What financial advantage to raising bottle kids?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by farm mom, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. farm mom

    farm mom New Member

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    My husband and I were taking about this tonight and were curious what others think. Let's say your doe has twins. After the first week or so each of those kids are drinking almost 1/2 gallon of milk a day. If mom is a gallon a day milker than they are using most all of her milk with very little or none left over for your use. If you raise kids on whole milk you are looking at almost $100 a month in milk alone. Not even counting the cost of worming, cocci prevention, vacs, disbudding, castrating, grain, and hay taking these goats to weaning age on milk alone will cost $200-$300 (depending on if you wean at 2 or 3 months)! Now here you are lucky to sell just weaned kids for $300 even if they are registered and come from good lines. So, my question is what is the point? You can't even break even. Does anyone just sell there kids as bottle babies after 48-72 hours of being raised by you, gotten a good dose of mom's colostrum, and started well on the bottle? Even giving away for free or $25 would seem to be a no brainer from a cost standpoint. Opinions?
     
  2. BlueHeronFarm

    BlueHeronFarm New Member

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    We sell wet bucklings at bargain basement prices. Sometimes - really - with just two shots of colostrum in them. I hear you - there is NO money for us in raising bucks, especially, since we are a dairy and that milk could be getting us $25/gallon or more. We sell them for "practically free" but for us, that just makes sense right now.

    The girls are trickier. We feed them the milk from recently wormed moms and hope to get them out by 9 days, max. Not working so well this year. :(

    Next year, we'll keep a cow. Kids can get raised on cow milk from our farm.
     

  3. SherrieC

    SherrieC Active Member

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    tiffany it depends on "Why" you are raising them? If you only need House milk, don't sell to others any milk product such as raw milk for $ 6-10 a gal, or soap every quart makes about $ 100 dollars of soap, or cheese ? and you don't need a replacement doe. You could Eat them is you best money option. they are same size as rabbits. Or put an add in your free paper for doe kids and see if you get somepeople on your waiting list. If I have a kid on the for Sale list the quicker it's Outta here the better. But if it's a replacement doe, I 'm money ahead to keep it. After I pay $500 dollars for a doe, and $ 350 to airship it in, and it turns out NOT show quality Or Low in the milk supply then I'm out that plus the year spent feeding it. (talking theory here happy with all babies I've bought from forum members!) While the two does out of Capulet this year, I'm resonably certain will grow up show quality and or at Least put 12 lbs of milk in the pail as adults.
    I put my add in for 4 -h whethers and get peoples names on a list this Year at the fair for next year. I have two saanen boys that would have been awesome little bucks for someone that no takers we butchered them yesterday. I take out as much Goat milk everyday as I need for soap making and house milk, and customers and then buy cow milk to replace what I steal. @ $ 2.50 a gallon
     
  4. Odeon

    Odeon New Member

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    I sell day old non-registered buck kids (future wethers) for $10, just to get them gone! Not worth my time to feed them, and I would rather put the effort into the does, and pre-ordered bucks!

    Ken in Idaho
     
  5. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    Jo@LaudoDeumFarm New Member

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    No money or point in bucks for us, so they are either humanely put down or raised for meat. No wethers here, thank you.

    Does are different. I can sell a nice doeling for 250-300. But here's the kicker. I may only sell 4 or so does a year. The other ones are put down or given away immediately, so I don't have to put money into them. The less I have to pay to feed extra animals the more money I can keep as profit, plus by having only a few does to take care of I can give them individual care, use disease prevention, raise by the bottle and ideally raise really nice goats for other people. The more you have the harder it is to raise a healthy and tame animal.

    Plus I just don't have much time to fool with a lot of animals and our local market for goats is s-l-o-w.

    And then there is the milk. I can sell our good raw milk for 10.00-13.00 a gallon here. Even if I use a gallon and a half a day, or two gallons of cow milk I can make more by selling raw milk.

    It's a heavy burden to try and raise all the goats that the animals produce. I'm not sure if anyone can really afford to raise all the animals their goats produce unless they have top quality bloodlines.
     
  6. Kaye White

    Kaye White New Member

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    I don't mess with bucks. If they aren't pre-ordered, they're destroyed at birth.period. By weaning time, with loss of milk sales, you're way in the hole.

    We had a discussion ...may have been on the old forum at the cost to raise a doeling to freshening at a yr. old and I think it was around $500. Another reason I destroy unworthy doelings. If they have flaws that I wouldn't like to have my herdname on, they're put down. Steep rumps, hocky, feet turned out, ect... They do get to live a little longer-maybe a week- to tell if they're worth selling or keeping before they're put down.

    Why do you think dairy bull calves are not kept? Same thing...cow's milk is worth more in the tank than in a calf. We do the calves with EXTRA milk from the goats or jersey. Less milk-less calves.
    Kaye
     
  7. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

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    We sell our doelings at 2 weeks. We want to make sure they are healthy and off to a good start so that's just what we do. Most are sold quickly, even before we're ready to let them go.

    Wethers are another story. More than half are sold quick & cheap. But there's always more. Last year we raised one to sell for meat to a co-worker of dh's. Big mistake that we won't make again. Cost us way too much in milk. This year we will be butchering some. Not sure how long we'll raise them...but not too long.

    Now if we constantly had more milk customers than milk we'd change our strategy I think.
     
  8. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    You will find that you can sell more doeling raised cae prevention than dam raised. That being said anything here not sold or used for replacement stock is butchered for our own consumption and those of our grown kids, I also have customers wanting goat meat.
     
  9. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

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    I have made some sales because people want stock raised CAE prevention, but most people don't even know what CAE is and could care less. Everytime I pasteurize milk I wander why I am bothering, considering that my wethers go for meat and my does go for milkers to people that don't care. Milkers only go for $200 here...not the $300-500 people can get in some places.

    That much said- I still pasteurize :lol And I only have 2 milk customers, so I just put milk into the kids.
     
  10. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    It's awhile before kids are drinking that much. In the last week, 4 does have kidded here, 2 bucks and 9 doelings. 1 Buck and 3 doelings are already at their new homes. 1 buck is presold and will fly to his new home in 3 weeks. 2 doelings I am keeping, 2 of the doelings are presold, leaving just 2 doelings unsold.

    Your thinking is short sited, sure it will take alot of saleable milk to raise out a nice kid for sale in 3 weeks, or to keep for yourself 16 weeks at least of milk, but you also have the rest of the lactation to use or milk for sales, the rest of the litter sold etc.

    It is hard when you start out marketing your goats...most don't market they somehow think people will come and buy although nobody knows you have goats. They end up putting that money into raising kids and then have no sales for what the kids are worth, then put them up for cheap come fall.

    It is cheaper for me to raise my babies on grocery store milk for $4 per gallon than to use my goatmilk which sells for $8 per gallon, even the milk I purchase for resale from other goat producers is $5 per gallon to them.

    Also until actually sold the milk is only costing you your actual costs....so unless you have every drop of milk sold, your milk going into kids is only charged at cost, not profit.

    All of this is why it's important to keep real records. Give the doe her due also, make sure the sale of her kids and the use of her milk for the family, or for sale is given to the doe. Most milk money is just absorbed into the family day to day money and in reality if all this money was saved it would pay her feed bill.

    But pens of unsold bucks is the first sign of a failed marketing plan. Come fall top breeders sell buckling unsold for 1/2 the price they were in the spring...does that make sense? You have to know first hand what you are going to do with your bucks before you breed your does. And if you don't need replacement doelings, and in most instances it's cheaper to buy a doe in milk (if you are not showing) than it is to raise one, so know what you are doing with the un-deposited doelings.

    Having a business plan for your livestock venture is key, flying by the seat of your pants, or having these animals as pets, will make you one of those who is in and out of goats in 3 years. Vicki
     
  11. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    Here. I rarely raise any bucklings on a bottle. I let their dams raise thhem for 10-12 weeks, then haul them to the aution to be sold for meat. I use to hang onto them until fall, figuring they would be heavier and bring more money. With feed costs, it just isn't worth it, so I take less per wether, but put way less feed into them. I bottle most of my doelings because it't easier to show and deal with tame kids. As for doelings who don't meet my standards, such as an extra teat, I have a buyer for them. He breeds them Boer and doesn't want to pay for registered stock. Kathie
     
  12. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    Our dogs have their own freezer!
    And we butcher young for people who want to grill them whole.
    We have decided bucks are a waste of milk and time unless they are stupendous out of a stupendous doe. We wether a couple if we have a great amt of graze (like this wet year) and butcher them in fall for the dogs. They do not get any grain and make what they make in the way of meat.
    Too many boys-Sad but true and part of the responsibility of goat rearing.
    Lee
     
  13. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    This year I let the kids nurse their dams for 3 days (the does get wormed when they freshen, so I can't consume the milk for 3 days anyway). Then I gave them to a friend to bottle raise. It was a win-win situation. I got to keep all the milk for my own children, and she got free goats.

    This was a crazy year (actually - they all seem to be crazy years). I didn't have any time to raise on CAE prevention, or any time to market the kids, so this was a money saver for me in the long run.

    PJ
     
  14. Kalne

    Kalne New Member

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    For us, this is a business that at some point we would like to earn a little from. Not sure if we will ever get to that point but it is a goal. We do take all the money from milk sales, eggs, goat sales, etc. and put it back into the animals. All of it. Once my soap business starts earning more and costing less to build that money will go into the animals as well. Dh works two jobs and we would all love for him to be able to drop the second.

    We are slowly working toward increasing the value of our stock. Registering, introducing better bloodlines, etc. I'm just not convinced there is a market for higher end animals in our area. In what way do you advertise? We only post at the local farm stores, internet sales lists, and the local ag. paper. We sell all does this way and 75% of the bucks/wethers.
     
  15. coso

    coso Guest

    I give all my unwanted bucks to a local lady. She milks about 30 head and feeds calves out and her bucklings. She thinks she can make a dollar on them, and I don't want them so it's a win win situation.
     
  16. farm mom

    farm mom New Member

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    Thanks all! I am planning on advertising for babies before they are born and my goal will to be get them out of here by two weeks, which is when we start drinking the milk. Not sure about the bucks. I guess I could either put them down immediately or try to sell as wethers by two weeks also. There is a man in our area who will by bucklings for $35 but not until after they are weaned. Which puts me in the negative again. Thanks for all your opinions and insight. Very helpful!
     
  17. farm mom

    farm mom New Member

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    Thanks again! I put the babies on craigslist tonight and they sold in just a few hours! They are being picked up on Friday and she just wants them as pets so they will have an easy life! Lets just hope my La Mancha has a doe as I really would like to keep one of those.
     
  18. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Good for you. Little bucks are as good eating as rabbits.