We no longer use chain collars...they can cause deadly accidents
Goats are complicated animals. They are not lawn mowers, horse companions or roping objects. They get sick easy and die fast. They need quality clean, mold free food, hay and loose minerals, not blocks. They need to be checked daily for worm load, cysts, injuries and need frequent hoof trims. Goats are not something you buy, throw in your back yard and hope they do well. Goats need at least one other goat buddy, protection against weather and predators including the family dogs! ( are you willing to re-home your family pet if needed?) Goats need you to have medicine and emergency treatments on hand, because once you see them sick there will likely be no time to go shopping. Goats will need you to reinforce fences, clean up garbage, debris and trim all wire back as well as remove all ornamental plants trees and shrubs that can be toxic to them. You will need to walk their pasture and check for toxic plants. Vacations are a thing of the past unless you have a trustworthy Hand to take over while you're gone, and we all know no one will do as good a job as you! Leaving the home for more than a few hours is risky. If they dump their water over or drink a full bucket, or one gets stuck in the fence, heat stroke is deadly so you need to stay close. And goat behavior? Bucks pee on themselves and everything and everyone they can reach and they stink. Does scream bloody murder when in heat, they can bump you, ram you, jump on you if not trained well. There are several reasons why you don't want a goat. Be sure you understand each one BEFORE you get goats. While this may sound exaggerated, it's not. This is life with goats. And you should not get goats on a whim.
I can say without hesitation that I love this life and while it has its challenges, it brings us joy. If you still want goats, then let's talk about what to look for.
Always buy from a trusted source. Ask your goat friends for references. Never buy from sale barns unless you are looking to run a rescue. Sale barns are full of diseased and stressed animals. People often take the unhealthy or failure to thrive animals to the sale. Even if one came to the sale healthy, it's now been exposed to who knows what. Don't bring home someones else's troubles. Start with the best you can afford.
ALWAYS have at least 2. If you don't own any goats now..buy two. Goats are herd animals and while may do fine with out a buddy, will do much, much better and be much, much happier with at least one goat friend. A stressed, unhappy goat will often be more prone to illness and parasite issues. Although not necessary, even if you own goats now, if you can buy two together they will adjust easier to their new home and family when coming with a friend.
Whether the goat is registered or not is not important if you are just wanting pets or family milkers or a few meat goats for your own homestead. Papers do not guarantee more milk in the bucket. Papers can help with resell or the sale of the kids later. Know what is important to you. Papers or not, buy healthy!
A healthy goat will have bright, alert eyes, free of goop, glossy coats and pooping berries, chewing cuds, happy and frisky, staying with the herd and of good weight. Look at the whole herd. I have had folks here looking for goats and I show them everyone, even the one that may not be doing well. I share whats going on with that goat. We all have goats get ill no matter how well we care for them, however, if you see several sick and thin goats, you might want to look else where.
Look for lumps, bumps and boo boos on every animal you can get your hand on, but especially the one you look to buy. Study up on goat diseases and know CL locations and look for scaring there. Ask to see CAE test results and other testing you may wish to have done. If they don't test and you really like the animal, ask if you can test at your own cost.
Do not buy a wether (castrated male) that was castrated too young. This can lead to urinary Calculi issues. If you want a tiny bottle baby, and want it to be a wether, bring him back to the breeder or to the vet be castrated once he is 4-6 months old. By waiting to castrate you are allowing the ureter to grow in width which allows stones to pass more easily.
If you are buying a milker, ask to milk her. Know what a good udder should look like. A well attached udder means mom will milk for you long into her senior years with out worry of dragging her udder etc. If you are buying a young Doe..look at her teats, should only be two then look at her mom for structure and milk her if you can.
Meat goats are allowed more flaws in the teat department but attachment is still very important. Know what the breed should look like and model your selection after what you have learned.
You will often find healthy animals that are thinner than you like, or too fat or hooves not done as often, while these issue should give you pause, have you looking deeper, it should not be a sole reason to pass on the goat. Trust your gut. If you walk into a place and your stomach is turning, heart beating too fast then walk away. If you are having a little doubt, take lots of pictures to share with a trusted goat mentor and let them know you will get back with them.
A final note: Babies should be disbudded with in the first few weeks of life. Larger breeds can be born ready while minies can take a week or two before ready. If a seller tells you they can disbud a baby who already has horn growth above the skin line..say no thank you and find another breeder. Disbudding too late is not only more painful and risky for baby, but will more than likely end in bad scurs. While disbudding is not fun, when done properly and on time, its quick and safe. Dehoring and banding would never be an option here at Happy Bleats. Understand the risks before you enter into any such an arrangement.