Money and Small Farming
The first year with goats
- Mini-Alpines from good dairy lines: $400-$700 depending on age, pregnancy status, etc.
- Barn or shelter that includes space for hay storage: $3000-$8000
- Fencing: $1/foot for 100 feet of welded wire fencing and $8 T-posts every 8 feet. So a 300 foot enclosure would be about $400 plus hours of labor
- Hay: $22/bale. 1 bale a week per goat, so 3 goats = 150 square bales for $3300 - or 10, 700lb round bales at $180/each (plus that much to deliver) would be $2000+
- 1 tube of Replamin: $35
- 1 bag of kelp: $99 at Alaska Farm Supply
- 1 bag of loose minerals: $16
- 1 pair of hoof trimmers: $30
Monthly and yearly cost for goats
$60/month per goat or $500-$700 a year per goat are the averages that people have been saying. A young goat needs grain until 1 year old. A lactating goat needs grain. A pregnant doe needs grain in the last two months only. Other goats do not need grain. One lactating goat can eat through 1 bag of grain every two weeks on average (the minis eat less - about 1.5 weeks/bag). 1 bag of grain = $33 on average. So each year your costs will be different depending on who is pregnant, lactating, growing, waiting to be bred, etc.
Buck service also costs around $150 per goat. When she's in heat (every 21 days), you take her to the pre-arranged buck.
Packa Sweets Herd Shares and Kid Sales
Summer 2021 Herd shares almost cover grain, kids covered hay
Two goats in milk: $27/bag grain = $100 a month, giving me 10 gallons a week. I had 3-4 herd shares that covered most of the cost. I had 7 baby goats. I sold three wethers for $150 each, and 3 doelings. Retained one doeling. Brought in $1300. I bought 65 bales of hay at $14/bale (total $910), and then another 14 bales later in the winter at $17/bale. Total hay was $1148. Other expenses included kelp, minerals, alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay.
Summer 2022 Herd shares cover grain...kinda
I have 3 goats in milk (average $33/bag = about $200 in grain each month). They have given me 14 gallons a week on average since they kidded in March. Right now I have 5-6 herd shares, bringing in $200-ish a month. But I started with only 2 shares in May, and then just got two more in September. So it's pretty random how much is coming in each month. People get more at one time, less at another, etc. So it's really not that clean cut, but it helps with the grain cost quite a bit.
Summer 2022 Kid sales almost cover hay
My 3 amazing goats had 9 babies this year. Six doelings and three bucklings. One buckling was a cryptorchid (retained testicle) so he could not be sold as a buck. The other two bucklings were sold as bucks. I sold 5 doelings and retained 1. Total kid sales: $2800. Hay this year was $20/bale for first cut. I bought 48 ($960). Then second cut was $22/bale. Another $990. Then I bought 2 round bales at $180/each plus delivery, so $570. Also got some orchard grass at $26/bale ($130), and some other hay from my mom (total $136). So all the hay I have for the winter cost around $2600. I had to buy medical supplies and ground flax and some other fattening supplies for my does this year that easily ate up the rest of the kid sale cash. I think I'll have to buy about 30 more bales of hay too.
Above: Wings, breasts, drumsticks and thighs from 28 birds. We kept carcasses for bone broth and livers/hearts/tails/necks/feet for dogs (I can't bring myself to cook with the feet yet). We cleaned and froze gizzards for a friend. Just a half bucket of guts and heads left over!
Least expensive/most healthy way to do meat birds that worked for us
- Chicken tractor: $200 parts (we used this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoXEs5X_CMQ)
- Buckets and PVC for feed: $20
- Chickens: 25 Freedom Rangers from Polaris Poultry cost around $180
- Brooder: Scraps and parts to make walls, heat lamp ($15)
- 3-4 bags Scratch and Peck Starter: $55/each
- 11-15 bags layer feed from Tiana (Delta): $11-12/each
- Free range for last 6-ish weeks
- Rent slaughter equipment: $175-$200 (we bought a plucker this year!)
- 13 weeks to butcher, 1 all-day butchering
- 4.35lb bird average