The Cost of Buying and Keeping a Dairy Goat for Beginners: How Much do Dairy Goats Cost? 

Have you ever wondered, “how much do dairy goats cost to buy and keep?” Whether you’re looking to start a new goat dairy business or if you’re simply trying to work out if you can afford to buy a dairy goat to keep as a pet, knowing how much dairy goats cost before buying them is crucial. This helps ensure you’re in a good position to look after your dairy goat well and keep them healthy and happy. 

But remember: while it’s good to know how much dairy goats usually cost, this isn’t a definitive figure. As such, it’s always important to be prepared for any unexpected expenses that could arise. Plus, the feed cost is always changing, so you could find that the cost to keep a dairy goat fluctuates a little yearly. So, make sure to account for this in your calculations to keep things accurate!

Things to Consider When Asking: How Much do Dairy Goats Cost? 

When asking yourself, “how much do dairy goats cost,” it’s important to remember that the exact cost will vary based on countless different factors. After all, goats aren’t a machine – they’re all living, breathing animals. And, just as every person is unique, every goat will also have unique requirements.

The Cost of Buying a Dairy Goat 

One of the biggest costs you will face for buying and keeping a dairy goat is the purchase price alone. Of course, it’s hard to figure out how much it will cost to buy a dairy goat since this depends on many factors. The breed of goat and its age will often be the most significant. 

However, individual breeders will also charge different amounts based on their own input costs. For example, a breeder of dairy goats who is following a health scheme will have higher costs than someone who doesn’t. As such, their goats will likely be more expensive – but come with the reassurance that they’re not carrying nasty diseases.

Generally speaking, for an unregistered, non-pedigree goat, you’ll be looking at a much lower price tag. This may be around the $100-$200 (£75-150) mark or so. However, some unregistered dairy goats could still be more expensive than this, especially if they are proven to be high milk producers or if they have great bloodlines. Kids are usually cheaper to buy than adults.

Alternatively, if you are considering a pedigree goat, be prepared to pay more. Around $250 to $500 (£200 to £400) is a pretty typical price for pedigree dairy goats of different breeds. These may be more likely to produce great volumes of milk, and having a recorded pedigree may make them easier to manage and breed. After all, accidental inbreeding isn’t a good thing!

The Cost of Keeping a Dairy Goat 

Once you’ve purchased your dairy goat, you’ll need to consider how much it costs to feed them. If the dairy goat isn’t in production (i.e., she’s not milking) then her costs will likely be a lot lower – but, of course, then you won’t be able to enjoy any delicious goat’s milk from her! So, this is always an important point to consider.

We should also reiterate here that every dairy goat is different. Breeds such as Saanens versus Nigerian Dwarves have wildly different feed requirements. However, even among members of the same breed, no single feeding chart will work for everyone, influencing the price.

Generally speaking, assuming a large-sized dairy goat (such as a Saanen or a Nubian), you can generally expect them to eat around 2kg of feed per day. If this all comes from grass, great news – the cost of feeding your goat is almost negligible! However, if you need to feed hay or grain, the cost will increase significantly. Hay is often around $200 per tonne or more nowadays (around £150). If each goat eats around 60kg (120lbs) of hay per day, that means her basic feed cost would be around $10 (£8).

That’s not too bad before we consider that most dairy goats will need grain, too. However, if we add around 1 pound of grain per day (around 500g) for a generic dairy goat in low milk production, that would be around 30lbs of grain per month. Grain is usually around $500 per tonne or more when bought in small quantities – meaning you’ll be looking at around an extra $10 for grain. Now, your dairy goat will likely be costing around $20 (£15) per month to feed – or around $250 per year. Suddenly, the price seems to have spiked!

How to Reduce the Cost of Keeping a Dairy Goat

Keeping a dairy goat can be expensive, but there are several ways you can reduce the cost. These include:

  • Take proactive action on your goat’s health to prevent diseases, which is much cheaper than treating them once they’ve already set in!
  • Try to choose a smaller or more efficient dairy goat breed if you don’t need large volumes of milk production to cut the cost of grain inputs.
  • Optimize your goat’s mineral supplements to ensure that they’re getting most of what they need from minerals, which are often more affordable than grains. 
  • Buy efficient goats from the outset! A “cheap” goat is usually cheap for a reason – and saving $100 on the purchase price means nothing if you need to feed her twice as much to maintain her condition!

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been looking to buy a dairy goat, you’ll need to consider how much they cost first. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to get caught out by underestimating how much dairy goats cost. However, this can leave you struggling to afford to keep your beloved new dairy goats. After all, keeping goats can be surprisingly expensive – and dairy goats are often more expensive than other breeds due to their high production requirements. 

So, this is important to consider as part of your decision to buy a dairy goat; after all, you should never buy a goat unless you’re confident you can afford it. And remember, you should always have at least two – ideally three – goats to keep each other company, so the cost of keeping a small dairy goat herd will also be higher.

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