Oddly enough people come to me for advice on starting a goat business. First off, people, donít come to me for advice on starting any type of business. Itís unintentional, but my motto is, if there is anything worth doing, itís worth doing the hard way. Now, do you really want to follow my lead? And, I donít borrow money for anything, but save up or recycle to get what I need. You really donít want to know my business sense and expertise. Donít forget, I think a ten year old truck is barely broke in.
People send wonderful plans for me to critique of them going to the bank and borrowing huge amounts of money to set up this fantastic operation with catch pens, holding pens, head chutes, specialized feeding areas, having everything but a timer to drop the grain down by, watering systems that can be heated in the winter, heated barns, kidding surveillance cameras, rooms in the barn for people to live in during kidding season with bathrooms, HDTV, refrigerator, microwaves so youíll be comfortable during kidding, and the plans and dreams go on. And, I keep wondering, how you going to pay this loan back? Because they havenít yet showed me a really good goat market to meet such a big loan.
Other people tell me they have ten acres and they are going to quit their job and raise goats and let the goats be their living. I ask how. They say thatís where I come in. Okay. Sorry. I told one sweet couple, donít quit your day job until you know how to raise livestock. They had never even raised a parakeet, much less the 75 head of goats they were going to go out and buy at the stock sale and to them as long as the goats were female was all that mattered. Besides, the goats were to do all the work and they were to spend zero time with them.
Now if you want to know about the care of the goat, that is something else. I may not have any business sense, but I know how to raise goats, their wants and needs, and the basic sicknesses you have to watch out for. That I know. True, they still constantly surprise me by coming up with new things that I have to learn to treat, but after years of raising goats, you finally do get an idea how to keep them healthy and going. Now, that I do know. But, please just ask one or two questions, donít expect me to write a long how to book on their care. Plenty of other people have already done that. And, please donít expect me to call back and pay for the call to give you the complete how-to on how to raise goats. That should be your quarter to spend to ask questions, not mine.
After another call the other day and several emails from people wanting my opinion of their business idea of raising goats for a living, that old Bachman-Turner Overdrive song suddenly popped into my head, ďTaking Care of Business.Ē I couldnít shake it.
Basically, this wonderful hard rock song mentions having to get up every morning because of the alarm clock and trying to make it into work by 9 a.m. that day and then having to slave to get your pay. But, it mentions, if you really get annoyed, you can become self employed and then work at nothing all day.
The rock fellows are sort of poking fun at being a musician in this song, so all of us self-employed people shouldnít get up in arms with him saying us self employed people work at nothing all day. And, basically he also said he didnít mind doing over time now, because he does nothing. Some people dream of goat farming that way.
Okay, many people think that raising goats or even going so far as making a living raising goats, believe itís going to be easier than working a job in town. Now, if you have farming in the blood or you have raised livestock before and donĎt mind the hardships, then a town job would be hard on you in terms of stress. But, if you think you can make your own hours up on your goat farm and itĎs going to be easy, think again.
In that Bachman-Turner Overdrive song, I would think I was living a depraved life if I was allowed to sleep in until 8 a.m. We are up at 5 a.m., no later than 6 a.m. to start chores. During kidding, who sleeps? You might cat nap a half hour here an hour there, but you donít get a regular sleep. Over time? Oh, my, the hours we put in on being goat farmers from daylight to dark would boggle the mind. You are on call 24-7.
The scheming and planning is never ending. You have to keep up with shots, wormings, trimming hooves, hay (whether buying or producing your own), building fence, building buildings, breeding season, kidding season, bottle feeding kids. Forget vacations, in other words. You take hour or day vacations, unless you have a friend who knows how to take care of livestock and is willing to do it a day or two.
People ask me why I donít get this or buy that in my goat business to make life easier. Well, first off, I have to have enough money to feed and also buy vet supplies for the animals, that comes first. I canít run and buy really neat extravagant things until the basic needs of the animals are met. They only make so much money and I canít squander it on really neat ideas that donít feed them. Thatís the first thing. Youíve always got to consider your goat budget and even save some in case the goats hit on hard times. Such as feed prices sky rockets, gas sky rockets, and everything else sky rockets, yet the price you get for a goat drops.
Weíre the type of goat farmers that get excited over trash day or if a store is remodeling. Thereís all sorts of neat things set out that can be turned into goat stalls or extra shelters, and when a business remodels, itĎs wonderful. Yes, I am a proud dumpster diver. So, do you really want me to set up a goat business for you? I didnít think so. Do you really think raising a large herd of goats easy business? Better start out with five to ten does and a buck for a year and see how you feel about things after that. See if you really want to add on.
So, am I telling people being a goat farmer is hard work? Yes, I am. Why do I goat farm? It makes me happy. Iíll never be rich or well off or well known. Iíd do better working at McDonaldís and life would be easier not doing chores in sub-zero temperatures. But, the beauty of producing and raising a good goat, in spite of all the hard work and long hours, just fills me with contentment. Sure, Iím tired most the time. But, yet, being a goat farmer suits me to a T. Taking care of business on a goat farm is not entirely what people may dream itís like, but itís for me. So, donít quit your day job just yet.