Adding small ruminants to a property or operation offers producers many benefits. Langston University Goat Extension Leader Dr. Terry Gipson says the market for goats is very enticing.
Right now, the market prices for goats is very, very good. And so, when we look at an economic analysis of goat production. It is that there is a greater return on investment on goats over cattle. I am not saying that you make more money on goats than you do cattle, but for the investment that you put into it, you get a greater return.”
Goats can be a beneficial addition to a cattle operation, Gipson says, because cattle and goats eat different vegetation.
“Right now, in Oklahoma, we are having a real problem with invasive species, such as the eastern redcedar. Cattle will not eat eastern redcedar, but goats will eat eastern red cedar. So, from the vegetation standpoint, there’s not much competition between cattle and goats because they are going to be consuming very different things in the pasture.”
Gipson also says that cattle and goats do not share the same internal parasites. However, goats must be managed differently.
“Cattle are more resistant to internal parasites than goats, by far. So, then, goat producers needs to be aware of the health status of the goat. And we would do that predominantly with what’s called a FAMACHA checkup. So, this is a little card that is one to five with colors of sort of pink on it, that you would look at the mucus membranes of the eye and be able to ascertain the anemia level of the goat.”
While many cattle producers deworm on a calendar schedule, Gipson said he does not recommend using the same method for goats.
Regarding the purchasing of goats for your herd, Gipson said he does not recommend buying from the sale barn.
“Most of the goats at a sale barn are there because they are culls, so we always recommend that you go to a reputable breeder. Those are fairly easy to find through word of mouth or different breed associations, and when you are going and looking at breeding stock, we recommend that you are choosing young animals, that are going to stay in your herd longer.”
Find more information about adding goats to your operations on the School of Agriculture page at Langston.edu.