How Much Does a Goat Cost?
Rounding up the costs of buying, caring for, and feeding goats.
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Before you Google “miniature baby goats for sale near me,” here’s a little quick research to determine whether you should buy a goat. How much does a goat cost, from the initial goat purchase and through its lifespan?
Why Keep Goats?
Why do you want a goat? A recent trend of Pygmy goats as pets caused a surge in prices, but people don’t always care whether the goat is registered.
If you just want a Pygmy goat pet, you may find a $20 buckling that doesn’t fit within someone’s breeding plan. Some goat dairies give away Alpine or Nubian goat bucklings for free.
Goat type doesn’t matter for weed-eating goats. Whether Boer goat or myotonic, all eat weeds if trained to from the start. Wethers make good brush goats for hire because they’re not aggressive, won’t go into labor or injure udders while on the job, and are often the cheap or free castoffs from other projects.
How Much Does a Goat Cost?
How much do baby goats cost? That depends on the goat breed, location, whether or not it’s registered, and if the market is currently saturated with that type of goat.
Miniature goats: How much does a Pygmy goat cost? Though one of the smallest goat breeds, prices for Nigerian Dwarf goats vs Pygmy goats can be as high as full-sized dairy goats. Expect to pay up to $500 for a registered, purebred miniature goat such as myotonic, Nigerian Dwarf, or Pygmy goat.
Dairy goats: If you care about breeding or showing the best goats for milk, professional goat breeders offer the best quality, but at a higher price. How much are goats that are show-quality? Registered Nubian goats, from champion bloodlines, can cost $250 as week-old kids and to $500-1000 for a breeding-age doe. Champion tested breeding bucks can top $1,000. The benefits of buying registered goats: breeders focus on animals that give the most milk from the least amount of feed while still maintaining health.
Before Googling “Nubian goats for sale near me,” decide whether you intend to breed and show, or if you just want tasty milk. An unregistered Nubian goat may be under $100 for a doeling and $200-300 for a doe in milk.
Meat goats: In the Boer and Savanna goat world, extra bucklings don’t mean free goats. Males grow larger and bring a better price at the market. You may find a rejected kid goat that the breeder doesn’t have time to feed, but expect to pay more than $100 for most purebred meat goat kids. But because of Savanna and Boer goat size, quick growth, and year-round heat cycles, meat goat farming can be a good investment. Expect to pay $600 for a quality, registered Boer goat doe and $1200 for an untested buckling from good breeding lines.
Goats with jobs to do: While pack goats can be any breed, the larger Alpine breeds work best, and serious goat packers prefer animals that have been vetted by other goat packers for temperament and stamina. A free dairy cast-off may not be the best option, so expect to pay $200-500 for a good pack goat prospect.
Conservation and special projects: Have you heard about a heritage goat breed that needs saving and you want to help? How much are goats from these rare breeds? Though many exotic breeds like Pakistani Beetal goats aren’t available stateside, you can contact Arapawa goat or San Clemente Island goat breeders through the Livestock Conservancy website or goat association pages. Depending on availability and whether each year produced more bucklings than doelings, a San Clemente doeling is usually $400 and a buckling $300. You may find wethers, or does too old to breed, for even less.
Goat registration adds additional costs, but it’s a good return on your investment if you plan on breeding goats and offering baby goats for sale. Registries vary and some only represent certain breeds, such as the American Boer Goat Association.
Deals to avoid: If the goat price seems too good to be true (and even if it doesn’t), ask the seller about goat testing results. Diseases like CL, CAE, and Johne’s in goats can mean a painful demise for your animal or, at least, the spread of zoonotic disease to you or your other animals. If the seller claims they don’t know how to test for CAE in goats, recommend a visit to a veterinarian. Goat testing costs may range from $150, if done by a veterinarian, to as low as $7 per test ($7 for Johne’s, $7 for CAE, and another $7 for CL in goats) if you draw the blood yourself and mail it overnight to a lab. Also, though auctions and sale barns offer goats at rock-bottom prices, they are notorious places where unscrupulous owners offload their disease-infected goats when they don’t have the heart to put them down.
How Much Does a Goat Cost per Year?
How much do goats cost to feed? That can depend on several things. How much do goats eat based on breed, pregnancy and breeding season, weather, etc? And goat lifespan.
How much hay does a goat eat? Under normal circumstances, a goat consumes 2% of its body weight in hay, per day. If pregnant, lactating, or working, that increases to 4%. That means a 100lb bale of hay should last 45 days for a 110lb goat or 25 days for a pregnant goat. During cold weather, goats need even more hay to keep warm, as the rumination of stemmy material creates hit. Also, in winter, pasture and forage may be inaccessible, so hay or pelletized goat food are the only options.
Some people offer hay according to a goat feeding schedule while others offer free-choice so goats can take what they need when they need it. Carefully choosing the right goat feeders saves money, because goats may waste half of their feed just pulling it down and stepping on it. That doubles your goat food bill.
What is the best hay for goats? Often, it depends on what is available. Timothy hay for goats is considered best, among many breeders, while they limit feeding goats alfalfa to sick or pregnant goats. Some goat keepers feed only alfalfa.
Prices per bale vary from $5 to $20 (up to $35 in Hawaii), depending on location, season, and if anything such as flooding happened to compromise a crop. But never skimp on price or buy old, moldy hay. How to prevent listeriosis in goats means never feeding them mold.
Sweet feed for goats provides extra calories to underweight, pregnant, or lactating does. It should never be fed to wethers. Googling “what to feed my wether goat” should produce two answers: hay and forage. Sweet feed prices range around $13-$17 for a 50lb bag, and a full-sized lactating doe eats around one pound for every three to five pounds of milk she produces.
What do you feed goats, other than hay? Can goats eat apples? Can goats eat carrots and bananas? In general, what people can eat equals what goats can eat. Anything other than hay and forage should be considered a goat treat so it doesn’t upset the balance of goat minerals including phosphorus, which can cause urinary calculi in wethers.
Also familiarize yourself with what not to feed goats, including poisonous plants for goats. Treating goat bloat and toxicity can cost hundreds of dollars, whether or not the goat survives. Allowing goats to forage in pasture and woodland areas provides great nutrition, as long as they don’t eat anything toxic.
In addition to adequate feed, provide goat minerals at all times. This can prevent numerous issues such as copper deficiency and selenium deficiency in goats. Goat mineral prices vary from $20 for an 8lb bag to over $100 for 50lbs, all depending on the brand. The amount consumed per goat depends on the quality of other hay and feed, soil quality, and waste due to weather or the goats soiling the minerals.
How long do goats live? This factors into your overall cost of hay for goats. How long does a Pygmy goat live vs. how long a full-sized Toggenburg goat will live? Wethers that receive adequate care and diet can outlive bucks and does, which may succumb to stresses of breeding and kidding.
- Alpine goats (including Toggenburg and Oberhasli goats): 8-12 years.
- Angora goats: over 10 years with good care.
- Boer goats: 8-12 years for bucks and 12-20 years for does.
- Kiko goats: 8-12 years.
- LaMancha goats: 7-10 years.
- Miniature goats including myotonic (fainting) goats, Nigerian Dwarf, and Pygmy goats: 12-15 years.
- Nubian goats: 15-18 years.
How much does a goat cost to feed? If a 150lb Nubian goat is never pregnant, lives in a mild climate, eats only hay (no sweet feed), and lives a long, healthy life, it will consume 216 bales of hay within 18 years. That is if the goat doesn’t waste half of its hay, in which case it will eat 432 (average $4,320 for $10 bales).
How Much are Goats’ Veterinary Costs?
Stock up that goat medicine cabinet, learn how to conduct your own goat testing, and read up on goat bloat symptoms and where to buy thiamine for goats. Anything you can do yourself saves money at the veterinarian office. And, if you own goats long enough, you will run into problems.
Stay up to date and write down the CDT dosage for goats on a goat vaccination schedule chart. Considered standard for all kids, and yearly for goats through adulthood, CDT shots for goats prevent clostridial diseases and cost around $11 for a bottle with 25 doses. Other goat vaccines include a goat pneumonia vaccine (Pasturella multocida), which can cost about $7 for 10 doses.
If you intend to breed goats, be prepared for the costs of a cesarean section procedure and other goat labor problems. Recognizing the signs of goat labor can help you determine whether you need to see a veterinarian, which can top $100 for an emergency in-office visit, $500 or more for an emergency cesarean, and up to $800 for an after-hours farm visit.
If you intend to milk your dairy does, learn how to treat mastitis in goats. Mastitis is more common in does that are milked because of additional dirty surfaces that touch teats and added stress on the udder. Keep goat mastitis treatment: penicillin or other antibiotics, intramammary infusions, and some chlorhexidine spray to disinfect any open orifices on the teats. Cephaperin sodium infusions cost $5 apiece, or $42 for a pack of 12, and must be given every 12 hours.
Learn sick baby goat symptoms such as weak limbs which mean white muscle disease from selenium deficiency in goats. Find a source of what to feed an orphaned baby goat, which means colostrum replacer and milk replacer if you don’t have another doe in milk. Goat colostrum replacer costs around $22 for up to nine feedings, necessary for the first 18 hours of life, and after that goat milk replacer is around $25 for eight pounds (depending on the brand), which provides 32-128 feedings, depending on goat age and breed/size.
Other kid costs could include early disbudding, which can be done by a veterinarian or at home with a $75 dehorning iron and some training.
If you don’t intend to keep bucklings for breeding, goat castration mellows wether goat behavior and makes them unable to impregnate your does. How much does it cost to neuter a goat? Castrating older goats is a veterinarian procedure, costing $80 or more, and not all veterinarians do it. Learning how to neuter a goat using goat castration bands lowers the cost to $20 for the band castration tool, less than $10 for a bag of 25 elastic rings, and $0.50 each for a dose of CDT vaccine at banding time (to prevent tetanus in goats) and another shot a month later.
Though goat bloat is deadly, prevention involves knowing the goat digestive system and recognizing goat bloat symptoms. For goat bloat treatment, many owners keep baking soda for goats, which can also be administered for floppy kid syndrome. Baking soda costs less than $1 per box and prevention costs less.
While listeriosis in goats is caused by moldy hay and other vectors of listeria bacteria, goat polio symptoms (from thiamine deficiency) can look identical to listeria symptoms. Goat polio treatment also includes listeriosis treatment for this reason. Keeping the right goat antibiotics and high-level vitamin B complex means you’re ready if this emergency happens. Weigh your goats and record the right dosage, such as how much penicillin to give a goat and the vitamin B complex injection dosage for goats. But keep in mind that many of these goat medications are off-label, which means they will not list goat dosage information. For some medications, you must contact a veterinarian to obtain a dosage. For others, dose according to animal weight. If you have dosage questions regarding oxytetracyline for goats, or tylan for goats, call your veterinarian. The same antibiotics for goat pneumonia or listeriosis can also help an infection or injury.
Currently, purchasing water-soluble or feed-based goat antibiotics involves contacting a veterinarian for a prescription. Injectible antibiotics, currently available over the counter in most states, cost between $10 for 100mL of penicillin to $75 for 500mL of liquamycin (LA-200) for goats or other large livestock.
Other routine health care costs include goat hoof trimming, which you can do yourself with a $25 pair of trimmers and a few instructional videos, $10-20 pesticides to prevent or treat mites and goat lice, $20 ophthalmic ointment for goat pink eye, and $10-20 dewormers. Deworming medications usually aren’t expensive, but frequency of use can depend on other factors such as location and pasture management.
When considering caring for goats and researching how much goats cost, consider all the factors from initial purchase to feed costs and veterinarian treatments. For most goat owners, they feel all the costs are worth it.
How much does a goat cost in your area?
*Prices based on research conducted late 2019, using average ranges that represent multiple brands and breeds.