How to Sell, and Buy, a Goat

by Guinevere McIntyre

How to Sell a Goat

As much as we would love to keep all the goats born to our herds, genetics and the practicalities of husbandry and management require the selling of a goat (or several goats) from time to time. Below are various venues that are helpful in selling goats. Some are more effective than others for various reasons, such as your location, the type of goat and your herd in general, and the type of buyer you want to attract.

A website about your herd and goats


Craig’s List

Pennysaver or local newspapers

Ads/fliers at your local feed stores

Your local county extension office

A sale barn (auction barn – see info below)

A dairy production sale (Central States Dairy Production Sales)

The local county extension office can be helpful in getting in touch with area 4-H and FFA chapters. With the exception of an auction, all the options give you control over the selling price and who the goat ends up going home with.  At an auction you do have the option of announcing “no sale” if you are not willing to go through with the sale, but clearly doing that is something you would want to save for extreme circumstances.

The free advertising options include Craig’s List, a call or visit to the local county extension office, fliers at the local feed store (minus cost of paper/printing), and Facebook. Facebook has become very popular with many goatherds to advertise their animals and just keep people up to date with what’s going on in the herd in general.  Unfortunately Facebook has banned the sale of animals on the site, including livestock, so do not post prices, just show pictures of your goat(s) and let people know to pm (private message) you for more information.

It’s worth trying out a majority of the advertising options to see what fits your needs – each option has its advantages, and what is most important to you in the selling process is what will tip the scales one way or the other.

A good picture is worth a thousand words, from the side and also front and rear views (especially the udder of a mature doe). You may find it useful to plan out a sales policy – as an example, you can look at mine here.

Here’s to your beautiful goats going to beautiful homes!

How to Buy a Goat

These notes are directed mostly towards someone who is just getting into goats. This article includes a list of ways to find breeders and a few generalized tips on what to ask. These tips/questions are designed to be a springboard for your own research, and we strongly encourage every prospective goat owner to do their research and ask lots of questions before they buy.

“Goats make ideal 4-H and youth projects. The animals are interesting, like attention, are not expensive to buy or feed, are easily handled and transported, and are fun to show at fairs. Young people learn responsibility by having the daily care of goats. They learn about nature’s processes by caring for animals and they learn citizenship, sportsmanship, and the value of cooperation and of working with others by taking part in the club program. Goat breeders are usually very willing helpers with 4-H Goat Clubs, many furnishing leadership and information to help clubs along. A good way to start is to grow into the business by starting with a bred doe or a couple of kid goats.”

As you can see listed below, there are many avenues available for getting in touch with breeders. Some may be more effective depending on your location, your interests, and the time of the year (for the fairs).

Internet search (google, etc) for breeder’s websites or Facebook pages
IDGA breeder’s list
Craig’s List
Pennysaver or local newspapers
Ads/fliers at your local feed stores
Your local county extension office
County fairs/ Iowa State Fair
A sale barn (auction barn)

These can get you in touch with a variety of breeders, from a farmstead milking herd to a nationally-recognized show herd. Most options above give you a chance to find out goat’s past and learn about the herd it is from, with the exception of the sale barn/ auction barn. What you decide on is based on your needs, priorities, and goals.

What breed? Purebred or not? Each breed is unique! You may decide to choose one first and then locate a breeder, which may be a further drive but will get you started with the breed of your choice. Or you may want to take a look around and see what is available closer to home, and start from there. A link regarding papers/no papers:

Herd health? It is highly recommended to research what to look for in a healthy goat herd, and in a healthy goat in particular. There can be more than meets the eye, especially an unpracticed eye, so do some reading on goat health and ask some questions on goat husbandry forums before you get in touch with any breeder. There are some common and quite contagious caprine diseases that are wonderful to avoid.  Once in touch with a breeder, don’t hold back from asking plenty of questions, and requesting any test results that would be meaningful to you.

Price range? Prices for dairy goats can range widely, and as is often the case in many markets, the most expensive is not necessarily the best for your specific needs, and the least expensive is not necessarily the best deal. Do be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes!

Chances are, you will love every goat you bring home. They are so easy to love! Beyond that, is very important to bring home a goat who fits your goals and your husbandry style so you can have a smooth life-long relationship with that animal in your herd. Here’s to your new goats!

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