Maximizing Auction Success: A Comprehensive Guide for Goat Owners
Auctions can be valuable platforms for goat owners, offering opportunities for both large commercial meat goat producers and the average goat raiser. In this guide, we’ll explore the dynamics of auctioning goats, covering aspects relevant to both meat and dairy, culling strategies, engaging local ethnic clients, direct farm sales, market awareness, and buyer precautions.
In the U.S., there is a much higher demand than there is supply. The number of goats has been dwindling for years. It’s time to take advantage of that!
If you’re raising goats, then you’ll need to be keeping really good records:
1. Commercial Meat Goat Producers vs. Average Goat Raiser:
- Commercial Producers: These stakeholders often focus on large-scale production for the meat market, emphasizing weight, health, and uniformity. And they have a large number of goats they will be selling. Some very large commercial producers will ship their goats by the truck load directly to the contract buyers.
- Average Goat Raiser: Individuals with smaller herds may prioritize diverse traits, including personality, milk production (for dairy goats), and sustainability. A goat herd multiplies very quickly and sometimes it can get out of control and you just can’t feed and keep that many goats. Many times, it will be the wethers headed to the auction and their end destination, although not a meat goat, will sell for meat purposes.
2. Incorporating Meat and Dairy:
- Meat Goats: Emphasize weight gain, conformation, and overall health. If you use the same auction house for years, the buyers at the auction will come to know your herd’s distinct value, which will benefit both you and them.
- Dairy Goats: When you’re raising dairy goats, most likely you’ll be wanting to sell your animals directly to individuals. Highlight milk production, lineage, and genetic traits. Breed your goats to aline with having kids ready to sell at shows.
3. Culling Strategies:
- Identify and remove goats that no longer contribute positively to the herd.
- Reasons for culling may include age, health issues, production decline, or meeting market demand.
- To raise the best herd possible, it’s very important to be culling regularly. You only want the best in your herd.
4. Involving Local Ethnic Clients:
- Recognize the preferences of local communities.
- Tailor offerings to meet specific cultural and culinary requirements.
- Goats are very popular in ethnic communities. Find those groups of people and ask them when they prefer to buy their meat and what if they have a preferences, you can cater to their needs. It’s a win for both of you!
5. Selling Directly from the Farm:
- Offer a personalized experience for buyers.
- Highlight the advantages of purchasing directly from the source, such as transparency in health management and herd history.
- If the prices at the auction house are low, it will have to be determined if it makes sense to hold on to the goats until the prices are higher or if it makes sense to sell to lesson the output of hay and resources until prices are better. Another option in this case is finding local people in your area to sell the meat directly to.
6. Understanding the Local Meat Goat Market:
- Research market trends and demand in your area.
- Establish relationships with local processors and distributors.
- Some areas (like the area where we live), don’t have a high demand for goat meat. You may need to get creative as you introduce this type of meat to your area! But with quality and more knowledge about it, comes more demand!
7. Contacting Auction Houses:
- Notify auction houses in advance of delivery. Give at least a ten day advance notice.
- Provide accurate information about your goats, including health records, deworming, and vaccination history.
- You can visit the auction to evaluate how the animals are cared for in the pens and during the auction. By contacting the auction house prior to the sale, your goats can be marketed and advertised to the buyers that make their rounds to all of the auctions throughout your state.
8. Cautions for Buyers:
- Disease Prevention: Buyers should be vigilant to avoid introducing diseases to their herds. Not all goats go to the sale sick or diseased, but there are many goats that go through the sale barn because they are old, sick or have a disease. And some goats bought at the sale barn are past the point of no return. If they are sick, and you buy them, it will be an uphill battle to save them. Just keep that in mind if you go to auctions to save goats. These culls that end up at the sale barn may be goats who are poor mothers, have mastitis, a disease, or just a goat with less breeding stock qualities. And the goats that went to the sale that didn’t have any problems were intermingled with the ones that do, and potentially were infected with something along the way.
- Questioning Sellers: Find the goats who interest you, inquire about deworming, vaccination history, and the overall background of the goat if possible. If the details can’t be answered beforehand, then the goat is inspected after purchase.
9. Post-Auction Care for Purchased Goats:
- Quarantine: Keep the new goat(s) quarantined for at least a month. This will help protect your herd as you monitor the goats and inspect them.
- Health Checks: Inspect for missing teeth, udder/teat conditions, and overall physical health.
- Dealing with Stress: New arrivals will be stressed; gradually introduce changes in diet.
- Routine Care: Deworm, administer vaccinations, trim hooves, and monitor overall well-being.
- Some times a goat that’s bought at the sale barn won’t fit your program and will need to be culled and will end up at the auction house again.
Success at auctions for goat owners involves a delicate balance between understanding market demands, culling effectively, catering to diverse buyer needs, and ensuring post-purchase care. Whether in the realm of meat or dairy, forging connections with both auction houses and local communities enhances the overall sustainability and profitability of goat-raising endeavors.
Learn more about how to raise healthy goats: Raising Goats Resource Page