Every year, I like to write up a current breakdown of how much it costs us to raise goats. In 2018, the cost of raising goats came out to $480 per doe per year. The 2019 cost changed little, coming in at $483 per doe per year. This coming year, 2020, our numbers have increased, so let’s walk through the costs of raising goats again and see how we compared to the last two years.

First off, we plan to winter 21 does and 2 bucks, or 23 total, up from 19 for 2019. (Wait til you see the 2021 numbers we’re planning, that’ll change things!). Let’s look at the costs per category now.

**Hay**

We’re back with our original supplier at $70 per ton. I figure 600 pounds of second cutting alfalfa per animal per year. I calculate for growing kids at this rate as well, because it’s better to err on the side of excess. Last year’s major hay shortage went unnoticed at our place because we’d bought in more than we needed and the lengthy winter saw us sitting pretty on a big stack of hay. I’d like that to be the norm every year.

At 23 head, 600 pounds each comes to 13,800 pounds, rounded up to 7 tons to get us through 6 months of winter. We make silage out of lawnmower clippings and cut tree hay as we’re able, so that helps but I don’t ever count it in totals because again, I’d rather have way more than I need.

We pasture all season long but did end up feeding alfalfa through half the summer to keep the milkers milking well. I’d like to calculate an additional 2 bales per week through summer, or about 50 bales. I think our current rate is 33 bales per ton, so for simplicity’s sake, we’ll add 2 tons to the total, bringing us to 9 tons needed to get us through until next second cutting.

Our total hay cost for 2020 will be $630, or $28 per goat.

**Minerals**

I’m really happy with the consistent sleek, healthy gleam of my goats using New Country Organics minerals. We go through about 20 pounds per goat per year, or 460 pounds for our current numbers. I just bought in my annual pallet of minerals and the cost came to $47.35 per 50-pound bag. Rounded up to the next bag, that comes to 10 bags. We don’t have to add mineral supplements such as copper with this mineral, but I do buy a couple tubs of MSM powder in spring to knock down lice naturally. MSM Powder comes to about $14 per tub after tax, or $28 per year.

Our total mineral cost per year is $501, or $22 per goat.

**Grain**

We source unsprayed whole grains from a local supplier by the ton. We weighed just the other day and are going through about 1.10 pounds per doe per milking. We milk once a day and just now dried off. I typically forecast a 305-day lactation for my estimates in case I ever have the motivation to continue that long. Our last purchase put us at $.16 per pound, or $53.68 per doe per 305-day lactation.

Grain cost for 2020: $53.68 per doe | $1,127.28 per year

**Blood Testing**

We only tested for CAE this year and will probably continue only testing for that. After supplies, testing and shipping, the total cost was about $115 for 17 goats, or $6.76 per animal.

**Medicines/Veterinary**

We spend very little in this department. I think in 2019 so far I’ve spent $150 and that was on x-rays for a doe acting off after delivery. I’ll budget $200 per year for such incidentals, but our medical supply kit (herbs, mostly) is pretty well rounded at this point and I forage for a bit of what we use.

**Supplies/Equipment**

We spent about $1,000 on a milk machine this year, almost immediately after I posted that we were done using them. That’s what I get! I want to increase my annual allocation for expenses like these from $100 to $300. We have the basics, but one large purchase like this shoots that budget out of the water. We’re considering buying a larger bucket for milking this coming year, which will cost about $125 by itself.

**Registrations**

We registered 22 kids from 15 does in 2019 for a total cost of roughly $175, or $12 per doe. Annual membership is $25, so with 21 does this year, $13 per doe is sufficient.

**Fencing**

Here’s what I wrote in 2018 and copied into 2019, now coming to 2020:

“It would cost us about $4,500 to replace our perimeter fence, which we estimate at every 10 years. It’ll likely last longer than that, but budgeting that ($450/year) allows us funds for cross fencing, putting up additional pens and replacing posts as needed.”

**Website/Hosting**

We pay $8 per month for hosting and around $14 per year for the domain, for an annual cost of $110.

**Labor**

I have been figuring $3,000 of labor per year for just the goat side of the operation. I anticipate this number increasing for 2020; $3,000 at $20 per hour is 150 hours per year. We will be dabbling in shows next year. With an increase in numbers comes an increase in maintenance and feeding/kidding time. I don’t calculate milking in this time because I charge that labor time to the cost of producing milk, an entirely different operation for my personal accounting preferences.

It’s hard to calculate just how much time we spend. In winter, it’s maybe an hour every week, doing a daily quick walkthrough and weekly feeding. That goes from November to February, when kidding begins, or a total of about 3.5 months; 14 hours.

Kidding season is our busy time and we spend probably 3 hours per day on average I’d guess, between kidding checks, disbudding, kid care and, most time consuming, marketing. That season lasts about 2 months, or 180 hours. For perspective, I want to share that 30 of our 38 kids born in 2019 were born over 6 consecutive days so very little time overall was spent on kidding checks. (It was awesome!)

Once kids wean, our daily interaction is milking at an hour a day not counted here but listed for your reference. Goats are on pasture then and require very little in the way of daily maintenance. Through summer, we’ll be back to an hour a week average, with spurts for prepping for linear, shows, etc. I only know of 2 planned shows that between them might create an additional 20 hours of time, so from May through October, 44 hours.

This brings the annual total to somewhere around 238 hours, or $4,760 in labor at $20/hour.

**Insurance**

We spend about $1,000 per year for the farm and liability portion of our insurance policy.

**Linear Appraisal**

This costs about $250 per year, reduced if we host any other herds but we will factor the total cost in our calculations.

**In Summary:**

When I figure these costs, I divide the bucks’ cost over the number of does they’re serving, since they don’t produce kids of their own but do produce costs. Here are the totals.

Hay $28

Minerals $22

Grain $53.68

Disease Testing $6.76

Total annual costs per milking doe: $110.44

Bucks and dry does get all of the above except grain, so $56.76.

Other costs:
Medicines/Veterinary: $200

Supplies/Equipment: $300

Registrations: $273

Fencing: $450

Website/hosting: $110

Insurance: $1,000

Labor: $4,760

Linear: $250

Annual total: $7,343 (divided by our current 21 does), $349.67 per doe.

We’ll have two bucks, costing a total of $113.52, which comes out to $5.41 per doe in additional costs to support the bucks.

Our 2020 total cost per doe then comes out to $465.52, down from $483 for 2019 and $480 for 2018.