Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, May 16, 2014

What to Know Before You Get a Goat

We are looking down the barrel of Goat-a-palooza 2014 sometime in the next 10 days. Due to poor planning and lack of foresight all four of our full sized goats (Debbie, Dahli, Daisy, and Darla) will be due on about the same day. Soon.

Two of four pregnant girls. Zoikes!

It's finally sinking in that one day I will have 4 big goats... and the next day I'll have at the least 8 goats. Or 12. Or 16. Or worse.

So I'll need to sharpen up on my marketing skills to sell all those moneymakers... I mean, doelings. There is a strong possibility that we will keep the buckings for the first annual Goat BBQ this fall. But we'll see how that goes.

Selling animals on Craigslist is easy enough. But sometimes you want to be a little more careful. I've had two livestock sales that I deeply regretted and one that still makes me mad. So to make it easier on buyers and sellers here are a few things that newbie and wannabe goat owners should know:

1. Know what you are getting into. Do your research first. If your first question to me is, "What should I feed the goat?" I'll thank you for your time and no, I'm not selling this little goatie to you. There are some great resources online and  you should buy and read this book. The fact is, I don't know if I would have sold me Nibs and her sister... I'm not sure I was entirely ready but at least we knew were to look for answer and we knew who to talk to if we had questions.

2. I am not arranging any financial transactions with your kid. I don't care if your 12 year old is mature - you as the adult need to contact me and be responsible for any livestock I sell to you. YOU need to manage the bottle feeding of a 3 day old goat, not your child.

3. Your fencing isn't good enough. Nope, I don't even need to see it. But I assure you that it needs some work. Ask anyone who owns goats that this will be your toughest problem.

4. The initial cost to buy this goatie is not going to be your biggest expense. Due to some changes in Ohio's livestock care laws I am not longer taking responsibility for shots or any other young goat vet care. You will need to find a vet, get your new goat vaccinated, decide immediately if you want to get your newly acquired goat disbudded or dehorned, and when or if appropriate get your buckling neutered.

5. You need more than one goat. I don't care if you are going to carry this little goatie around in your purse and she's going to be your BFF. Goats are herd creatures and it will go badly if you only have just one. If you have just one, that little goatie will become a problem... a loud, destructive problem... and you will just dump it at the shelter - or worse.

6. There is no way on this green Earth I am selling you a doeling if you are a single man, living in city, with zero farm or livestock experience . No way. Now how. Nope. Creeper.

7. No take backs. This isn't Nordstroms and you aren't buying a Mercedes. There is no return policy so you'd better be sure about your purchase. I had someone who wanted me to take back some ducks because "they weren't emotionally bonded to them." No. Just... no. Aside from those folks having unreasonable expectations - and being weirdos - there are real bio-security issues with having livestock returned to your property. So... no. I'm not taking back your $5 duck because he won't snuggle you.

8. If you don't show up to the arranged meeting place you will not get a second chance. Sure I'll sit there and wait for you. As long as you keep me updated on your progress I'll wait for a good long time. But if you just don't show up then I"ll assume that you aren't responsible enough for livestock.

Mostly I've had good experiences with folks I've met thru livestock sales. But the bad ones... well. That regret stays with you for a while. There are never any guarantees so once that critter leaves your hands all you can really do is try to screen out the weirdos.... and hope it goes well for your livestock once they leave your possession.

As for now, I need to do a whole lot of shoveling out and cleaning up as we get ready for Goat Avalanche 2014. It's going to be a wild ride!  Who wants to buy a goatie?  No weirdos, no creepers, and no take backs.

Happy Friday everyone!

Editor's note:  Yikes! I snuck in an affiliate link to my Amazon store. But really this is a great book and if you have goats you should get it. Remember, anything you buy from Amazon by clicking on these links gets me a tiny percentage of the sale. If you like this blog, or if I've helped you at all in your farming efforts, just make a purchase from Amazon from one of the links, my store, or the black Amazon search box on the right side of this page. You can buy anything - hopefully something you need anyway. 


Vera said...

Well said, OFG, well said. I don't like selling any of our livestock because of the way in which they have been cared for after the sale on several occasions.
But....if a goat was shippable (all wrapped up in a brown paper carton of course) then I would deffo have a couple of your female youngsters. Since that it is not do-able, I shall just have to find a couple of does similar to yours, having learnt the lesson that when buying adult goats for milking then that adult goat really does need to have a large enough udder to produce milk from! Or buy a goatling from a mum with a good udder!
Hope all goes well the imminent births.

Lady K said...

Just wanted to say "Hello" and thank you for your "Blog". So much wonderful info, and not the usual, PC, fuzzy stuff.
Good luck with the impending kidding!

Anton said...

Funny you should post about this topic now as I just got an email from a person I sold one of my favorite rams to--and he's doing great, phew!

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