The modern domestic goat (Capra hircus), was first domesticated somewhere in Asia thousands of years ago. Today, goats are easily recognizable by their compact build, light frames, backward curving horns, straight hair, and short tails. They’re closely related to sheep, and serve many of the same purposes, like providing milk, leather, meat, and wool. In fact, goats are so useful, that modern backyard farmers all over the world have started adding them to their menageries. If you’re thinking of getting a goat, you’re probably wondering: just how much do goats cost?
Here, we’ll answer that question and more. We’ll start by looking at the one-time expenses associated with buying a goat. Then, we’ll look at the common monthly expenses required to keep a goat or several. Finally, we’ll discuss some of the miscellaneous goat-related costs you might run into. By the end, you should have a better idea of just how much it costs to get and keep a goat.
First-time expenses are those that you need to invest in in order to start keeping goats. These costs vary greatly depending on where you live, what kind of goats you want, and whether or not you already have a farmstead started. You should expect to spend at least $500 on startup expenses—including the cost of the goat itself.
1. Buying the Goat
Of course! The first step to having goats is to purchase a goat or several. But, how much do goats cost? Well, this answer is largely dependent on what kind of goat you’re looking for. Heritage breed goats can be costly, while more common breeds are typically cheaper. You may even get away with getting a goat for next to nothing if you can find someone giving up their goat(s). Typically, a single non-heritage goat runs between $50-$300.
2. Setup and Equipment
This includes, first and foremost, fencing and shelter. Goats need to be kept in an enclosed area—whether that be a large yard or a farmstead—fencing is a must. Additionally, goats need a place to shelter from the rain, snow, and heat. Finally, before you bring your goat, or goats home, be sure to purchase a supply of feed to start them on. This typically includes straw, hay, and other feed. You’ll also need a water trough or two.
When it comes to the question: how much do goats cost? It’s important to recognize that the cost fluctuates greatly depending on how many goats you have, where you live, and what you provide for them. Let’s take a look at some of the most important monthly costs associated with keeping goats.
1. Food for Your Goat—$10-$50 (monthly)
This might be the most important of all the monthly costs associated with keeping a goat. Feeding your goat, or goats, varies in cost depending on where you live, whether or not you make use of pasturage, and what kind of food you use. Goats need a steady supply of hay—it should make up about 90% of their diet. But they also require supplemental foods, like salt licks, grains, and goat-formulated pellets. Luckily, feeding goats is relatively inexpensive.
2. Veterinary Care—$10-$50 (monthly)
The next biggest monthly expense in keeping goats comes from their veterinary needs. Goats are pretty healthy animals, but that doesn’t exempt them from vaccinations and lice treatment. In addition, goats should have regular checkups at the vet. While this expense may not come every month, it is important to budget for at least one yearly vet visit. As with all goat expenses, the amount you need to budget every month is directly proportional to the number of goats you have. The more goats, the more you’ll pay to keep them.
3. Hooves and Grooming—0-$40 (monthly)
To answer the question: how much do goats cost? you have to understand a little more about goat hair and hooves. Most goats have short, straight hair (unlike sheep) that’s easy to take care of and keep clean. Unlike many dogs, they don’t need regular trips to the groomer. However, goats require regular hoof trimming, at least every 8 weeks. Depending on how comfortable you are with this, you may opt to have a livestock expert trim your goats’ hooves for you. Alternatively, you can purchase your own hoof trimmers as a one-time expense, and avoid the monthly cost.
Other miscellaneous costs will always crop up when it comes to owning any animal. For goats, these might include treats, toys, and new equipment. Shelters and food dishes will occasionally wear out, and you may have to invest in new fencing every once in a while. And, if you like dressing your goat up, there’s also the price of costumes to consider!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/maximili
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- PennState Extension, Available here: https://extension.psu.edu/animals-and-livestock/goats
- Oklahoma State University, Available here: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/goats/