Money and Small Farming

The first year with goats

  • Mini-Alpines from good dairy lines: $400-$900 depending on age, pregnancy status, milk stars, production, 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

One goat eats through 1 bale of hay each week. Bales are $16-$26. So budget for around $100/month per goat. 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 week 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. We've added another cost: the mineral buffet (Little Avalon Farm). I love it! If you split the 25 pound bags with other goat farmers it's only $286 for 5 pounds. It might last me a year...not sure yet. 

Buck service also costs around $150 per goat. When she's in heat (every 21 days), you take her to the pre-arranged buck unless you have your own buck. I've finagled my way out of this recently by buying and selling bucks and making deals. 

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.

Summer 2023 kid sales & herd shares cover goats and some of chickens/ducks

Cassiopea, Icie and Windy had kids this year. Windy had 3 boys who sold for $700 total (one buck and two pet wethers). Cassiopea had two doelings (one with fish teats sold as a pet only) and a buck. Sold for $950 total. Icie had two doelings. I retained one and sold the other for $300. I also sold Windy in milk for $700 since the other goats weren't letting her eat and she was fighting everyone. Icie also left our farm for $600, and I bought a Nigerian Dwarf for $500. So all in all goat sales gave me $2,750. Herd shares brought in about $2,000 from about May to November. Hay was hard to track this year but I think amounted to around $2500. I got hay from DeVilbiss at $16/bale, orchard grass from Alaska Farm Supply, and alfalfa from M Bar D Feed and Tack in Anchorage. Grain was another $2500 for a 2-year supply and chicken and duck grain was also around $2000 for the year. This is the organic Scratch and Peck stuff at around $60 for 40lbs. I also needed bedding, herbs, milking supplies, kidding supplies and medication. We also paid to have Graham Oakes slaughter the pigs and Bear Mountain meats process them. We also kept Cassiopea in milk all winter and kept one herd share all winter at $30/month. This almost pays for one bag of feed a month, so that's nice.