Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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What Market Are *You* Targeting?

Each of us raising goats has to evaluate our available resources (amount of land, available time, sufficient money), decide what our target market is, and then craft our management program to fit that goal.

If you have many acres of land, your management practices will be different from producers with five or even 25 acres. If you live in extreme hot, cold, and/or wet weather conditions, your management practices must accomodate these things that you cannot change.

If your choice is to raise show goats, you will have to intensively manage and pour grain to the goats -- since most shows in America focus on traits other than those that the commercial producer desires. You will need to find out which shows you are going to provide goats for and breed at times that will produce kids of the required age. You will have to meet any other requirements of that specific show and/or the show's judge for that year. You will want to raise pretty goats. Show goats are often raised by folks with small amounts of land, since this is a more suitable use of the property.

If you raise pet or companion goats, you will need to breed to what that market wants. Smaller parcels of land generally work well for this venture.

If you decide to raise breeding stock, you should manage a lot less than you do for show or pet stock but more than is done for commercial goats. You have to keep precise records as well as evaluate body conformations and growth rates as they relate to specific dam/sire matings. You will have to cull heavily and breed carefully to improve your product with each kidding. You should strive to raise pasture-hardy goats that can feed themselves under most circumstances. You should intervene in the goats' lives as little as possible so that they don't lose their innate adaptability and instinct.

If you raise commercial stock, you need to have lots of acreage to keep your feed and health-care costs down. You need to buy the best buck you can afford that will put meat on the offspring. You will need to buy commercial-quality does (preferably the oft-times hardier cross-breds) that cost no more than $150 to $200 (and sometimes much less) in order to make money on them. You will never make your money back on an expensive doe in her entire lifetime by using her to produce commercial offspring. The numbers just don't add up. You will need to have pasture-hardy animals that require minimal input except in times of severe weather. You will need to have does that have good maternal instincts and sufficient milk to raise meaty offspring. "Pretty" is irrelevant in terms of raising commercial goats. You canNOT pour two to four pounds of grain daily into a commercial goat and ever make any money. The economics of livestock breeding just doesn't work that way.

Show-goats are "beauty-contest" goats. They are the goats that a specific judge likes best that day out of the selection he or she has available to judge. As such, there is a substantial about of *subjectivity* involved in judging shows. Meat goats are raised for meat production and not for *looks.* Low inputs, weight gain, and meat-to-bone ratio (useable meat) are of paramount importance.

From the calls and emails I receive and from what I read on the Internet, there are apparently a substantial number of folks raising goats who still do not understand these distinctions. The American meat-goat industry will never gain ground against imports unless goat producers develop a better understanding of how to raise goats healthily and profitably.

Meat Goat Mania

Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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