Goat Farming, Part 1: Selecting a Goat Breed and Preparing for Arrival

| 12/10/2013 1:15:00 PM


After a 2-day workshop in the fall of 2011, I became a “Tennessee Master Meat Goat Producer.” And although I had the paperwork to prove that fact, I still had never even seen a goat up close. Telling the difference between a goat and a sheep was an untested skill!

To further my education, I began attending the sheep and goat auction at our local sale barn a couple of times a month. The main thing I learned was that goats don’t go for much money at the local sale barn, but they do “go”--everyone of them was bought. Most were shipped for slaughter to the Northeast US. I also learned that If I were going to raise meat goats, I would have to consider some basics:

1. With limited resources, I needed to know how to raise them without putting more into them than I could sell them for.

2. What would I do with all those extra bucklings that were sure to come? Considering their rumored smell and disposition, did I even want to keep bucks?

3. I would have to come to terms with how they would be slaughtered. My goal was a quick, humane death after a good life of pasture grazing and brush browsing--and not after a long, crowded, death march across the country to a far-off slaughterhouse.

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