Help for those purchasing their first goats.

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. New Member

    I want to start a thread on helping new folks not fall into the pitfalls that most do in purchasing their first goats. Seems I am spending way too much time with emails and PM's with those who have already purchased and have some very unhappy tails of woe. Everyone help with what has worked for you.

    1. Sit down and have a goal before you purchase, don't buy meat goats if you want to milk.

    2. Know the alphabet soup of CAE, CL, before you purchase and if it is important to you don't purchase anything from a breeder who says "I have never heard of CL or CAE" in this day and age it's likely a lie. They likely have this in their herd and if they don't disclose this than they will tell you they don't have to take the animals back when they do test positive in your herd.

    3. Just because the person belongs to this forum does not make them any more or any less reputable. If they say their herd is negative, than paperwork for whole herd testing should be the first thing you see. Certainly anybody who spends the money to test is going to be only all too ready to show you this paperwork.

    4. Off brands, generic goats. Make sure you understand that IDGR is not anything more than a person making up these registration papers on their computer. The database they use is from ADGA. Paperwork from them and the MDGA that also carry ND, are not, transferable to ADGA. AGS paperwork is. If you purchase goats registered from one of these off brand registries it also gives you no recourse if the goats won't breed (sterile, hermaphrodites, free martins) like it does in ADGA. It also takes away all the pressure we as ADGA members can put onto them when they sell you goats who are diseased, horrid (one such story recently the buck was not only positive but the appraiser would not even appraise this buckling because of his condition) because they are off registered there is no recourse. It also gives you NO resale, except to other new folks who do not understand about CKC in dogs.

    5. Get help. Find a breeder on here who doesn't sell the breed you want, or who is sold out and ask for help. Most of us know the stories, know who to recommend and who to not.

    6. Be smart. Think about it. A breeder who is not willing to help you out with all your questions answered is also not going to help you with aftercare, after the purchase. Why give them your money.

    7. If you are buying a milker, milk her. Is her udder soft and pliable when empty? Will she let you walk up to her out in the barn with all the other goats. Is she on the milkstand when you get there (huge trick here in making you think she is tame). Don't buy wild goats that you tell yourself or are told "she will tame down when she gets to know you".

    8. Look at overall herd health. Those old does with swollen knees and horrible udders in that other pen are the mature does your goats are coming out of. Do you want them to look like that? You are bringing home the health of the whole herd with your purchase.

    9. Kids and juniors. Purchase a weigh tape, have it with you. Unless a mini, full size dairy goats should weigh 10 pounds plus their birth weight. So a 6 month old kid should weigh 68 pounds, 7 month old 78 pounds, 8 month old 88 pounds etc...and these are very minimal weights. Unless a quint out of an older doe or a quad out of a younger doe, there really is no excuses for buying a 50 pound 8 month old kid.

    10. Try to bring someone with you to the sale who knows livestock or better, knows goats. Do not impulse buy. Do not buy because you think you are rescuing them. Do not buy because they are cute, pretty, spotted. If they are purebreds, if they aren't registered than they are not purebreds no matter what story you are told.

    11. Paperwork. Unless you know this person very very well purchasing stock that doesn't come with their paperwork is more than risky. Now breeders holding paperwork until the animals are paid for, or a check clears is acceptable. Paperwork should be ready before the animal is sold. ADGA and AGS animals should match their tattoos. Even in kids, take a flashlight with you, check tattoo's against the animal you are purchasing. Ask to see the dams paperwork, the sires paperwork, make sure the breeder owns these animals before you take it home. If they do not than they must give you a service memo for the buck breeding the doe, or a copy of the lease form for leasing the dam.

    Each one of these above, comes with a story this year that I have tried, a few times in vain to help people get their money back from breeders, some on this forum.

    The offbrand registries have been the worst, in fact so many stories from them that in some instances we as moderators have guessed the offending party before we were even told who it was. Stories of CAE positive goats that follows the same breeders in the same area of the country year after year. Stories that follow breeders about no paperwork, about the most horrid of goats registered as purebreds with breed faults.

    If anyone wants to debate anything written on this thread, we can do so in OFF Topic, for now lets just have it be a thread of helps. Eventually it will be condensed to take out chatter and put in goatkeeping 101. Vicki
  2. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

    Don't be afraid to say no if something isn't right...there are always more fish in the sea.

    DO NOT trust someone just because they have lots of experience and show all over the place. I've been burned by a couple breeders who I believed what they said just because I thought they knew way more than I did. Check and double check especially in #2 above. Don't believe the "we've never had any problems with...(Johne's, CAE, etc.)" or what I got told "CAE never killed a goat so why worry about it?"

  3. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

    One major thing is to know the breed standards for the breed of registered animals you are going to look at and/or purchase. When one goes to a farm and begins looking at goats and they are new and are so willing to listen to and believe whatever the breeder is saying, you will at least have some idea as to what the breed is suppose to look like. For example: If you go to someone's farm and you are looking for a Nubian herd sire and he has a straight face or dished face instead of having a prominant roman nose then something is wrong. Or if you are purchasing an Alpine and her ears are hanging down... again, something is wrong.
  4. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

    Ask for lineage on the prospective animal. Any breeder should be able to tell you whats in their line but back it up through paperwork or online. Look it up. ADGA is 24/7 online. Is this an animal you really want?

    Learn more about your minerals in your area so your ahead of the game. May have a different percentage at your place compared to the sellers, which could cause health differences. So ask seller about their minerals also. Have heard this one time and again on here. Tammy
  5. stoneyheightsfarm

    stoneyheightsfarm New Member

    Thought I'd modify this post a bit so as to be more helpful, and not put the work off on others. :)

    Could you expand on herd health a bit? To include other health issues and what to look for? --Obvious, CAE, CL, how important is it to test for Brucellosis? Johnes? And for Nubians or Boers, G6S? I can not echo enough the comments about SEEING the paperwork. Even if you trust the person 110%, it will do a lot for your sanity later on when/if you might wonder... Buyer's remorse sometimes does happen, and not just with $500 shoes! Non test issues as others have touched on--what do they vaccinate for? Coccidia and worming prevention? (They should be doing something that works!) Check out hooves. What is their hoof trimming schedule?

    Also helpful might be things to purchase before bringing home goats. --Something to feed with and water are obvious. Management tools such as hoof trimmers, MICROSCOPE and other fecaling supplies, etc. If you'll be getting a milker, milk supplies. If you'll be getting a bred doe, disbudding, tatooing, birth kit supplies. At some point, you'll be breeding and milking, so budget for these supplies as you'll need them. If you'll be showing, clippers (and what else! I don't show, so someone else must jump in here. :) ) Meds to have on hand: If your herd will be small, then many things are too pricey to keep and you'll be better just getting them from the vet. Get acquainted with local goat clubs and maybe there is another local breeder who will share the cost of that ginormous bottle of cydectin or whatever with you. Make acquaintance with a good vet and get their help. Regardless, some things are good to have on hand. So far, the only thing I've had to use regularly is coccidia treatment, but only for my boys. So a medicine cabinet budget is a good thing. Ask the breeder what meds they find necessary to have on hand. This may be helpful, and it may also alert you to herd health issues they are dealing with.

    Things to learn to do: giving shots, trimming hooves, doing fecals, pulling blood, milking, tatooing, disbudding... If you don't learn how to do these things, you will be paying for it to be done. Find out the costs and know if you can afford them. Hoof trimming needs to be done monthly, and for a complete beginner, it can be a daunting task. You don't want to have to pay for this to be done, so definitely learn how to do this. Fecals WILL get pricey if you're always going to the vet to get them done, but it may be a good way to establish a relationship with your vet when you get started. There are comments further down on pulling blood and the cost of running tests yourself. If you rely on a vet to pull blood, you've got the trip to the office, blood pull fees, and their cut off the tests. My vet recently quoted me $90 per animal to get CAE, CL, Brucellosis, Johnes, and G6S done thru WADDL and TVDML. With a starter herd of only 5 goats, this still isn't cheap! (But I'm sure my vet loves me.... :)

    It is easy to want to trust the seller because you like their personality, want their promised aftercare, their goats are cute, their bloodlines are great, they're well connected, etc. Don't be afraid to ask around and double check. If they're completely above board, they'll welcome it. The saying is "Buyer Beware" for a reason. Buying your first goats is different than buying your first car. There are lots of shops that can help you with your car, but when you buy your goats, you're possibly also buying into a relationship with the breeder, for better or worse. Is the relationship a wise one?

    Other relationships you'll need to establish--get to know the local farm stores, feed mills, and a few sources of where you can get good hay. Don't rely on just one, because they may have a bad year and you don't want to be scrambling around last minute trying to feed your animals!
  6. Little Moon

    Little Moon New Member

    All of the above and just because an animal is registered with the ADGA does not mean it is going to be great. Check your bloodlines and learn about them, even if you don't plan to show, those bloodlines are what you will be feeding and milking. Same amount of feed to feed a poorly bred animal as it is to feed a well bred animal and usually a big difference in the milk pail.
  7. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

    Stuff I ask is this:

    Have your animal been on antibiotics? If so, what? And why? Many folks simply have no idea how to treat for mastitis, and you want to discover if the animal has had it and unsuccessfully been treated for it.

    What do you use to worm the animal? If they say "herbals" or safeguard then you know they have not been effectively de-wormed.

    Do they vaccinate? If so, what do they use and how? Do they give the follow up shots? Do they do it im or sub q? Do they use the same elbow area or is it given anywhere?

    If they don't vaccinate, do they still take the animals off the property? Or are they in a closed herd situation?

    If it's a young animal were they raised on coccidia prevention?

    It's very important to make ties with other local breeders. Quite often you will find someone who will give you an honest opinion about someones herd and the health of their herd. Ask them about the herd you are buying into.

    Study pictures of goats with good confirmation, so you can spot obvious faults.
  8. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    1. I personally like to visit the farm where the animal is being kept. I can usually get a feel pretty quick if the animals are being managed properly. Dirty everything is a big red flag for me.
    2. I also don't like to purchase "hand me down" or goats that have been bought and sold/moved around much. I prefer to buy a goat that has spent it's whole life at the farm I'm visiting.
    3. When buying a goat from somebody who don't know me, and I don't know them.....I may ask a lot of questions in a way that makes them think that I don't know much about other words, play a little dumb, and let them do as much talk as they will. If they get some idea that you don't know much, they will most times hang themselves with their own mouth.....if given enough rope. Don't go there trying to be a goat know it all. Be smart, but never tell all you know. Lots of these "slickers" will let you do the talking until they can get an angle in which to better do business with you.
    You got to remember this....there are many "dog traders" goat traders" horse traders", out there that could make a used car salesman blush. I don't know how they sleep at night or stay in business very long....but it seems that they somehow do.
    4. And last but not least.....don't go there acting like you have money to burn. Never pull out that roll of money that could choke a horse until the deal has been made.
    5. If you don't have money enough to buy a "good animal" ...then save up your money until you can. If you are unable to save up that money in a reasonable amount of time, then you will probably have a hard time buying feed and stuff to take care of them. Nothing gripes my butt more than to go to a farm where I know that good money was paid out for animals, and then see them eating crap and being half starved to death.

    Well Vicki, I doubt that my advice is really what you was looking for in this thread, so I don't blame you if you edit the heck out of it. ;) ;) ;)

  9. Bella Star

    Bella Star New Member

    :yeahthat and is the goats eye's clear , do you see a perky expression or a sickly expression out of their eyes ? is the goat snotting,coughing,poopy,hoof's trim,fur shiny,goat plump ?? How about the goats environment and other herd members, as your goat was being kept like the others in the herd but spruced up before you come to look at it.

    Most all here would be eager to show and tell you about their goats as we are proud goat owners !

    My Goats have everything done AND all paperwork signed and ready for transfer to your name ,I include my email and phone number if you need something or have any questions.

    NEVER leave with your new goat without having ALL registered transfer paperwork in your hand !! NEVER !! :nooo

    and me personally ,I want a CAE and CL check before I buy and I wear shoe covers to protect myself and them from transferring possible diseases, usually we work out the cost.

    Start with the best you can afford,dont settle for anything less... get what you want ,be picky . Do your homework and KNOW what breed you want. I like a doe with a kid at her side or a doe in milk that's bred because I want to see her milk, how she does on the stand ,check and feel her udder ,know how much milk she milks out , how her udder looks and how her MILK TASTE !!! Very important to taste her milk ! ;)
  10. baileybunch

    baileybunch New Member

    So many "pearls of wisdom" have been shared. I have learned the hard way this year and find not only is there benefit in the learning but also the sharing of information so that others can take something away from this too.

    In addition to all the information given above, this is other advice that I have gleaned from several people as well as some "gems" of my own. (I used bullets because a simple on liner might be easier to recall. Maybe when this all gets condensed and organized, it could have bullet lines.)

    One good piece of advice I have heard over and over again, which is why we are always advised about pedigree, is "it costs just as much to feed and care for a high quality animal as it does a cheap one." Many of us think we just want the milk or a pet or a lower goal than showing or top genetics. BUT we are still breeding and we should always strive to improve on what we have. So, we should shop for the best we can afford and with improvement in mind. And actually the top quality (best you can afford) will be the less expensive in the end as you will have better production and maybe even a healthier animal.

    I do think taking someone with you is important. If you can’t then take your camera, with permission, snap photos (front, rear, side, dam, sire) and send pictures to your mentor. Also, take notes to help you recall important information.

    Another good use of you mentor is to compare pedigrees (LA scores, etc) of what you are looking at to what you have. The breeder talked the talk about how these animals would compliment and improve my current herd. Through the appraiser, both were more on the dairy side (lacking width and strength) and I have a “very dairy” doe. This likely would not have improved my herd. It would have made a goat so narrow that it could walk through a key hole (that's what the appraiser said!)

    Also about pedigrees...“but look at his pedigree”, he’s got “blah, blah, blah” in his pedigree (a thousand times back). But, I learned that top names don’t have much influence on the animal if they are so many generations past. I cannot recall but think it's 4th, or further generations that aren't as important as the immediate generations. So, a warning about pedigree reading…like how many close generations to follow to look for.

    And this is another point. Ask if their herd has been appraised! Ask if any of the animals you are looking at have been appraised. Ask the breeder to show you the good and bad points of the animal as well as dam and sire. This would go for production records, etc.

    SHOW ME THE RESULTS (or get them yourself!)
    Also, if they don’t have current CAE/CL test results (meaning an animal not tested within the last year) then be prepared and ask that they are willing to allow you to pull blood. A simple kit (alcohol swabs, disposable syringes, red top tubes,) and you are ready to roll! Sending samples to WSU takes less than a week to get results and cost less than $15! You can do it all by yourself and through the post office! Simple, simple, simple! This is something a novice doesn’t realize.

    Deposit, deposit, deposit! Look, take your pictures, check everyone out, draw blood, see everything in writing, get a contract with EVERYTHING in written down, including what will happen if something goes wrong, what is refundable, etc. and go home to get perspective, contact your mentor or other sources. A deposit (either small enough that if lost, you aren’t out too much or large and refundable at your specifications) will give you time to consider and not feel the pressure or rush. It shows the seller that you are serious and smart.

    Also, CL, blood-test alone isn’t going to be enough. You need to know if there has ever been CL positive animals on the property. If these animals have ever been exposed, how long age, etc. Look for signs of CL abscesses or scars. I think a red-light might be “we vaccinate for CL” because the only need for vaccination is if your animals have been exposed to a positive animal.

    Contract. If the seller doesn’t have one, have one with you so that you can have everything in writing for your protection. If the seller isn’t willing to have a contract, walk away! It’s not worth it.

    I appreciate the post that mentions covering your shoes. Something to protect your farm from the spread of disease. I think Jeffers sells boot and shoe covers. In a pinch, Walmart bags and tape will do! You are also "considerate" enough to be thinking about the seller's animals.

    Already discussed. Sitting down and figuring out what your goals are and what is important.

    I think a head-to-toe description (structure) of what we should look for is important too. I learned a lot from attending an appraisal and reading through the appraisal book. What are good and what are not so good qualities. Take it with you! :D
  11. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    As a few on this thread have said, take along a mentor who knows both breed standard and herd health. My first year in goats, I attended an out of state show where a breeder had a beautiful doeling for sale. My mentor/friend not only looked at the kid, but her dam as well. The doeling looked to be in good health, but the dam had a couple of abcesses. Though the breeder stated the kid had been raised on prevention, I passed on that kid.
    If you're buying for show, look at the dam and also any milking does produced by the kid's sire. Though the dam and sire's pedigrees may look good, the goats, themselves may not be show quality.
    Check the doelings to be sure they don't have extra teats.
  12. haeema

    haeema New Member

    Do only boars have extra teats? I haven't seen anything (Nubians, Toggs, Saanen's..) that have that trait.
  13. stoneyheightsfarm

    stoneyheightsfarm New Member

    Dunno... but teat spurs would be something to look for... Would that be considered as part of "conformation"??
  14. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels New Member

    Only Boers *should* have extra teats. It can and does happen in dairy goats but it is rare because it is culled or should be culled strictly.
  15. FRW

    FRW New Member

    A little more newbee advice from someone who has had some hard knocks when starting out into Breeding Nubian Goats.
    Due to health problems I currently do not own any goats or have any for sale. So feel free to ask me any questions from quality care, to health, to where and how to test for diseases and what emergency meds and vaccines are needed etc. I will gladly help where I can!!

    I would strongly advise that you first decide your breed then start looking at the type goats you think you want to breed. Then look up those bloodline on website on the web and start studying pedigrees and the bloodlines on the Adda website Then if you find another bloodline combined with your interest of bloodline then do research on the new line you have discovered.After you are able to start seeing some of the GCH Champions found on the internet and prior ADGA national shows you will start seeing the similarity of how the bloodlines combined to produce the new line you know have an interest in.
    Another good way to see pictures of animals in past pedigrees is asking for a sales list Or mail outs of current or/and any old prior sale list this will help familiarize you with the breed and what it should like. I also look at things like does the breeder linear appraise their animals.
    I understand not all appraise ever year nor can everyone afford to linear appraise there animals. If you find out that a linear appraisal is going on that you can attend ask for an invitation!!! You have to be invited by the person being appraised if accepted you will learn allot and be able to ask allot of questions.
    Attend goat shows and look at how the goats move around in the ring.Listen to the judges and how and why they placed them.
    Anywhere you can get information get it!!!!
    You must research the breed you are wanting to start raising. If not you will end up spending money on animals that may not be what you are needing for your breeding program.
    Never buy an goat with out a 48 hour warranty of being able to take the goat to a vet for a full check up,Also with the understanding of a refund of full purchase price if the CAE,CL etc test results return positive.
    Always completely quarantine any new animals away from your other animals( no common drinking , eating nose touching etc territory) Ask your vet about quarantining I quarantine 60 days.
    When the vet draws the blood have him list the tatoo letters and numbers out of each ear(left and right) and have the vet send the bloodwork into a repeatable location that test for #1 ,CAE#2 CL I would also have the vet do a fecal on your goat so you will know if it needs worming or treated for Cocci. Just because they have worms or cocci doesn't mean this is an awefull thing. It will not be the first or last. This only gives you a place to start. This will show you a level of the amount of worms that your animals have or will have. They will not stay worm or cocci free.
    Remember -If you don't have the money for the vet bill or others later down the road, DON'T BUY THE GOAT!!!

    1.The main thing is do not rush into anything and do not let someone rush you into something.(don't get the cart before the horse)
    2.Decide what you want ,Research more about the bloodlines make sure you know what you are buying.
    3.Make sure you have the necessary supplies before buying :
    The medicine cabinet is very important. suppies for emergency cuts or scrapes(tetanus toxoid),
    supplies for kidding,DE wormers,cocci treatment, supplies for calcium deficiencies,ketosis etc.
    The rest of your supplies should contain all of those other things that you will need to have available at all times to take excellent care of your new goat. A medicine cabinet can get expensive and it is true if you do not have many goats it can be more economical to buy what you need as needed from the vet.
    People on this list are here for you!! To talk to you individually and ask them questions about the things that have been listed by everyone on this thread !! The only dumb questions is the unasked ones !!!
    Have fun finding you new goats.
    I am counting down the months till I will again have my new goats.
  16. Liberty Alpines

    Liberty Alpines New Member

    All of this information is really good. Thanks for starting it Vicki, not just for buyers, but also for those selling too so we can always be becoming better and better breeders and sellers. I once was considering purchasing a buck from a farm and called and left a message on their machine to ask if they were CAE free. I never heard from them after that and haven't since. I had been out to their farm to learn how to tattoo and everything. I was blessed to be able to buy my first goats from a lovely Christian lady who did me right completely even though I didn't know enough to ask hardly anything. She would still do anything for me if I needed her to. Unfortunately, everyone doesn't have that experience!

    Also, is tomorrow a special birthday for the forum? I thought maybe but wasn't sure. :D
  17. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

    With all the above said.....I want to add one thing.
    If you demand all the above testing, want the kids raised a certain way until your pick up (which is usually way past the owners desire), expect adult milkers that are milkstand trained,coccidia treated,wormed, shown, DHIR tested, LA'ed, and in perfect health, all that jazz...DO NOT EXPECT to pay $50 for one. Don't even insult the owner by saying $200 is a lot for that GOAT! :mad

    Nothing makes me madder than to advertise a FINISHED Doe (with milk records-DHIR, LA scores, 2 or 3 yrs. of showing, daughters that are showing and winning, and all the PROPER management put in that doe) as a brood doe, for $500 and someone say...she's not worth that.

    In the south if you get the statement..."Oh, I don't use drugs." RUN DON'T WALK away from this herd! I'm hearing this a lot from people wanting to sell crap as "all natural" goats. It don't work,folks. Sounds good in this time of people wanting "grass-fed" milk/meat, but in reality it don't fly.
  18. MeadowValleyFarm

    MeadowValleyFarm New Member

    Amen to that Kay. Most "all natural" things were treated with something at one point or another, even the mothers could have been treated durring the pregnacy which means that the kid is not "all natural". Its hard to raise anything with out using drugs or chemicals anywere, new and stronger strains of diseases make this a challenge.

    Also thankyou for the information on buying goat, when we bought our first two dairy goats we knew very little about goats. Since then we have learned the hard way on alot of things. I guess the one thing that we did do right was that we bought doelings and no bucks.
  19. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

    CHECK OUT DONATION GOATS THAT YOU HAVEN"T A CLUE ABOUT! Some of these are animals that no one wants for many reasons. Some of them are money pits and some times are older with severe health issues that cannot be fixed. Once you have checked out the animals and breeder and they are healthy then make your decision. When we started Lindsey out in 4-H she was given two older animals that did have severe problems. One cost us alot of money and I still had to put her down. The other was fixable but we still have some issues with her. Since-we have accepted one other and she is an absolute doll that came from a very reputable breeder and we couldn't be happier. Just do your homework is all I am saying. Tammy

    I have modified this post.
  20. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

    I know when I started out I was so naive, all of us have been burned money wise If you are in the goat world long enough, but Health wise is much worse. I guess I've been lucky there. When I bought my first registered animals I really believed that the gals I was purchasing from (5) different ladies, knew everything, knew so much. and I still to this day don't think I know anything about goats, I'm always trying to catch up in learning, but in looking back on what those ladies told me, and in dealing with 2 of them still, I just shake my head. Bad management, bad advise, shipping crap animals that should be culled. whether it was weaning the babies at 7 weeks, or drying up a milk goat right after you buy her to let her "settle in" RED FLAG, or worse one was dried up before I bought her in Aug! People Not worming or Cocidia treating animals when they have Owned goats for LONGER than me. I guess I'm saying don't feel intimidated, and don't just assume those ladies know it all. They don't. Use your own common sence when I say to folks don't feed molasses, its' not because Vicki says, it's because I started out feeding sweet feed, took Vickies good advise NOT to feed sweet feed, and viola away went the congested udders at freshening. I saw that it did make sence and did have positive outcome in my own barn.