There is so much truth in this saying especially when it comes to livestock! This has been a slow sales year for us, but certainly not 'less interesting.' This year we have had an increase in the volume of people contacting us to only tell us about our 'over priced' goats and hot accusations that we are basically a 'puppy mill' for goats! Lol. Well folks--you get what you pay for ;)
What does a 'Puppy Mill' for goats look like? How about any number of goats 4-100 that literally have no purpose. Sure you milk one or two goats, but the other number... they just crank out babies. You keep your buck with all your does and his kids so he can get them pregnant too. You have no idea when animals are bred or not.. they just drop babies left and right, they are inbred to their teeth, and their pens are made out of literally GARBAGE tied together to make a barrier. And since you cant afford to feed X amount of goats--you need to sell them. So every so often you 'bail-out' half a dozen goats for a hard to resist price (usually $75 and under) so you don't drown in your feed bill.. which really isn't much since you feed moldy cow hay and chicken scratch anyway...
Do you have a breeding goal other than 'more babies?' Sure do! You want a 'rainbow' of goat colors and a few cool looking goats.. maybe throw a Boer Buck in with your Nigerian, Pigmy, Nubian mixed herd to make some 'dual purpose' goats.
And you are such a humanitarian, unlike those 'breeders' with overpriced goats, providing dozens of 'affordable' babies every spring...winter...fall...summer...er--when ever they have kids.
Are we a Puppy Mill? No, our goats get to wander outside of their pens, go on grazing walks, and enjoy the homestead life while providing us with milk. And no, our homestead is not 'pretty' because we are working from the ground up, and with what little our low-income situation provides (coupled with using income earned from our goats/garden) we are very slowly making improvements. Patience is a virtue-- and its part of our goal to become independent from Modern 'LIFE.'
Are our goats over priced?? That depends on what you define as overpriced. Our goats babies are sold to purchase feed for the herd through the winter. And to help offset other necessary herd expenses. Then, there is the evaluation... do we need another milker? Are we happy with the offspring produced/ would we keep them? How is/was the parents productivity? What did mature siblings produce?? Pricing is set based on these questions and more. The 'perfect goat' with the high productivity, perfect udder, great conformation--is most likely going to stay. All other animals may/will be sold or eaten. Animals for sale may not be 'perfect' (not many goats are)-- but they do have traits we feel could be easily improved on, or at least they are sufficient to be used on a homestead.
I'm not God, I don't get to dictate what genetics an animal has. And I'm not particularly fond of pricing animals based on papers-- I need milk, so prices reflect to my best ability as a breeder to asses my animals ability to MILK. Not to be someone else's idea of perfect. We do breed to standard and work toward improving/maintaining good conformation and show quality animals, but again.. not every breeding is going to produce that 'TOP TEN' breed leader ELITE animal. And I don't expect it to.
In short-- if you are not satisfied with our work, Don't buy. We do our best to represent our animals accurately, and that is really all we can do. But I am not going to sell my animals for peanuts because you know someone who has 'minis' for under $150. Our prices reflect the work put in-- and someday I hope that work is more obvious. But starting out in the Southwest has not been easy. NO ONE breeds quality minis, and finding people to purchase from to get started--forget it. We have to IMPROT animals from across the US in order to get the genetic diversity necessary at times.
So, unless you would like to pay my feed bill (about $2500/yr). Pay to import quality bucks for breeding ($800-$1000). And Pay for all my goats other miscellaneous needs for the year ($1000 average) --not really interested in hearing complaints. What I sell my animals for BARELY covers the feed costs if I am lucky.
Where you buy from typically makes a difference::::
The difference... in a picture....
Are 'breeder's goats' really THAT different from the $100 goat on Craigslist??? They cant be worth the ridiculous $400-$1000 price tag! Really? For a goat???!
A picture can say a thousand words... here are some pictures of goats that were actually offered for sale, AND were being listed as excellent DAIRY/MEAT quality animals. Lets see if a breeder is ripping people off----
What ever--registered goats are just for 'LOOKS' of course they 'look better', that doesn't mean the goats to the left aren't good milk producers. True... if you don't actually need high quality milk. And don't care that your udders are going to be difficult to milk/ mastitis prone as they sag with age...
Some of the goats listed as examples above are all registered--and have ugly udders/poor productivity. Why? Well folks the harsh reality is that some breedings look great on paper and then just don't pan out. The other issue is when people purchase from breeders thinking they should/or do have the best animals and forget (or neglect) to breed up! Animals that breeders sell are not always gem stones-- you still NEED TO BREED UP. Don't just buy a goat, then randomly breed it. Look at how the udder looks on BOTH sides of the family, and determine if the buck you are going to use may help increase positive traits.
The goat on the left is the FIRST craigslist ad I have seen with honest pricing. And the seller even gave a very honest opinion about the goat, and what a buyer should consider when breeding. Sadly this persons advise will likely go un-noticed. The doe herself was also listed for sale for $350-- and if bred to the right buck, her offspring may yet turn out to be excellent milking animals... not EVERY First Freshener is going to be a rock star like the doe on the right!
The Question + The Answer::
Are breeders trying to rip people off?? NO, however not every person who calls themselves a breeder is focused on herd improvements either ;) Not every breeder has a fancy web page, but not every breeder shows either. Finding a GOOD reputable breeder is going to depend on YOUR goals for your herd.
If you don't think the goats on the left are 'bad' or you would rather own one of them.. no worries. 90% of goat owners have animals just like these, and will sell at a price you can afford. Only 10% of goat owners are actually focused on the breed(s) they raise with the intent to breed them to the breed standards. And even fewer of that 10% show in competitions/evaluations to see if their program is on-track or not. V-shows are not that popular.. and few people have the time to take their goats to a live evaluation...let alone pay for an extra expense.
My hat is off to those who can and do show. It takes a tremendous amount of work. But we are not able to partake. Being off-grid means we take cuts in a lot of places. We are not like most 'off-griders' who start out with tons of money and build a house/farm with full utilities as if they were on-grid. We are building from the ground up, and focusing on our animals vs. our need to have electricity... ever clear ice out of a bucket to take a shower when its 20 degrees in your house?? I have. And I have eaten rice (3x a day with nothing but salt) for two weeks to pay for my goats vet bill.
If buying from "poor people" who focus 100% on their animals 'bothers you' and you cant stand the thought that I am going to buy hay, pay for registrations, medications, or build a barn for my beloved goats with the money earned from selling their babies, older animals, culled wethers, etc. in order to make my herd SELF-SUSTAINING--please don't buy from me.
If you want a 100% guarantee that you are going to have the hottest FF doe in town with the best udder, and 2 gallons a day production. You're going to be disappointed. And again--please save us both some time-- don't buy from me, Its that simple.
I breed the best goats I can produce--which takes time. Trial and Error, and a whole ton of $$ to import good bloodlines I don't have. I work with the best resources available to me. And strive to have goats like the ones on the Right. And fortunately for me-- I have been able to fill my herd with animals like them, or pretty darn close! But not every doe/buck produced has been an exact replica of their parents as we have wished--that's genetics-- and we sold them. If every goat we produced was top-grain my pricing would be 2-3x what they are currently because very few people have a herd of 'perfect' dairy goats... and they would command top dollar to be used for breeding programs across the US.
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