How To Start Dairy Goat Farming In The USA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that at the start of 2017, there were 373,000 dairy goats in the United States. There has been an increased interest in goat milk due to its high proteins and low cholesterol content. Are you pondering on how to start Dairy Goat Farming in the USA?

dairy goat farming in USA

Having assessed the market for dairy goat farming business within your location and developed a suitable business plan, it’s now time to act.

Starting a successful dairy goat farming will require the following steps:

  1. Choosing a suitable location preferably in the countryside
  2. Appropriate fencing of your farm
  3. Constructing suitable shelters for your goats
  4. Acquiring a license for your dairy farming business
  5. Selecting and purchasing suitable Doe goats
  6. Undertaking the necessary training in dairy goat keeping
  7. Constructing suitable feeders for your dairy goats
  8. Preparing suitable pasture for your goats
  9. Buying high-quality buck/billy for breeding
  10. Breeding Process
  11. Selling Dairy goat products and evaluating your profit

We shall discuss each of the above steps later in this article.

Is Dairy Goat Farming in USA Profitable?

Dairy goat farming is a profitable business with little cost of investment compared to cows.  As a prospective dairy goat farmer, your focus will be on goat milk and cheese (chevre) for sale. But you’ll definitely have some extra benefits: selling baby goats!

Doe goats will normally give birth in spring, and this will mark the beginning of your profitable milk production or Freshening.

8 weeks after your goats deliver, you can decide to sell the young babies and start earning from your investment. You’ll continue milking your goats for about 12 months!

As time goes, the quantity of milk produced by the does will gradually reduce. Well, this is normal. However, when the fall comes, you’ll need to breed your goats again for a new phase of high milk production in spring!

Did you know that even if your goats are pregnant you can still continue milking them? Yes! You can only stop 2 months before they deliverer their next baby in spring!

How much will a dairy goat cost you? On average, a dairy goat may cost you $ 100 to $ 300. The exact cost is determined by both the breed and the sex of the goat.

Spending more on purebred dairy goats is a positive step towards your successful dairy goat farming in the USA.

Benefits of Dairy Goat Farming in the USA

In order to start profitable dairy goat farming, you definitely need to have the passion and a clear dairy goat farming business plan. To ensure that you have a competitive advantage, you must be ready to learn.  

Here are some of the advantages that should inspire you to consider dairy goat farming in the USA:

  1. It’s not capital intensive hence you require very low initial investment capital to start.
  2. Goats mature very fast allowing you to easily increase your stock for enhanced milk and cheese production.
  3. It requires low maintenance and therefore, ensures you get higher returns in your investment.
  4. The waste products from the goats will enhance your farm’s fertility for enhanced production of the goat feeds or other crops.
  5. Constant milk production with just about a 2-month break when the doe is approaching to give birth
  6. Since most goat breeds are good at foraging, the cost of feeding them will be much lower. This is because they feed on different plants and other types of food.
  7. Goat milk and cheese have high protein content with low cholesterol which makes them popular and in high demand because of their health benefits.
  8. As a dairy goat farmer, you’ll be earning more income through the sale of young baby goats which will boost your dairy farming business.
  9. Goats feed on weeds hence your home compound “bushes” will be effectively controlled by your roaming feeding goats.

Steps on How To Start Dairy Goat Farming in the USA-

As a prospective dairy goat farmer, you must invest in knowledge to realize returns. The following are key steps toward realizing your dream as a successful dairy goat farmer in the States:

1. Choose a Suitable and Spacious Land For Your Dairy Goat Farming in the USA

Goats love freedom and roaming in groups. Therefore, it’s advisable that you get a spacious land that is free from pollutions. A countryside setting will be very suitable

feeding dairy goat

It’s important that your selected farmland is rich in goat feeds with adequate clean water.

2. Fence Your Farm Appropriately

Goats love to explore. They’ll always believe there are better feeds beyond your farm! Consider a suitable fencing design to ensure they don’t move out in search of a “greater” pasture!

This will not only ensure your goat’s security but will also save you from possible conflicts with your neighbors.  A loose goat will never do justice to your neighbors’ farm crops!

Your type of fencing will be determined by your type of dairy goat breeds. For shorter goat breeds such as the Nigerian Dwarf Goats, simple short fencing will do just fine. However, for other larger breeds such as the Nubian, you must consider higher and more robust fencing options.

3. Construct Suitable Shades/ Shelter For Your Dairy Goats

Considering that seasons change, have suitable shelters to keep your goats warm during rainy seasons and winter.

When your goats are pregnant and approaching to deliver new babies, they may not roam much. Ensure you construct suitable shades or shelters where they can be provided with different suitable feeds as their conditions get monitored closely.

goat shelter
Goat Shelter

It’s prudent that you construct different shades for the female goats ( does), male goats (bucks), and kids. Ensuring that the shades are kept clean, well-aerated, and dry will protect your goats against common diseases. It’s important that you take time to learn more about Goat Care during the winter season. Gots may be hardy but they cannot tolerate harsh cold conditions.

4. Get Required License for Your Dairy Goat Farm

Having made the necessary farm preparations, it’s time to contact your local authority so that you’re licensed as a dairy goat farmer. This is to ensure that you operate legally without the risk of your business being closed down for operating illegally.

5. Select and Purchase Suitable Dairy Goat Breed

It’s important to identify the market demands of the dairy goat products you plan to sell and earn profits. Selecting and purchasing only the dairy goat breeds known for high milk production is good for your business. Consult a professional farmer to guide you accordingly in selecting the most appropriate doe goat. Please note that goats hate being lonely! It’s therefore not recommended to keep a single dairy goat.

Some of the 4 common breeds to consider for your dairy goat farming in the USA are:

5.1. Nubians:

It’s the most common and popular dairy goat breed in the United States. They come in diverse colors including those that are white and black spotted.

5.2. Saanens:

They are the most widely distributed breed worldwide. They come only in white or cream colors. This is because they are a color-set dairy goat breed. It’s known to be a less trouble-some breed.

5.3. Alpines:

They are known to be adaptable and have the capacity to produce for several years.

5.4. Lamanchas:

This is a unique looking breed as they have no external ear cartilage. Don’t worry, they can still hear perfectly well. They are very inquisitive, and when you desire the friendliest of all the dairy goats, this is it!

6. Enroll For Training in Goat Farming

Your success as a dairy goat farmer in the USA will depend on your knowledge of goat keeping. Consider enrolling for a Goat Farming course at an institution near you. Consider this as an investment.

The training is necessary for equipping you with the necessary skills to:

  • Manage your dairy goat farm effectively to ensure you earn profits
  • Equip you with knowledge about goat diseases and their symptoms. This will guide you into taking timely and appropriate disease prevention and treatment measures where necessary.
  • Learn about the best and healthy ways to feed your goats for enhanced milk production
  • Be able to effectively care for your newly-born goats and pregnant does so that they remain in good health.

 7. Get Suitable Goat Feeders & Goat Aid Kit

Buy and install suitable feeders for both water and grain supplements. For maximum profit, ensure that water is always available for your goats as they feed on grain supplements. 

goat feeder
Goats eating in a domestic farm

Your goats may get injuries within the farm. Therefore, you need to consider purchasing and keeping a suitable Goat Aid Kit within your Farm House.

8. Make Your Own Dairy Goat Farming Pasture

Having your own goat pasture will help reduce your costs on goat food and hence boost your profit. Consult an expert goat farmer to guide you accordingly. Don’t risk making mistakes by relying on your common knowledge.

9. Buy a High-Quality Buck For Your Dairy Goat Farming

Get in touch with a reputable goat breeder to guide you in buying a buck that is known for high milk production. It’s very important that you invest only in a high-quality buck since this will determine the profitability of your dairy goat farming business in the U.S.A.

To ensure that your buck remains healthy and strong for desired reproduction, they should be fed on adequate and high quality feeds.

10. Dairy Goat Breeding

During the mating season in the fall, ensure that your buck stays with your Does in one room. This will ensure that most of your Does get pregnant for guaranteed milk production after they give birth.  Doe goat has a gestation period of about 145 days to 155 days. Note:  It’s not recommended to let one buck serve more than 10 Does. Reproduction may not be satisfactory.

11. Milk Production and Profit Evaluation

After successful breeding, most of your does will typically give birth to their young ones in spring. There refreshing (milk production) period will now begin. It’s important that you care for them accordingly for their continued good health.

8 weeks after your Does give birth, you can sell all their babies and continue milking them for almost 1 year.

Depending on the total number of Does you’ve, you will be able to evaluate your profits by subtracting all your total expenditures from all the total revenues earned from both milk and the sale of the young goats.

Other Factors Consider

To ensure that you continue reaping high-profits for your dairy goat farming in the USA, remember to:

  • Develop a healthy relationship with your veterinarian doctor for timely prevention and management of diseases or emergency situations.
veterinarian doctor
  • Be in close touch with other goat producers. Learn from them in order to improve on your dairy goat farming business.

Meshack Sewe

Meshack, is a tech-savvy Creative Copywriter, Poet, a Blogger, and a proud owner of few locally bred cows and goats. He first trained in Agricultural Engineering & later in Business Information Technology (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology). He has served both as Program Officer and Program Manager with two NGOs focusing on Agricultural & Humanitarian Programs targeting local communities.

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