So, how much does a goat cost? It seems like a simple enough of a question. But the answer has a few more layers than a simple dollar amount.
You have to take a few things into consideration when it comes to how much does a goat cost. Do you really want to know how much does a baby goat cost? Or maybe, how much does a Nigerian Dwarf goat cost if I want to breed her? Or how much do pygmy goats cost if I want a neutered boy as a pet?
As you can probably tell, “How much does a goat cost?” is answerable but only after you have a little more information.
The most obvious differences in goats that play a factor in their price is their purpose and their breed. Do you want milking goats, goat’s fur for textiles, or do you want to raise meat goats?
For example, Nigerian Dwarf goat milk is very sweet and tastes more like cow’s milk but are not heavy milkers (a good milker will give you on average 2 quarts a day).
Whereas, a Nubian is much larger and will give you more milk but will have a more traditional “goaty” flavor.
Here are the 5 best breeds for dairy goats.
Once you know the purpose of your goats, it is much easier to decide what breed you want.
You can also check out this illustrated guide to goat breeds.
You can also find mixed breeds of goats. These do not qualify for registration but are often much less expensive than a purebred goat.
To register or not to register…
Registration is one of the biggest influences over the price of a goat, no matter the breed.
Some people don’t care about having registered goats. Some are completely comfortable buying a goat off of Craigslist or at auction.
These are almost always going to be unregistered goats. Goats without registration papers are definitely cheaper but also carry a lot more uncertainties. The only information you have is what the owner can tell you (and you have to take them at their word)
Goats with registration papers often have a record of their family history. This history let’s an owner track desirable traits and make accurate predictions about future generations. If you will be breeding goats, having them registered makes it much easier to plan breedings because of this.
For example, if you want a milking goat, you will likely want a goat with a family history of high milk production. Registered goats are able to go through milk testing and gain milk stars.
If a goat is not registered, it is much more difficult to determine if a new baby goat is going to produce the volume of milk you will need.
Not sure what a milk star is? Here’s a whole list of goat terms for you.
Registration also creates a personal history for that specific goat. Any honors it has received is added to its record. So, if a goat has placed well in shows or has a proven record of top notch kids, registration will reflect all of this information.
Personally, from a health perspective, we are more comfortable buying from an owner that has gone through the registration process. We feel if a goat herd owner has gone through the inconvenience of having their herd registered, it is more likely (but not always the case) that they also practice good herd disease management.
Because of all of the above mentioned reasons, registered goats are almost always going to cost more.
You can use the registration information to help make a breeding plan.
Bucks Vs Does Vs Wethers
Another factor in price is the gender of the goat. As a general rule, wethers are the cheapest option, does are the priciest, with bucks falling somewhere in the middle.
If you want a pet or a companion animal for another goat, you will likely want a wether, i.e. a fixed male. Since wethers have no functional purpose (like breeding or milking) they are usually pretty cheap. In fact, sometimes a breeder will offer a discount or even send a wether along with a purchased doe for free.
Bucks range in price depending on their pedigree. A proven buck can go for thousands of dollars but the laws of supply and demand can really make the price vary. Since most people only need a buck or two for a herd of dozens of girls it can sometimes be difficult to sell a good buck and thus will drive the price down.
Does are almost always the most expensive, especially if they are registered. Does are the goats that will give you milk and more cute baby goats. Because they have so much opportunity for added value to your herd, they are the most expensive.
Your spot on the map
Your location will also influence how much a goat costs. Some areas have a ton of goat farmers while others are spread out. This is another case of supply and demand. If you live in an area with a lot of herd options, you will likely pay less than in an area with a single super star filled herd.
Let’s get down to brass tacks
We’ve come this far and have not actually thrown out any numbers yet. Before giving out any averages, I wanted to make sure you knew all of the factors that can influence how much does a goat cost.
Now that you have that information, we can get to the point. Unregistered goat prices can be all over the place but are generally cheaper than a registered goat. The averages that we have seen for registered goats within and around our region (the Mid-Atlantic area of the US) are:
Wethers: $50 – $150
Bucks: $150 – $500
Does: $350 – $700
I will add the caveat that a stellar buck or doe could go into the thousands but these prices are around what you should generally expect.
Now you know the answer next time you ask, “How much does a goat cost?”