthalmic ointment to prevent or treat goat pink eye.

Aside from those primary financial concerns, goats are surprisingly self-managing and don’t typically require extensive, expensive veterinary care. Of course, you can get much more information about the cost of raising a goat at a local sheep and goat auction or farm.

The goat ranchers will have a better indication of the cost of raising goats locally, and your specific goat varieties may be more or less expensive to host than others.

The listing price of a goat depends on various factors that are constantly in flux, especially over the past 3 or 4 years. (The world food and dairy markets are wild – and nobody knows where they’re going.) True story. That’s why it’s crucial to plan your goat-raising operation before you start spending money.

You want to be sure that your goats don’t cost you more than they provide – even if you’re only buying a couple of goats as companion animals.

three wild goats foraging freely in nature
Calculating the cost of raising a goat is confusing since the rampant inflation and supply chain chaos over the last few years. But we found an excellent resource to make things easier! It’s two sample meat goat cost worksheets on the PennState Extension website. One is a sample meat goat budget of 25 does – the other goat meat budget worksheet covers 100 does. (They also published several goat budget forecasts for fencing, chutes, feeders, gates, and waterers. Even though goat cost and animal feed prices are massively variable these days – these budget sheets are an excellent starting point.)

Conclusion

Thanks for reading our guide about the cost of raising goats and goat budgeting!

In closing, I’ll ask you what you call a goat skimming across the top of a large body of water.

A Motor Goat!

HA – Gotcha again!

I know, I know. That was a baaaaaad joke.

Thanks again for reading.

If you have more questions about the cost of raising goats or tips on lowering the price?

Please share!

Have a good day.

More Goat Cost Resources, References, and Works Cited:

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2 Comments

  1. Here in Ohio there is not a tax on milk. There is no tax on food at all. They tax soda, but that is not really food.

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