General Overview (Do you want to be a goat producer?)

Linda Coffey - NCAT/ATTRA

Unit Objective

After completion of this module of instruction the producer should be able to state reasons for making the decision to raise meat goats. The producer should be able to provide examples of different meat goat production systems. The producer should be able to name the common breeds used in a meat goat production program. The producer should be able to score a minimum of 85% percent on the module test.

Specific Objectives

After completion of this instructional module the producer should be able to:

  1. Match common goat terms with their definitions.
  2. Name the three categories of goat production within the United States.
  3. Identify the optimum pasture for a meat goat production system.
  4. State some problems that must be dealt with before beginning a meat goat operation.
  5. Discuss the different production systems that should be considered prior to starting a meat goat production program.
  6. Identify the different markets that are available for a meat goat production program.
  7. Identify the different meat goat breeds which are available for a producer to select for the meat goat production program.
  8. Evaluate each breed and breed characteristic for possible selection for a production program.
  9. State some factors that a producer should consider prior to selecting a breed for the farm operation.
  10. Explain some common diseases that affect a meat goat production operation.
  11. Match some disease symptoms/observed characteristics to possible diseases that a goat might be carrying.

Module Contents

  • Introduction
  • Why Raise Goats? (not Cattle or Emus?) What are the Advantages?
    • Strong market/ethnic demand = strong prices
    • Low cost (to buy and raise)
    • Different grazing preferences = better use of diverse forages
    • Different grazing habits = sustainable control of weeds and brush
    • Prolific breeders = rapid building of herd size and/or salable kids
    • Shorter production cycle = quick return on investment
    • Goats combine will with cattle enterprises = increased income AND control of brush
    • What Problems Must Be Dealt With?
      • Fences
      • Fencing for goats is more expensive than for other livestock
      • Internal parasites
      • Predators
      • Lack of knowledge
    • Production Systems
      • Extensive – range or pasture/woods, not handled much
      • Pastured and rotated – managed intensive grazing
      • Pastured but not rotated
      • Dry lot, fed purchased hay and grain
    • Markets and Marketing
      • Meat for ethnic holiday markets
      • Meat for the open market
      • Meat for on-farm sale
      • Goats for brush control
      • Breeding stock for commercial herds
      • Breeding stock for show herds
    • Breeds and Breed Characteristics