Notes on Buying Goats
Where to Buy
When it comes to shopping for your first goat, you have a few options at your disposal.
-Auctions barns and swaps
Livestock auctions and tailgate swaps are probably the least expensive option available to you, but there are often trade offs for low prices. There is always a reason why an animal is for sale, and in the case of the sale barn, quite often that reason is going to end up costing you more in the long run than the initial purchase price of the goat.
Breeders use sale barns to offload animals with genetic defects, undesirable characteristics, and even illnesses. If the goat wasn't sick when it got to the sale barn, then the chances of it picking something up along the way are extremely high. Baby goats are fragile things, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase, both as a breeder, and as a receptionist in a veterinary clinic : "I bought a baby goat at the auction, and it's sick...." The outcome in such situations is usually not a happy one.
You could get lucky, and end up with a perfectly serviceable goat, that meets your needs at a great price, but there are no guarantees, and the odds are stacked against you, in this case.
If you decide to go this route, my advice would be to stay away from newborn babies (mortality in the first 48 hours or after is extremely high, often due to not receiving any colostrum after birth, so there's no fixing it), and unless you have at least some experience with livestock, or an established relationship with a good livestock vet, stay away from this option, at least until you gain some experience.
Quarantine any and all sale barn animals from other goats in your herd to avoid spreading anything to animals already in your care.
Tailgate swaps might be a little less risky, in that the animals aren't exposed to sale barn conditions, or animals from other farms, before the sale. You're still buying a goat off the back of a truck, literally, more than likely with little history, and the person selling it to you has little incentive to provide support in the event that you need help learning to care for it, or if the animal gets sick. If you're experienced, and don't mind being all on your own with any issues that arise, you may be getting an ok deal. Just keep in mind, there's a reason that goat is for sale. The person you're buying from doesn't necessarily have a reputation to uphold, and may or may not be straightforward about the reason why.
Keep in mind that if you plan to raise dairy goats, a doe must have kids every year or so to keep producing milk. Goats, especially Nigerians, usually have more than one baby every year. Unless you plan to keep twins, triplets, quads, or even quintuplet offspring every year, you will be selling goats to other people at some point, even if your goal is just milk for your household.