Goats will make you go broke. Or goats will make you a good profit. Which will it be? It's up to you. Successful goat farmers have learned to focus on 7 proven ways to make money with goats.
Not all goats are the same, and there are multiple directions you can take when raising goats for profit. You've heard the phrase, "Jack of all trades; master of none?" Well that applies to raising goats, too. To be successful and profitable, you will want to focus on one particular type of goat business and stick to it. Otherwise, you will get stretched too thin, and will never do really well at any of it. There are 7 proven ways to make money which you can choose from when raising goats for profit. I'll touch on each of those briefly, and then go into more detail below on how you can make money in each of these categories.
1. Dairy Goats
When you raise dairy goats it can get very involved and can provide a number of different streams of income. But it requires so much focus and dedication that, to be successful and earn a profit, you need to focus strictly on dairy-related products and services. If you choose to focus on dairy, you will want to forget about stretching yourself too thin by also trying to raise goats for meat production, brush clearing, agri-tourism or other goat businesses. Learn more about dairy goats HERE
2. Meat Goats
Earning a profit in the meat goat business requires an entirely different mindset than the dairy goat business. You need to be comfortable with the fact that you will be raising goats for the primary purpose of having them slaughtered for their meat and skin. If you're okay with that, then raising meat goats for profit may be an option you can consider and there's lots of customer demand for goat meat. Learn more about meat goats HERE
3. Raising Goats for Fiber
May people run profitable businesses raising goats for fiber. Some goats are used to produce fiber like cashmere
which are in high demand.
4. Brush Clearing
You can make good money clearing brush from land for other people with goats. A goat's favorite food is made up of "browse", which refers to the leaves, shoots and bark of various woody plants and trees. Because of this, goats have a reputation for eating away at lots of trees and plants they can find nearby. This can be a great profit-making opportunity because lots of people have areas overgrown with trees and plants that they would like to clear, and hiring labor to do this can get expensive. Many goat owners make money renting out their goat herds to help clear overgrown land like that. Goats won't eat everything. But they can certainly eat a lot of plant material to make it much easier for humans to clear the rest. Plenty of goat owners run full-time successful businesses doing this.
Learn more about using goats for brush clearing HERE
5. Profit from Agri-Tourism
You can also use goats to profit from tourists. Lots of people live in cities where they don't get much chance to see farms and farm animals up close. Many farms earn money by opening up to those people, and you can too. With your own goat farm you can provide tours where people can visit and see how a farm works. Many people will buy a ticket from you to watch a live goat milking demonstration, and to visit goats in a petting zoo you create. Some will pay you to bring goats to a school or festival for show-and-tell or demonstrations. There are all kinds of possibilities where you can make money entertaining or helping people with your goats. Learn more about Agri-Tourism HERE
6. Goat Care Services
Once you get some experience with goats, you can use that experience to earn a profit helping other people who own goats. At our goat farm, we pay other people to come over and take care of our goats when we have to go out of town. We pay quite a bit because the helpers must feed our herd of goats scattered across multiple fields. They have to milk the goats, feed them grain, put hay in their hay feeders and check their water. They also feed our livestock guardian dogs. Sometimes we help other people by keeping their goats for awhile while they are moving or changing things around. Many times they will pay us by trading goats or exchanging services. As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make money providing goat care services.
7. Goat Farm Online Marketing and Education
With so many people interested in raising goats, there is a big demand to learn about goats. A perfect example is you reading this right now. Once you gain experience with your own goats, you too can profit by providing information, books, products, courses, newsletters and membership communities online to help people by sharing what you have learned about goats.
"focus on being excellent, growing and making money in that one niche"
There are other creative avenues for making money with goats as well. But if you want to be successful in your goat business, you will need to decide which strategy you want to go with, and focus on being excellent, growing and making money in that one niche. So how do you grow and make the most money you can with goats in a particular niche?
Diversify Your Goat Income Streams for Profit
Whichever niche you choose for your goat business, in order to be most successful you will want to diversify your income sources within the type of goat business you choose. In other words, you should pursue multiple income streams within your niche. Don't just depend on one source of income. If you do, and that source dries up, you're out of business. Here's how you can diversify your income sources in the different niches mentioned above.
Dairy Goat Income Streams
With dairy goats, there are a number of ways you can pull in a profit from different sources.
Breeding and Selling
Many people make money breeding their dairy goats and then selling some of the kids (baby goats). If you go this route, you can gradually grow a herd over time to produce more goats and increase your profit. Does often give birth to two, three or more kids at a time, so your herd can expand pretty quickly if you keep some of the kids for your own herd. You will need to occasionally buy other goats to manage your herd well and make sure you don't have inbreeding going on. Of course, you will need enough area for your goats, and it costs money to feed and care for a herd. But many people find creative ways to cut costs and create more profit. You will also need to balance money-making with keeping your herd of goats healthy and happy. The happier and healthier your goats are, the longer they will be able to produce for you. Some dairy goat farmers breed and raise "registered" goats so they can enter them in goat shows and win awards, which can greatly increase the prices they can charge for their goats. Some quality goats sell for $300 to $500 each. Top award winners can even sell for thousands of dollars, because they are in demand for breeding to produce other awared-winning goats. Some people even loan out their goats for breeding in exchange for stud fees. Another income source is when you need to get rid of goats, like when you have older does or too many bucks. With these, you can sell them as you would meat goats, and earn extra money. There's more about meat goats later in this article.
Sale of Milk and Milk Products for Profit
With dairy goats you can also profit from their products. First, you never have to spend money on milk again. Our family drinks lots of milk from our goats, which has saved money at the grocery store. Some farmers start their own dairy or creamery to sell goat milk or cheese to the public. But that usually requires licensing and inspection, which can get expensive and is something to aim at later when your herd and farm are well established and sizeable and you have more experience. With proper licensing
, goat milk can also be use to produce yogurt, fudge, caramel, ice cream and other products. You don't usually have to be licensed to produce goat soap. Many farms sell their goat soap at local fairs, festivals and shops. Some have created worldwide profitable business selling their soaps and related products through online marketing with their own website.
"Our family drinks lots of milk from our goats, which has saved money at the grocery store."
Some farms even sell raw milk to the public. If you do this, you just have to make sure you comply with local licensing requirements. There's a big demand for raw goat milk because many people with digestive problems say they can drink goat milk, although they are unable to drink cow's milk, and they find goat milk to be a lot tastier and healthier in many other respects too.
Even in some places where you can't sell raw milk to the general public, some farmers get around those rules by creating a "herd-share program" That's a program where multiple buyers each purchase a "share" of a farm's herd, so it partly belongs to each of them. Then, when the buyers receive milk from that farm, the milk is considered as coming from the buyer's own farm since they own a share of that farm. The farm is technically not providing milk to the "public", and doesn't have to be licensed. In other words, a buyer is paying for a share of the herd in exchange for getting milk, as opposed to simply paying to buy the milk outright. If you're thinking about making money by starting a herd-share program to sell milk to other people without having to get a license, just make sure you check out the local laws to be certain everything you do is okay legally.
Dairy Goat in Milk, With a Full Udder[/caption] If you raise dairy goats, you can also sell the milk, without a license, to farmers who plan to use it to feed their various farms animals, like pigs. Again, make sure you comply with the relevant laws when doing this, and mark your milk "not for human consumption".
Meat Goat Income Streams
If you decide to focus on a niche raising goats for slaughter, there are also different income streams you can diversify into which can help you turn a profit.
Goats can be sold for their meat ("Chevon"). You may not be familiar with eating goat meat. But it is actually in high demand all around us. In fact, lots of goat meat is imported to the U.S. from other countries because producers in the United States can't keep up with the demand
Money from Different Sales Channels
If you raise meat goats, you can diversify your income streams by selling your goats through multiple different channels, depending on which is the most cost effective for you at the time. Some meat goat farmers save time by selling to a middleman, like a trader or an auction, but you will have to accept a lower price due to the middleman. Other farms may skip the middleman and sell direct to a meat processor, restaurant or even to a consumer who is buying for their own needs. It all depends on what the best deals are that you can work out. Also, you can make more profit if you slaughter, skin and butcher your own goats. This will take some learning and practice, of course, but eliminates the cost of paying a middleman to do this.
"skip the middleman and sell direct to a meat processor"
There is a lot of demand for goat meat, mainly among certain ethnic groups. For example, Hispanic people in the Southwest love to eat it, and refer to it as "Cabrito". That's why there are a lot of meat goats raised in Texas and nearby states. A lot of the goat meat being shipped to states further North, like New York, is being used by other ethnic groups, such as Muslims who traditionally eat goat meat for certain holiday celebrations. If you intend to sell goat meat for that purpose, keep in mind that those holiday celebrations often have some very strict requirement about how old the goat is and how the goat and its meat are handled. A lot of goat meat demand is not even due to ethnic needs. Goat meat production has been increasing steadily for upscale restaurant demand where Chevon is often considered a culinary delicacy and included by many chefs in multiple different recipes. Many chefs buy directly from nearby goat farms.
A profit can also be made from goat skins. If you slaughter and process goats yourself, you will be removing skins. You can make more money here if you work carefully to remove skins with as little damage as possible, and you will need to learn how to handle the skin after removing it to prevent it from drying out, picking up bugs or getting damaged. Better skins will bring better prices. There are plenty of people who are into leather work, African drum making, etc. who are looking to buy goat skins, which are ideal for those purposes. Goat leather is considered more durable and softer than cow leather. Check out goat skins on eBay and you will see many skins being sold for $15 apiece, $65 apiece and more, depending on color and quality. That may not sound like a ton of money. But keep in mind, that it's only one of the many income streams you can develop from your goat herd, and it all adds up. Plus, if you process your own meat goats, you're going to be removing the skins anyway. Why throw them away if you can sell it?
Breeding and Selling for Profit
A lot of good income can be made if you breed meat goats and sell the kids, the same as mentioned above for the dairy goat niche. Many meat goat farmers are always looking for quality goats to improve their herd. There are even goat shows that specialize in meat goats. Just like with dairy goats, entering and winning shows can increase the re-sale value of your meat goat herd.
Goat Fiber Income Streams
Another source of profit you can diversify into with goats is with their fiber. A number of different breeds can be used to produce Cashmere. Also, Angora goats produce mohair. Both cashmere and mohair produced from goats is in big demand, along with certain other fibers. Fiber is usually combed or cut from live goats, so you can even produce fiber from goats you are raising for dairy or meat. There are multiple sources of income you can pursue in the goat fiber business. First, you can sell the raw fiber by the pound to someone who will clean, process and turn it into yarn. As an alternative income stream, you can increase your profits if you also take care of washing it and getting it ready for spinners who will purchase it from you prior to spinning it into yarn. Another option you could pursue would be to learn to spin fiber into yarn yourself. If you do it yourself, you can take advantage of the higher prices some buyers are willing to pay for items that are handmade and produced locally. It takes a lot of fiber to make up a quantity big enough to sell, so you will probably need a sizeable herd to do this on a significant scale.
Brush-Clearing Income Streams With Goats
If brush-clearing is your niche of choice, you have several income sources you can pursue. State and county highway departments are faced with the task of clearing overgrown right-of-way areas. Some of these local governments have been known to pay local goat farmers to rent goat herds to clear land that is overgrown. Individual homeowners and commercial businesses will hire a goat herd to do landscaping by clearing land. Goats can eat things like poison ivy and plants with stickers which are difficult for humans to handle. They also work well on steep and rocky areas that are hard to reach for people. Remember, goats are natural mountain climbers by nature.
Income Streams from Agri-Tourism With Goats
If you choose Agri-Tourism as the business you want to start to make a profit with goats, there are different income streams you can pursuse. A petting zoo is a favorite with lots of people. Look for local carnivals and festivals, and talk to the organizers ahead of time about seeing if they would like to hire you to provide a petting zoo of goats. You can also make good money providing farm tours. Once you start raising goats, you can offer the chance for schools to pay you so they can arrange an educational field trip to your goat farm. You can show kids how to milk goats, make goat milk soap, and how goats can do tricks. It's a great way to make money having birthday parties at your goat farm also. Another way to make money is to charge for people to have their picture taken with your goats. This is perfect for outdoor events, and you can rent a booth at a country fair or special event.
Income Streams from Goat Care Services
If you want to earn income providing goat care services, you can diversify your income in multiple ways. As mentioned above, some goat farmers like us are always looking for someone with goat experience to take care of their goats when they are out of town. You can make money servicing those farmers as your customers. Many goat farmers also have goat farms but don't like to do certain goat-related tasks themselves. They would rather pay someone else to do those things. If you develop experience in these tasks, you can earn money doing this for other goat farmers on a contract basis. Examples are disbudding (de-horning baby goats), hoof trimming, taking blood and fecal samples and other tasks. Just make sure you don't do anything for others which requires a veterinary license, if you are not a veterinarian.
Income Streams from Goat Farm Online Marketing & Education
With so many people worldwide wanting to get into raising goats, there is a huge demand for goat-realated information, education and training. So if you choose this as a niche, there are all kinds of income streams available to you. Many online website businesses have become incredibly popular by providing all kinds of detailed information about raising goats, showing goats, different breeds and other information. You can earn a profit offering ebooks on various goat topics. Products can be sold online as well. People are always looking for goat milk soap, shampoo and other health products. You can also make money online selling goat farmer tools and equipment produced by other people for a commission. This can includes things like milking machines, disbudding tools, hoof trimmers, milking stands and all kinds of other equipment. You can make money offering goat-related courses, newsletters and membership communities online.
Which Income Streams Do You Choose?
All of the ideas above are just some of the different income streams you can pursue to make money with your goats. Stick to your goat niche, pursue the different income streams and you will be well on your way to becoming one of those goat farms that succeeds. But there is another critical factor you don't want to forget, to be successful making money with goats.
Herd of Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats[/caption]
Become an Expert at What You Do
To make money through all of the income streams mentioned above, you need to first get started with your own goats and learn as much as you can so you can help others. Before you get your first goats, study everything you can. There's plenty of information online. This will help you decide which niche of goat farming you should focus on. Connect with other goat farmers so you can learn what they do and get free advice on your own goat herd. Join Facebook groups of people raising goats and read their posts to start learning how they manage their own goat herds. Attend goat shows, and enter your own goats in the shows. You can meet lots of people there and learn a lot.
"learn as much as you can so you can help others"
If you want to focus on meat goats, start talking to people involved in trading, auctions and processing. You can work backwards by looking for goat meat that's available, finding out where it came from and then getting in touch with those companies to ask questions. Tell them you are exploring a possible business opportunity in meat goat farming and ask where they get their meat and how the process works. Join breeder associations and groups within the niche you are considering, and keep an eye on the information, current events and training materials they provide to members. As you make progress you will find that you learn more and more. This is especially true when you purchase your first goats and start taking action. Once you've gained knowledge and you have your goat business started and bringing in income, there is one more important step that will help you maximize the profit from your goat business.
Minimize Your Costs to Maximize Profit
Those goat farms and businesses that have survived over the years and stayed profitable have learned how to keep costs to a minimum. There are plenty of ways you can do the same. Having land to raise goats is one of the big expenses. If you have inherited a lot of farm land, that's a bonus. But if you only have a small place you can still get started with goats. We started years ago with two goats in the backyard behind our house in a suburban neighborhood. Then, as we were able to, we moved out to a rural area and acquired more acreage, and increased the size of our goat herd at the same time. You can also rent land to keep your goats there. Just make sure you stay close by to keep an eye on them, and have some livestock guardian dogs with them to protect against predators like coyotes and other animals that can attack your goats. [penci_blockquote align="left" author=""]If you only have a small place you can still get started with goats.[/penci_blockquote] Feeding goats is also a big cost. But there are ways to minimize this. The more acreage you have near wooded areas, the more you can feed your goats by simply letting them eat natural leaves and plants in the area, or hay which you may grow on your own land. This can cut down on the amount of grain you would otherwise have to buy to feed them. Another little-known source of free feed is through beer breweries. They use grain in the beer brewing process. After that process, they throw it away. Many goat farmers make arrangements to gather the leftover grain from breweries for free. The breweries are usually happy to have someone get rid of it for them. They call it "Spent Grain", but it's perfectly good for goats to eat, and it's actually very healthy for them. Grain you get this way is wet, but very clean and can be dried and used to feed goats with no problem. This helps you avoid feed bills which can get pretty pricey otherwise.
Another little-known source of free feed is through beer breweries.
Labor is also a big cost. You will hit a point in growing your goat herd where you will not be able to expand the herd any further unless you get other people to help. Many goat farmers offer to let students from the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and other educational farm-related groups come to their farm to learn by working with farm animals. You can get students to work for free. It's a win-win situation. They get free experience on a farm, and you reduce your labor costs. You can probably be creative and find lots of other ways to cut expenses as you gain more experience. This will help you keep your goat operation profitable.
Hopefully, you now have some ideas about the different goat businesses available to make money with goats, and the different income streams within each business that can produce a profit for you. If you're wanting to start a goat-related business, don't wait until things are perfect. Just jump in and get started. You can learn as you go. Buy a couple of goats, start connecting with other goat farmers, and you will gain experience fast. Before you know it, you will be well on your way to growing your herd, earning some money and developing your own successful goat farm.