How much does it cost to feed goats?
It is important to know what the cost to feed goats is if you are thinking about getting goats. I mean, you can’t really add something to your life without knowing what the cost will be….
Whether you are just looking at goats for sale or you already have registered goats, you may look at these goat pedigrees and think – What the heck do all those letter, numbers and symbols mean? We sure did when we first started looking at goats. Reading goat pedigrees can definitely be a little like reading a foreign language. However, it is important to understand your goat’s pedigree. Afterall, you are paying more to get a goat with a pedigree, right? Then you should make sure that it is a pedigree that you want.
Being able to read a goat pedigree is an important part of making the right goat breeding decisions.
Ok, so you might see a pedigree that looks something like this:
SG GCH Waterloo Pond RHP Nutmeg 3*M VEEE90 (this is the dam of our buck The Winter Solider).
There are 4 parts to this title. Of note, this pegree above is ADGA only. AGS, another popular registry, has similar programs/designations with different ways to notate them.
Typically the first few letters will be designations or titles that the goat has achieved. In this example, the SG and the GCH are designations.
SG stands for Superior Genetics and indicates that she in in the top 15% of the breed for the PTI. (For more on Superior Genetics, check out the ADGA site here.)
The GCH represents that she is a grand champion. (This would reflect as ARMC or MCH in AGS and is called master or permanent champion). You could also see CH which represents a Champion.
After any top designations in your goats pedigree, you will see the goats full, registered name. The first part of the name will be the herd name (the farm that bred the goat). In our example above, it is Waterloo Pond. This will be followed by the goats name. In this example, Nutmeg. Of note, you may see initials, like the RHP in our example. Often times, these initials indicate a sire, dam or some other means of tracking the goats history. These are not required, but some people choose to use them. You may also see more elaborate names like one of our girls: Lil Mtn Karamel Moonlight. In these instances, most goats will also have a call or herd name that is shorter. In this case, it is Kara.
The next piece you will often see are *M or *D. These indicate that a goat has achieved an award for milk production (these can be either based on volume or milk components). M is used in ADGA while D is used in AGS. In bucks, you will see *B or *S and also +B and +S – they earn these based on daughters or dam’s performance. In our original example above you will see 3*M. The number before the * indicates that she is a third generation star earner.
The last piece you will see tagged onto a goat pedigree is their conformation scores or classification. In our example above, she has a Linear Appraisal Score (ADGA program) of VEEE90. The V’s and E’s represent different structural categories she is rated on. AGS also uses a similar program. If a goat has been judged in the AGS program, you will likely see just a letter and number such as E90.
Ok, whew! So, now that you know all the letters, numbers and symbols, you should be able to better understand a goat’s pedigree. And of course, if you are looking at the whole pedigree including the goats dam, sire, dam’s dam and so on, you will be able to see what traits trend in their ancestry. This will hopefully allow you to make purchase decisions to help you get to the goals you are trying to achieve with your goats.
Good quality hay is a main supply for your goats. Figuring out what to look for when choosing hay can be difficult at first. When we first looked for hay for our goats, we didn’t know anything about hay. It’s easy to assume that hay is just hay. But, in reality hay comes in many different qualities. It is especially important particularly if you are feeding goats or horses (which can be sensitive to certain things) to know how to choose a high quality hay.
1. Dry. You want to make sure that the hay you purchase has been kept dry. Hay that has not been kept protected from the elements may very well have gotten wet and rained on. Wet hay will mold. Mold can be very dangerous for goats and other animals.
2. Dust-free. Of course, there will be a small amount of dust possible in your hay. But, overall, when choosing hay you want the hay to be as dust-free as possible. Dust can actually be mold. Even if it is not mold, dust is still not good for the animals. Many animals can have allergy problems from dusty hay.
3. Extra Junk. Make sure that the hay you choose does not have excess debris, foreign plants or other stuff in it that shouldn’t be there. You want to be sure that no poisonous plants are in the hay, no damaging insects/bugs. And also, if there is a bunch of junk in the hay, your animals are not going to eat those parts and it will lead to a lot of waste.
4. Not brittle. When choosing hay you want to be sure that the hay will be easy to eat and digest. If the hay breaks easily, then your animals will have more difficulty eating it and it will not be as appealing to them. Also, if the hay is all stems and not many leaves they will not like it as much and will waste a lot. Therefore, you want to get hay that is green, soft and a mix of leaves and stems.
Once you have your high quality hay, you will also want to make sure you have a nice hay feeder to put it in for your animals so that they can easily eat it!
When you have goats, they will of course need hay in addition to other supplies. The thing about hay is that it can be difficult to find. Finding a high quality hay can be especially hard. Also, depending on your area, high quality hay can become very cost prohibitive. If you can’t find hay, your hay quality is lacking or the price of your hay is too high Chaffhaye might be a good answer for you!
The first year we had goats, we had them home for about two weeks and our baby wether started having scours (diahrrea)….on the weekend of course! He was such a tiny baby, we knew he would need help fast, but we didnt know what to do — it was our FIRST sick goat. And we didn’t have ANY goat medical supplies on hand.
We called our vet (who thankfully called us right back). She gave us things we could do to help him right away, but we didn’t have ANY of the items on hand.