The hardest part about breeding goats is selling goats. No matter how attached you get, you just can’t keep them all. When you do have goats you need to sell, figuring out what they’re “worth” can be even trickier. While there’s no real rules out there to pricing out your goats properly, there are a few factors you can use as a guide. Knowing how to price your goats can help keep your breeding program well supported.
What Have You Put Into Them?
The best place to start is by assessing what have you already done with the goat for sale that adds value to that animal
Registered vs. Unregistered
One of the biggest factors in pricing is whether or not your goat is registered with a well known and respected national organization such as the American Dairy Goat Association of American Goat Society. Even if you’re not serious about pedigrees or shows, registering your goats can ensure they go to better homes for a better price. If you plan to be breeding and selling your goats, registered goats are a good investment for selling your kids or mature goats. Unregistered goats are usually sold for a much lower price, and run a bigger risk of being sold into questionable situations.
Disbudded vs. Horned
Disbudding adds value to your goats. Horned goats can’t be shown in sanctioned goat shows, and even pet buyers usually look for goats that have been disbudded for safety reasons.
Having a clean, tested herd makes a big difference when selling your goats. If you’ve invested in yearly testing for major diseases within your herd, and have available documentation for buyers, that’s a big value. Some people will only buy goats from herds that test for CAE, CL and Johnes. This means that yearly testing will not only give you peace of mind for your own biosecurity, but will open up your goats to buyers who are stringent about their own biosecurity.
Know Your Market
Who are you selling to? Are you selling to dairy homes? Show homes? Homesteads looking for milk goats for their family needs? Pet homes? It’s very important to identify who your market is, and what comparable goats to yours are selling for currently. Markets tend to fluctuate – sometimes they’re over-saturated, or it’s just a bad year for everyone in general. Sometimes certain breeds are more popular than others. It varies. Know what other breeders are asking for and price accordingly
The key is not to price yourself out of your market in either direction. When people want to get goats sold, they think dropping their prices is the best way to go. Unfortunately, that tends to drag down the whole market value of comparable goats, and will leave you without the appropriate return on your investment to be able to continue to afford breeding goats sustainably. Know what’s reasonable for the current market and ask for what your goat’s are worth
To Every Season
The time of year can greatly affect pricing your goats. Goat sales tend to be hottest in early spring when 4-H kids are looking for show and market prospects, milking starts up again, and babies are abundant. Sales also increase again in the fall when people are looking to move goats out of their herd before winter. Try to time your goat sales appropriately if possible
Bells and Whistles
A lot of farms price their goats according to special designations the goat has earned, or the designations of the dam and sire. Generally the kids from a first freshener will be much lower than kids out of finished Champion, or AR starred milker. Having goats from well proven lines and breeding can also increase the asking cost.
Create a Formula
One of the best ways to help guide your pricing can be to establish a formula for yourself. This can help serve as a good guideline for keeping your prices consistent, and take a lot of stress out of pricing your goats.
You have doeling A you want to sell. She’s disbudded, registered with ADGA, and comes from tested parents. You’ve looked at your market and know that $500 is a reasonable base price. Now, the dam also happens to be be a finished Champion, so you decide this increases the value by $50.
Doeling B is also disbudded, registered with ADGA, and comes from tested parents. The base price would also be $500. However, this doeling’s damn has her AR* for milk production, and was on ADGA’s Elite Doe list. Because you are a dairy herd and milk production is a big value to your market, that doeling’s price is increased by $100. The sire also has his *B for dairy production, so you increase the price by another $50.
Come up with a strategy that works for you and your market. You can still be flexible with your pricing, but having a basic pricing strategy in place will give you a guideline to keep things from becoming too overwhelming. Decide which traits add value, how much value each trait you think adds, and price accordingly. Some of these factors often include:
- Age of the goat
- If they have any offspring with strong, viewable traits
- Champion legs
- Milking designations
- Superior Genetics designations
Be Fair to Yourself
The most important thing is to be fair to yourself when it comes to pricing your goat. You know what you’ve put into your breeding program. You know the money you’ve spent on feed, and vet care, and testing and fencing, and housing, and the million other little things it takes to keep a goat healthy and happy. So you need to be sure your keeping your pricing at a level that keeps your goat program sustainable for you in the end.