There’s nothing more adorable than a baby goat – except for perhaps baby goats, plural. If you are thinking about getting a baby goat or two, you are probably wondering how much does a baby goat cost?
Baby goats can range from $75 to upwards of $800 depending on their gender, breed, and other factors. That may seem like a wide range, but there’s a reason for it, we promise. We’ll explain how different factors affect the price of goats. Also, there are more costs associated with raising goats than just the initial purchase price.
But don’t worry. We’ll break down everything you need to know so you can decide if it a goat will fit into your farm budget. We even share some low cost options to help make caring for your goat more affordable.
Keep reading to learn more.
How Much Does it Cost To Get Your Goat?
As we mentioned, goat prices range based on several factors. You may be able to find a young buckling or wether for as little as $50 at a sale barn. While on the other hand, a breed-certified dairy goat doeling could cost more than $800.
So before you buy your goats, you should decide if you plan to keep goats for milk, meat, or just as a pet. These factors will impact the sex and breed of goats you choose.
Let’s look at an example. Wethers, castrated male goats, are going to be the most affordable goats out there. They are also some of the best goats for clearing brush. However, wethers won’t do you a lot of good if you are looking to milk your goats. That’s why I suggest always deciding why you want your goats before you purchase.
Now you may have noticed I keep mentioning goats, plural, rather than goat singular. That’s because goats are herd animals. You never want to keep just one goat because it will get sad and lonely. You should always have a minimum of two goats in your herd. This is an essential factor to keep in mind when figuring out your goat budget.
The initial purchase of the goats will likely be the largest expense in keeping goats.
If you buy two or three goats, the additional costs of shelter, fencing, and supplies will be shared between the goats and won’t increase dramatically with the addition of more goats to your herd. Though if you get a large herd, they will need more space which could increase the cost of fencing and your shelter.
So let’s talk about some of the costs associated with goats.
The cost of the shelter
While wild goats obviously don’t have houses, you probably will want to build a shelter for your goats. Like goats, the cost of your shelter can range wildly. Some people out there build extensive shelters and playgrounds for their goats. That’s not necessary. However, at a minimum, it should have a roof and some walls to keep out the weather.
If you search out pallets and scrounge up other recycled materials, it’s entirely possible to build your goat shelter for next to nothing. On the other hand, it is possible to invest a lot of money in your goat shelter if you want solid walls with separate spaces for kidding, milking, and breeding.
You can get a good idea of how much your goat shelter will cost by checking out what others have done. There are many good examples of DIY, cheap, and easy goat shelters online. When looking at costs, keep in mind when the articles were written. Building material costs are substantially more now than they were a few years ago.
The cost of the fence
While you can get by with a fairly minimal shelter for your goats, you don’t want to stint on fencing. You’ll be amazed by how high a goat can jump! Combine their jumping ability with goats’ innate curiosity about everything, and you get master escape artists.
Like everything else, it’s hard for us to quantify the amount of money you will spend on fencing. First, it will depend on the size of the area you need to fence. According to the folks at UMass Amherst, goats don’t necessarily need outdoor space, but personally, I think all animals benefit from exposure to the outdoors (1).
“An outdoor lot is not an absolute requirement but it is beneficial to have a separate space for exercise, which should provide a minimum of 25-sq. ft. per animal.”
But size isn’t the only factor that determines the cost of your fence. The material you use to build your fence will also affect the final price. The most effective fencing, of course, will always be the most expensive option. But beware of fencing options that seem too cheap. Chances are they won’t hold in those tricky goats.
The cost of the feed
You may be thinking, goats eat everything – why do I need to worry about buying feed? First, let’s dispel the myth that goats eat everything. Goats are herbivores, and they like to browse on many different plants. But in the end, goats have fairly specific dietary needs, especially if they are pregnant or lactating.
Now, if your goats are out eating your brush and have access to good forage, chances are your feed bills will be pretty small most of the year. But in the majority of places out there, you will find part of the year you will need to supplement their feed. You want to make sure you get the best hay for your goats when they don’t have access to forage.
But beyond forage and hay, goats have other specific nutritional needs. Pregnant and lactating does should have access to grain to meet their higher protein needs. Your goats should also have free access to loose minerals and clean water.
Owning any animal means the purchase of certain supplies. Your goats will need feeders and water troughs, as well as specialized tools for grooming and caring for their hooves. Many of these supplies can be purchased little by little so that they don’t hit your wallet all at once. In the beginning, you might want to plan on budgeting $25-$50 a month to go towards purchasing your goat supplies.
You will also need to account for medical treatment. Goats, like other animals, require vaccines and regular care. These are all expenses you will want to account for when figuring out the total costs of your goats.
Is it Worth it?
So, in the end, is the cost worth it? I can’t answer that for you. I can tell you for me absolutely the costs associated with my herd are worth every penny I pay. There isn’t a price that can be put on the joy animals bring into our life.
But beyond that, my goats are productive members of my farm. They provide me with milk, which I then use to make cheese. When I have a surplus, I can make yogurt, or ice cream, or add it to my homemade soap. Excess males can be sold or raised for meat. So while goats may come with expenses, they can also be a source of revenue.
Beyond that, goats can live to be 15 years old or older. If you purchase a baby goat, you can expect that goat to be your companion for a long time. So while it may initially seem like a significant investment, when you balance that against the lifespan of your goats, it may not seem so expensive anymore.
- Housing and Working Facilities for Goats. Retrieved From: https://ag.umass.edu/crops-dairy-livestock-equine/fact-sheets/housing-working-facilites-for-goats
Rachael and her husband arrived on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. There they founded El Jardin de la Vida, a tropical micro food forest, focusing on Sustainable Living Education. She teaches others to build with natural materials, live off-grid, and appreciate slow food.