(72) Start a Dairy Goat BusinessStarting a goat farm is a simple process if you do your business homework well. It is all about preparation and developing a goat farming business plan of action and seeing through that plan is done.
As with any business, researching a dairy goat business before starting will make setup easier and better suited to your individual preferences. By talking with people who are already in the dairy goat business, as well as investigating the legal aspects and health and related costs, the "unexpected'" may be addressed and a personalized business plan can be developed.
Learning as much as possible about goat behavior, health, breeds and production cycles aids helps you know how these factors affect farm production.
Whether the farm is to be certified as organic, a commercial business or a private co-op, the basic steps for starting a dairy goat business are the same.
Study and know every thing there is to know about goats. Learn there mating patterns. Learn how many kids a goat mom can produce. Learn the best food for goats and their eating habits. What’s the life span of a goat? Learn how to care for goats and learn its basic needs.
Decide What type of Goat Business You Want to Do
Goat farming is a diversified business. Goats produce diary and they also make great meat. Goats can also be breed to sell. As a business owner explore these avenues where in you can make money. Decide on which areas you want to focus your attention on. Identify the purpose of your goat farming business.
Determine on How Big You Want Your Business to Start
Study your business plan and business moves carefully. Determine the number of goats you want to begin with. Pick a number that would be substantially enough to get things moving depending on the purpose of your goat farming business. Is it 10 or 20? Then determine also a supplier who can supply good quality stock of goats.
If you think you got what it takes to start a goat farm, these business guidelines will multiple your chances to start out right and successfully.
When starting a goat farm you can decide to raise goats for thier meat or start a goat dairy and raise them for thier milk. This article will concentrate on starting a goat dairy. Your job duties will include raising/ feeding the goats, keeping their living area clean, and milking them. When raising goats it is essential that you make sure they are properly fed because if your goats are undernourished it can affect milk production as well as reproduction. Goats can be milked twice a day. Another thing to be taken into consideration is their breeding. Goats have four months of pregnancy duration and they breed once a year. Goats can give birth to as many as five kids at a time. The average lifespan of a goat is approximately 12-14 years.
Where will you work?
When starting a goat farm you need land with pasture and browse. The pasture in its vegetative state is ideal for goats because when the pasture plants mature it loses its tastes and digestibility for the goats. During the winter months goats will mostly feed on hay. Grain is also beneficial to goats especially while the goat is growing. You can also feed them commercially prepared high protein feed. They should also be given vitamins or supplements. Goats should have access to fresh water at all times especially in the winter months.
There are several costs associated with starting a goat farm. When purchasing goats, prices will vary depending on the breed and whether they are purebred. Feed is usually the most expensive cost when raising goats. You can decide to put up a fence to protect the goats from other animals as well as preventing them from escaping or building a pen. If you have a considerable number of goats then milking them in itself is a big task as goats are milked generally twice a day. You can choose to milk the goats with a machine or manually. Whether you use machinery or not, you may want to employ some people according to the size of your number of goats so the salary of your employees is also a part of the costs that you have to take care of.
Tips before Starting a Goat Farm
- Learn as much as you can: Before starting a goat farm get advice from other goat owners. Read as much as you can about goats. Also do research in your area to see how much you can expect to get for your dairy products. Be sure to research if there is enough demand for your dairy products.
- Be careful with what Goats eat: Keep goats away from poisonous plants Some plants such as Poke Weed and Wilted Cherry are harmful to goats. Goats also have a reputation for eating just about anything: toys, clothing, cookies ect. so watch out for this.
- Know the Breed: Certain breeds of goats are usually used in a Goat Dairy. These breeds include: Alpine, Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, Toggenburg, Oberhasli, Sannen and LaMancha. Keep in mind some goats may be mixed as well. You should research the different breeds to find which ones are best suited for your needs. You are better off buying a few high producing goats rather than many low producing. What may appear as a cheap goat may cost you in the long run especially if they have diseases. Look for breeders with strong reputations.
- Don’t try to take too big a leap upfront: First take into consideration as to what business you can get. Where you can sell the milk and if there is enough demand for it. You should find a buyer before you even start setting up your goat farm.
- Agreement: It is better to get into an agreement with your customers. That will also help you in retaining your customers as well as planning to expand your business. Fixed customers will mean fixed business and fixed business will mean fixed income.
- Takes Works: If you are expecting that your goat farm will bring you easy bucks, this is often not the case. Caring for your goats will take daily effort. If you have support of your family and they are willing to help out this will be extremely useful.
Things You'll Need
- Milking equipment
- 1 Determine what you know and what you need to learn about running a business, as well as about goats and farming in general. Use this as a basis to schedule classes or to determine what you need to learn from current dairy goat business owners. Look to associations for information, too.
- 2 Evaluate the feasibility of a dairy goat farm in the area you plan to establish it. The cost of fuel versus profit from the goat milk needs to be factored into your plans. Look at whether there is a market for the milk the farm will produce.
- 3 Choose the best breed for the climate where the business is located. Calculate the number of goats to start with. Look at breeding lines (genetics) and the history of the parents for milk production.
- 4 Look for feed sources for quality nutrition. If you are growing the feed on the farm, calculate the capability. Find a nutritionist with goat knowledge and learn about goat nutrition.
- 5 Establish good husbandry practices. Cleanliness is important. Keep track of production through a record-keeping system.
- 6 Set up housing and a milking facility and install milking equipment.
- 7 Determine where the milk is to be processed. Will it be by a commercial processor or will it be done on the farm? Will it be picked up by the processor? Will a new route be needed or does one exist for the processor pickup? Will they buy the milk and what is the charge for pickup?
- 8 Check on local regulations for needed permits, septic systems requirements and water regulations for freshwater and wastewater.
- 9 Find a goat-qualified veterinarian. Also learn about goat medicine.
- 10 Prepare a business plan to include liabilities and assets, along with projected cash flow. Include a description of the farm with an explanation of how the farm can make a profit. Establish a marketing plan. Set up backup plans for when things don't go as planned.