There are many reasons why people want to raise goats. After all, these animals do well in livestock and as pets.
In most cases, homesteaders love to raise goats for meat. They are meaty and fast-growing animals that you can easily manage.
Goats are zero-waste animals. You can utilize them for their milk, meat, skin, and other parts.
Raising goats for meat is one of the primary purposes of having them first. The demand for goat meat has increased by 150% since 2002 and has continued rising.
At this rate, raising meat goats is profitable, but it can also be a good source of meat for you and your family.
Raising Meat Goats – Knowing the Basics
Raising meat goats for beginners can be challenging, but it consists of tasks that you can quickly master over time.
For starters, you should know the standard terms like “doe” for the female goat and “buck” or “billy” for the male goat. The meat they produce is popularly known as chevon.
Just like any livestock, there are many things to consider, such as the breed type, housing, feeds, and marketing of goats for meat. By using this guide, you will be able to determine the right goat meat breed, ensure quality chevon, and maximize profits.
What to Look For in a Meat Goat
Raising goats for meat may require extra attention since you primarily grow them for their lean flesh. Weight and size are critical factors when looking for meat goats.
The breed type would also affect the amount of meat a goat can provide. Size matters, but there are pygmy goats that have fed tasty, lean meat despite their miniature size.
Pure-Bred Vs. Percentage Meat Goats
When raising pure-bred meat goats, you can always enter them in shows before selling them for their meat. Winning these contests allows you to increase the value of your buck.
“Percentage” meat goats refer to those mixed with certain breeds. You may not sell them at a very high price, but these meat goats can still produce quality goat meat.
Farmers can acquire percentage meat goats at a reasonable price, which is ideal when raising meat goats for beginners.
If you want to grow your goat farm, it’s best to get a pure-bred buck and partner it with at least 20 does that can be mixed-bred. They will produce healthy kids, which you can sell for their meat.
Choosing Available Breeds in Your Area
See what goat breeds are easily acquired in your area. You wouldn’t have to spend extra on any import costs.
Cost and Maintenance
Raising meat goats doesn’t require much maintenance. You may need to clean up daily, but goats can thrive in shack-like shelters and pasture land.
As for the cost, pure-bred goats cost more, but they also reap a more significant profit. It’s best to set a budget first, especially for those raising meat goats for beginners.
Size and Weight
In general, young goats are ready to butcher as early as three to five months of age, weighing from 25 to 50 pounds.
Other farmers prefer to butcher their goats for meat beyond one year. By this time, they would weigh more and sell higher.
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The Best Goat Meat Breeds To Choose
When it comes to knowing how to raise goats for meat, the breed type ought to be the first to consider on your list. There are many goat meat breeds in the market, but here are the common ones that yield good-tasting, quality meat:
This is one of the best goats for meat because of its fast maturity rate. The Boer goat breed is known for its bulky structure and lean beef.
Boar goats also have high fertility rates, which is quite an advantage to those mainly raising goats for meat. Additionally, the buck Boer goat can weigh up to 340 pounds.
These are also known as the Tennessee goats. Despite their genetic mutation condition that causes stiffness, this goat breed is a decent source of meat.
When raising meat goats for beginners, you can opt for the fainting goats because of their docile and adaptable temperament. This goat breed can weigh up to 200 pounds on average.
Black Bengal Goat
This goat breed is notably smaller than the average. However, they are known to have a reasonable fertility rate.
The black Bengal goat is one of the best goats for meat for its size. The adult buck weighs up to 30 kg, whereas you can get about 11 kilograms of meat.
This is one of the best goat breeds for homesteading. The Spanish goats are an excellent source of both milk and meat.
They can quickly gain weight since they are brush goats and enjoys nibbling all the time. A mature Spanish goat can grow from 50 to 200 pounds.
The term “Kiko” is a Maori word that means meat or flesh. The name speaks for itself since the Kiko goat is a hardy meat goat breed.
There is no need to worry about how to raise goats for meat with a Kiko goat since they can mature fast and healthily without much aid or handling.
They are also resistant to parasites which is advantageous if you have many goats in your herd. The Kiko goat weighs about 200 pounds on average.
They are miniature goats ideal for being pets or entered in shows. Pygmy goats are heavily muscled, producing lean meat despite their small size.
A mature buck goat can grow up to 70 pounds. Farmers get to price up their value after entering and winning their Pygmy meat goats in shows.
These are not pure-bred goats, but they produce equally quality meat for the market. After all, most of these goats are specifically bred for this purpose:
- Moneymaker Goats
- Texmaster Goats
- Savanna Goats
- Rangeland Goats
Meat Goats: What To Feed
Raising meat goats requires more nutrients, especially if you want to produce lean meat in young goats. Fortunately, goats can easily thrive in the pasture.
Hay is the ideal nutrient-rich feed for your goats. You can supplement them with alfalfa, clover, and other natural goat feeds.
Give your goats more overgrown grass and shrubs to nibble on. Meat goats can quickly put in weight when left on healthy pasture land.
Raising Meat Goats: Housing and Fencing
Another matter to consider to raise goats for meat is their housing and fencing. Goats don’t require any fancy shelter.
Some farmers often provide their meat goats with a three-sided structure as long as they have enough shade over their heads. Apart from that, goats love to roam around, explore, and even climb over various things.
Goats will require 20 square feet of inside space and about 200 square feet of outdoor pasture. Other goat owners give does separate pens to prepare them for goat kidding.
One important thing you need to consider when raising goats for meat is their fence. Install tall, sturdy walls to prevent your goats from damaging or jumping over.
ALSO READ: All About Goat Fencing
How to Make Profit Out of Meat Goats
There are different management and marketing strategies when raising goats for meat. For instance, you can “show” your meat goats to the market before selling them.
Some farmers build a herd of their own and start selling the kids. Others put their best goats for meat at auctions and sell them to new buyers.
Here are several ways to start raising goats for meat and profit.
Have a “Foundation Herd”
This set-up includes acquiring a few buck meat goats and does to produce more kids. If you’re doing this, it’s best to choose the best goats for meat to breed.
This way, you will have kids that can grow and later sell as a quality meat goats to the market. Most times, the young goats are sold a few months after birth.
Feed and Sell Kids
Unlike the foundation herd, you would purchase newborn kids. You will feed them until they have reached the ideal weight and sell them out.
Sell Show Goats
Goats for meat are usually entered in shows due to their bulky, stout structure. Other meat goats are heavily muscled animals that can be pretty attractive in shows.
You don’t only increase the price of the winning goat, but you can also boost the value of your entire herd.
Multiple Selling Channels
If you raise meat goats, you can sell them in more ways than one. Some meat goat farmers save time by selling to a trader or middleman.
In this case, they have to sell their meat goat for a low price. Other farmers sell directly to a meat processing company, restaurant, or chevon supplier.
When you’re raising meat goats that have won several shows, you can join them in auctions. Either way, choose any selling opportunities that work best for you.
Join a “Herdshare” Program
In a herdshare program, a group of people will share ownership of a herd where each is entitled to get goat meat from it. Rules in a herdshare program may differ in every area.
Butcher and Sell Goat Meat Directly
Some farmers raising meat goats would prefer to butcher the animals themselves and sell whichever parts they want.
Butchering meat goats may take some skills, and there are regulations and licensing protocols to comply with. If you are slaughtering goats for your consumption, this exempts you from such laws.
Common Question Asked About How To Raise Goats for Meat
When raising meat goats for beginners, it’s normal to have many questions popping into your mind. You want to do this right and reap the benefits of raising meat goats in the first place.
So, here are frequently asked questions about how to raise goats for meat and their answers. Hopefully, this list can clear some of the things you’re confused about.
What’s the Best Meat Goat to Raise?
The buck or male goat usually produces chevon. While there are plenty of breeds to choose from, you can have the best goats for meat and taste with any of the following:
- Black Bengal Goat
- Boer Goat
- Spanish Goats
- “Fainting” Goat
These goat breeds have quality meat. Farmers breed the best goats for meat not only for their tasty chevon but also for their fast growth.
What is the Ideal Age of Goats for Meat
Most farmers raise kids or baby goats until they are 3 to 5 months old, which is the ideal slaughter age.
By then, each meat goat would weigh between 25 to 50 pounds. In some cases, farmers would harvest the meat when the meat goat is over a year old.
The older meat goats are heavier and fatter. Still, farmers would like to maximize their profit out of meat goats in a short time.
How Many Meat Goats To Start With
The rule of thumb when it comes to raising goats is that you need to buy at least two of them.
Goats are social animals. They can get too lonely when you decide to raise a male goat alone.
Most farmers would prefer raising mainly bucks or male goats for meat. However, you can always have one male and one female goat to produce a good source of meat and more kids for your farm.
Raising Meat Goats – Final Thoughts
When done suitable, raising meat goats can be very profitable. Fortunately, meat goats are manageable to raise, grow, and sell.
When raising meat goats for beginners, you need to check the essential factors like breed type, feed, housing, and shelter. As you move further in your goat farming journey, you might need to establish a good network.
Selling even the best goats for meat requires multiple strategies. You can either market them to intermediaries or directly to factories.
Setting up your meat goats for shows and auction is also an excellent way to increase their value and profit. Whatever is your marketing method, feel free to choose what works best for you.
Let this article become your guide in raising goats for meat. However, if you are still doubting a few things, you can always ask an expert in your area to mentor you on how to raise goats for meat more directly.
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