Animals that can survive in areas where much other livestock can’t, goats are good to have on a farm.
Raising goats for milk is becoming more popular, but there’s also a huge demand for the meat. If you’d like to get in on the business, read on for some tips on rearing goats for meat.
Advantages of Goat Rearing
Goats have many benefits over other livestock. They will eat forage that other domesticated animals won’t touch.
In fact, goats can help add healthier grazing to your pastures. They can be picky about their food but will eat a wide variety of plants.
Goats are also smaller and require less space than most other farm animals. Besides, they will mature quickly if you pick the right breed.
Meat Goat Breeds
In selecting goats that are best for meat, you’ll want to stick to those that grow quickly and pack on weight easily.
Below are the most popular breeds if you will be selling to make a profit.
- Myotonic (Fainting Goats)
Dairy goats tend to grow more slowly since you want them to produce milk for as long as possible. However, if you have harsh conditions like extreme heat or very cold weather, this will be another consideration in what breed you’ll choose to raise.
The best meat goat to raise depends on the breed you select, your available land space, and how you care for them.
The most common is the Boer goat, a hardy breed. Mature bucks can weigh up to 340 pounds while mature does can weigh up to 240 pounds . Moreover, they do well in hot climates as well as cold climates.
The Kiko is another large breed, but they require more space than Boers.
Goats are herbivores, eating primarily plants.
Hay is a good source of nutrients. It is a common feed, particularly in winter months when there might not be enough plants in the pasture to keep them fed.
The best option for raising organic goats is to have a pasture with grass or legume. Alfalfa and clover are good options. Also, have plenty of forage such as trees and shrubs that are good for shade as well.
Moreover, if you have a lot of overgrown pastures, your goats can help clear them out. Furthermore, if you’re doing the business of selling organic goat meat, ensure that all your feed is organic to meet the regulations for organic meat in your area.
The first thing to know is your breed. Most will come into heat during the fall and winter, from September to February.
During their fertile season, females (does) will go into heat every 18 to 21 days. They’ll generally be louder, make moaning sounds, and wag their tails.
You can do an ultrasound about 30 days post-breeding or a blood test 60 days after breeding to check if your doe is pregnant.
Gestation is about 150 days . A doe can have 1 to 5 kids at a time, with the average being 2-3.
This is one of the biggest sticking points. You may slaughter from six to 12 months. However, always check your local laws to be sure you’re meeting regulations for meat safety if you intend to sell it.
You might make less if you need to send them off to be processed elsewhere or have your clients buy “live” weight.
A quick blow to the head makes it unconscious. Next, hang and bleed the goat by slitting the throat immediately. This is humane slaughter, where the goat suffers very little stress before it dies.
After the animal is bled, remove the head and hooves before skinning and gutting. Be sure to save the organs since most are edible and are also considered delicacies.
Aging the meat for a few days is generally a good idea for more flavor and tenderness. Hanging in a refrigerator works well, but be sure to do additional research to make sure you’re doing so safely.
For more information on how to slaughter a goat, here is a typical butcher’s guide that you can follow.
Using the Manure
If you have a garden, goat manure can make your business even more valuable for you.
Moreover, this manure can easily be applied as fertilizer directly without the worry of burning plants like cow or horse manure can.
You can also compost it for a wonderful mulch. Additionally, it is generally odorless, so it’s less offensive to the nose than manure from other animals.
Goat manure is rich in nitrogen and potassium. Plus, you can work it easily into the soil right before planting.
See also: raising rabbits for meat.
To start a goat farm and be successful at it takes time and effort, but most importantly, you have to cultivate a love for it.
The business of selling goats for meat is very profitable these days. Therefore, if you have land space, definitely look into this venture. Plus, you’ll have manure that is perfect for organic farming.