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Goats for Sale – 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Goats

This is a guest post by Amber Bradshaw.

Buying goats is a significant investment – not just in the animals, but in all the time and equipment needed to care for them. We share 6 mistakes to avoid when buying goats, plus questions to ask your goat breeder, red flags to watch for and reasons to buy registered goats. For better or worse, anyone with excess goats can announce they have “goats for sale”, so it's up the buyer to protect their own interests.

running goat

“Mistakes are a great teacher, and I think when you make mistakes and you recover from them and you treat them as valuable learning experiences, then you've got something to share.”

— Steve Harvey

Goats for Sale – Some Background Information

I grew up in an itty bitty town in the middle of nowhere, where kids played in grain silos, teens raced to beat the train (not a recommended past-time), and two weeks off during deer-hunting season was an excused absence from school.

Wanting to escape the harsh winters, I moved to a tourist town by the beach and traded the notion of ever owning a homestead for flip flops and surf boards. It wasn’t until years later that I realized you can make a homestead right where you are with what you have, and so our journey began.

Our Urban Homestead – with Goats

Our first step was to make conscious decisions to live more responsibly for the environment and ourselves; we started gardening for more than just a hobby, next came the composting and organic practices, raising worms, and adding chickens. Our baby step plans towards a sustainable future were moving along as scheduled. The next phase of our homestead was to: add bees, fish, a solar panel here or there, and move on down the line of small, sustainable additions to our little beach paradise.

Then I got a call that would change our path and take our beach side homestead up a notch. A single mother had purchased two Nigerian Dwarf Goats (does), was going through a life crisis, and needed to find them a new home.

Now I consider myself a person of average intelligence and a pretty decent judge of character. I try to dot my I’s and cross my T’s in all of life’s situations, that is why it is embarrassing and humbling for me to share this life lesson. Failure to share my experience would put this lesson to waste, and the frugal side of me hates seeing anything going to waste, even a lesson. This specific life lesson has to do with buying livestock, goats in particular, and six BIG mistakes I made.

Goat Fraud?

The goats came from a ‘reputable’ breeder that was well-known within the state. Her website still states that ALL of their goats are registered or can be registered. The prices start at $400.00 and go up. Discounts are offered for 2 or more.

The single mom, let’s call her Lisa, emailed said ‘reputable’ breeder, we’ll call them Addison’s Grasslands, expressing desire to purchase two Nigerian Dwarf Does to milk. Lisa wanted one Doe in milk and one kid doe (relation didn’t matter). Several emails went back and forth between Lisa and Addison’s Grasslands all the way to the pick-up day. Lisa paid $700.00 for both goats and was promised papers would be mailed to her because she (the breeder) didn’t have them at the moment (never do this, always have papers before leaving with livestock).

Lisa left with her two “registered” goats (one doe in milk and one two week old doe kid from another Dam) and went on her merry way. A couple more email correspondence took place about basic goat care and requests for the promised papers. Addison’s Grasslands said she would mail them on several occasions.

Fast forward 4 months, tragedy hits Lisa’s family and she needed to find them a new home. She contacted the breeder and explained her situation. Lisa asked if she (the breeder) would want them back. Breeder stated she was not interested in having them return but would help her find a buyer and would send her the papers to get her goats registered.

This is where I come in.

Goat Buying Mistakes I Made

After many, many, many questions to local breeders about owning goats, doing online research, and asking several questions to Lisa, my family and I agreed to buy Lisa’s two goats, on one condition; they came with papers. Lisa forwarded me every email she received from Addison’s Grasslands and I talked to another breeder about their reputation. The breeder was the President of our state Nigerian goat association, registered with the ADGA, and had a professional website, so I felt comfortable making the purchase (Mistake number one).

Papers, Please

Addison’s Grasslands sent Lisa a message stating the papers were sent and should be there by the time I picked up the goats from Lisa.

Pick-up day came and no papers; trusting the papers would arrive any day, I bought them and brought them home (Mistake number two).

Six months went by of back and forth emails, texts, etc. and I FINALLY received the papers that were promised with purchase from the breeder, but they were not obtained easily. Each passing email and text became more bitter, offensive, and unprofessional to say the least. As a matter of fact the last message was “DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN” But I finally had the papers in hand so life was good and the past was in the past (Mistake number three).

Or so I thought.


I noticed on the papers I received that the breeder listed the kid’s mom as my doe in milk, which was not correct, but I didn’t see any harm since I had the papers and could now get them registered (Mistake number four).

I let a couple of months go by before I sent in my paperwork for my does (Mistake number five) because of my own life complications, stuff happens— right? But I was ready to breed my does and wanted to get those T-s crossed and I’s dotted.

Trying to Get Registered

I joined the ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association), the ANDDA (American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association), I became a registered breeder, had a wellness vet check-up, all the proper blood-work done on my does to make sure they were disease free and healthy, hubby built a birthing area for our does, found a reputable breeder (Crosby Lake Farm in SC) with a registered buck to hire for buck service, and joined every online goat group I could find. Check, check, and check. The last thing on my to-do list was to send in my paperwork for my does and get them registered in our name.

After I attempted to register my doe in milk (I needed to do this first before I registered the kid) with the ADGA, I received an Error on the registration papers stating the Dam of my doe in milk did not belong to the breeder at time of birth. WHAT??????*&^%$#@!!

After all of this headache I can’t register my Doe?!! I called the ADGA seeking guidance and advice. Not only was my doe in milk’s papers off but the kid as well. Turns out the breeder didn’t own the Sire to the kid and I wouldn’t be able to register her either. The only option they gave me was to contact the breeder and ask them to straighten out the errors. I was beyond upset. I did the only thing I knew to do and sought advice from social media.

Doing Research

Great thing about the goating world is that they are a tight-knit group of people who are very informative. They offered great advice and amazing support towards my situation, as well as some hard truths.

On the plus side, the breeder, Addison’s Grasslands, saw my post and contacted me expressing, although she didn’t like my post, (I never mentioned names or location-guess she made the connection) she wanted to help me get my does registered as she is a reputable breeder. WOW! I was shocked and equally overjoyed. I thought maybe I pegged her all wrong and this was all just a big misunderstanding (mistake number six).

To this day, I still don’t have the paperwork needed to get my goats registered.

My options now?

  • Take the breeder to small claims court and or seek advice from attorney (with the help and cooperation from Lisa)
  • Sell goats and start over with a registered herd
  • Breed and sell unregistered goats
  • Give up owning goats altogether

Honestly, I don’t like any of my options. I know getting rid of my girls are not an option in my, or my family’s eyes so what I do from here is yet to be decided but I am leaning towards court.

What are some of the character traits come to mind when you think farmer? Honest? Hard working? Trustworthy? Person of their word and you can make any deal with a Good ol’ boy handshake, right?

Truth is, we are all human. There is good in bad in everything; animals, investments, food, plants, and even people. Trusting someone is a good thing but blind trust is not. Making a purchase is an investment and should be treated like a business transaction. A reputable breeder will not have a problem producing necessary paperwork or be offended by any questions you have. No guilt, no shame, right?

5 Reasons to Buy a Registered Goat

  1. From a breeding standpoint, you can market to more people with registered goats. Many customers are looking to buy a registered animal. You will drastically reduce your future clientele if you choose not to register your herd.
  2. Registered goats have a pedigree to back them up, and you can track their lineage.
  3. You can enter them in shows and contest (4-H, county fairs, etc.)
  4. Registered goats command a higher price than unregistered (with Nigerian goats in our area, the difference is $75-$200 for unregistered and from $200 up to $1000 for a registered).
  5. You can always sell a register-able goat without papers, but you can never do the opposite.
goat on log

Questions to ask a Goat Breeder Before Buying Your Goat

  1. First and MOST IMPORTANT questions to ask is if the herd has been tested for CAE, CL and Johnes and if they can provide you with a copy of the results.
    • CAE is a retro-virus, like HIV. It is transmitted through colostrum, milk, and body fluids
    • CL is caused by bacteria that can, in theory, be transmitted to humans
    • Johnes is the caperine equivalent of chronic wasting disease in deer
  2. Ask for pictures of the goat(s) from all angles
  3. Make sure all the paperwork (if buying registered) will be included at the time the sale takes place (ask for them to email you a copy or take a picture and text it to you)
  4. Ask what goat organization they are registered with*
  5. Ask about worming and feeding practices, general maintenance, etc.

*There are many organizations you can register your goat with, some examples are:

And all of those in-between. The two biggies are the AGS and the ADGA.

6 Red Flags to Watch Out For When Buying Goats

  1. Lack of CAE and Johnes testing papers
  2. No photos
  3. Lack of paperwork
  4. Unable to list what is included with purchase
  5. Lack of information about the goats Dam and Sire
  6. Poor living conditions for the goats or goats that look unhealthy

Before buying a goat, or any livestock for that matter, do your research. Talk to other breeders, join social media groups, and find out all the ins and outs. Connect with a vet that specializes in that particular livestock and ask for a copy of their price list. Seek a mentor who has experience; most livestock owners are happy to share their wealth of information. You can contact your local extension office for a referral. My best advice? Never be afraid to walk away from a deal that you are not comfortable with.

So there it is, six mistakes that I made, and I hope to help you avoid.

I want to send a special thank you for Crosby Lake Farms for guidance and advice with my goating ventures.

More Goat Information

Goats on board
Amber Bradshaw

This post is by Amber Bradshaw of My Homestead Life.

Amber and her family moved from their tiny homestead by the ocean in South Carolina to forty-six acres in the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
While building their off-the-grid homestead, they live like the days of old – cooking without electricity, collecting water from the creek and raising chickens, goats, pigs, turkeys, bees, and guineas. They've recently filmed their journey for a TV show on the Discovery Channel and the DIY Network/HGTV called Building Off The Grid: The Smokey Mountain Homestead.

It makes a HUGE difference when you share our articles. Thank you so much!

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  1. Sounds like a very bad experience. Here is some advice for the “casual” goat owner to be.
    Papers don’t give milk or make better meat. If you are purchasing the goats for a self-sufficient homestead, papers are not critical.
    Growing up we were “creating” a breed using Saanen for milk production and temperament and Toggenburg or Alpine for cream content. We also experimented with Nubian and Lamanchea for meat production. As well as milk and meat for ourselves, we provided meat goats to many of our neighbors and some milk as well, though most of it went to our calves, pigs, and other livestock.

    1. So sorry I am replying to this a year later, better late then never. You are correct about not needing papers for sustainability, however, in our case we live on a very small piece of land so we have to keep our herd small (3), the price difference between selling a registered NDG and a un-registered NDG is several hundred dollars. So in order for our goats to sustain themselves (the cost of their offspring providing for their food, hay, vet bills, etc. ) we would need to have registered kids. That said, if someone was to have more land and didn’t want to show their goats, I would definitely go with your suggestion.

      1. Thanks for your Information & Great Advice????❗
        I’m NOT a GOAT Farmer yet,but I hope to be in the Future. NOW I’m a bit????confused ????❓❓ I’ve read in Mother Earth News or other such publications there’s “Great & Increasing Demand” for GOATS ????Milk ????❗ When I read up & looked up when to sell GOATS Milk ????❓❓ I can’t ????Find Anything Except to say in WA. ( My home state) “Farmers can only sell 100 Gallons of Milk” per month????❗❗I found NOTHING about any dairy which purchases GOATS Milk @Any price. WA. State only has (1) farmer who actually hold the necessary “Milk Production licnese”????❓❓ Therefore most Goat Farmers would likely be stuck with a Massive Surplus of Unsellable Milk,unless they have goat offsprings nursing ????❗ Do you have any answers to assist me????❓❓

        1. Goat milk dairies are uncommon, in spite of increasing demand. Typical official government licensing for most formal dairy operations is cost prohibitive for many small producers.

          In Wisconsin, as long as you keep things small (probably under that 100 gallons of milk per month you mention for your state), it’s treated as “incidental sales” and allowed to function without strict regulation. So you can sell a limited amount to friends and family and fly under the radar.

          If you want to ramp up production beyond that amount, you’d need to contact the appropriate state agency and look into permit requirements – or contact the one farm with the license and ask them to point you in the right direction.

          1. Thank You for Comment my name is G.Ferrari I have a long time experience with milking goats now I am a Minister for Special Operations conveying Messages when came from Our Creator Holy Spirit=THE POINT IS Milking goats for each family to obtain goat milk for the family not for sale

            WHY? When Adam was created honeybees and milking goats were already there to be the FIRST DOCTOR OF HUMANS bees stings are against arthritis and very good for health so is the goat milk a therapeutic milk not like cow milk-the Command is to have goat milk for every member of family the best is kefir but ESPECIALLY FOR MADES WHICH BENEFITT A LOT It is known that goat milk is against breast cancer and other diseases.

            It is surely from the goat habit to eat bark small branches poisonous herbs having a stomach neutralizing system which kill poison/ But the chief of the dark side HATE BEES AND MILKING GOATS. So our problem is WHERE CAN WE FIND FEMALES MILKING GOATS FOR FAMILY MILK AT LOW PRICE BUT NOT CHEATING JUNK FEMALES ? Buying from breeders is not a sure success of the operation. The States are not interested in DIVINE ADVICES NEITHER IN MILKING GOATS/ gbr tn usa OVER//

          2. Here in my country Nigeria no goat 🐐 license or registration goat and cow’s can be sold freely to many buyers can graze anywhere even in between an Express way highways, churches , schools, youth camps, farms and hospitals, most people who question the actions of this herders most especially in farm end up being killed by herdsmen who mostly go scot-free bcoz the migrate from one town to another, I presently have good kalhari goat breeds but caged.

          3. Thank you for sharing that information. It’s eye opening to learn about how very different things are in other areas.

            Here in the United States, animals must be kept on your own land, unless you have permission from other landowners, and are generally kept away from roads due to concern about accidents.

        2. Here it is November 1, 2019 and I must say …. Here is a really great goat farm. I buy their products from Whole Foods and have for a long time> Their yogurt is the best. I do not have any financial interest just a desire to pass on good information. Please check out this business and their goats.


        3. I live in Washington and got out of goats partly because Washington has so many undoable rulers. You have to be certified to sell milk even for pet milk which must be died a certain color. The only product you can sell is soap. You may milk goats for your own use but you cannot sell it unless you jump through the hoops to become a certified dairy. I’ve written about my goats on my blog

      1. Just stop. Chickens and ducks (minus Raccoons) are a better bet. I live in central Vacaville, CA… zI’m Breakin’ tha law… so what. Period.

    2. Here is my QUESTION: Abraham,to Iacob( alias Jacob) to Iosif(Joseph) to Mannaseh and Ifraim they hade thousand of goats one male for 15 females (lucky one) but no Veterinarian no microscope no goats disease books something different HOW DID THEY SURVIVE FOR THOUSAND OF YEARS ? we do something wrong WHAT IS IT ? You can publish my em So do some search and please answer my QUESTION/over GBR TN USA//over//

      1. We have billions of genes in our remarkable genetic system. Our DNA has four letters -A pairs to T and G to C, and it can be read forwards, occasionally backwards, and rarely skipping sections. The most incredible thing is that segments of our DNA strand are exposed to be read at the exact right time, requiring an awesome stereoscopic unfolding, which necessitates all the nucleotides to be one isomer – our DNA is all right handed with no mirror image base pairs. This incredibly designed, complicated and interconnected system is far beyond human capability, and could not happen by accident no matter how much time is injected. There is a scientifically observable rate of mutation which is passed on to each subsequent generation, and there is no natural repair mechanism, so mutations accumulate. Scientism/Atheism then invokes an unknown supernatural rescuing device such as “Homeostasis.” Mutations which cause cancer are now being identified, with novel treatments directed at them, such as Keytruda. The overwhelmingly vast majority of mutations are harmful, thus Mutations are lethal and not pro-creative.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences…as challenging as they’ve been! We are looking to add goats to our homestead some time in the next year and these are wonderful tips and reminders to keep in our back pockets as we move forward with our decision.

  3. 1. I am looking for goats just as milkers and lawn mowers on paddocks abbout 2 acres.
    2. Don’t care about pedegrees, Just nice “Quiet Ha” goats that look at me as dad yet still have a go at the meter man! But that is another story!
    3. Have to get on with the dogs and chooks.
    4. Have adaquate fencing, Joke for goats, but keeps other things out!
    5. I live in a huge metropalos, Population 7. Neighbours are a dog kenell, El Packa and horse agistment property.
    6. And most important . I love Goats!

    7. And when the missus kicks me out I don’t go to the ‘dog box’ I sleep with the goats!!

    1. GBR to all If you have milking goats you will love them a lot they are pets,play full smart the male is smarter than females and he protect the herd if you work with them since birth you will be amazed how smart they are.

      I had a brochure how to grow goats to carry loads and I started years ago in NC I had 10 males with horns I assisted them at birth being a retired gym teacher and coach I did apply the same principles of training with them.

      RESULT; The best TZAP AND OAK WERE ABLE TO COMPREHEND 34-36 Commands: The truck was on top of the hill I released Tzap and Oak(huge horns Oberhasly body cca 190-210 lb. muscles Oak tan with black and Tzap bigger then him more tan) My command was to send them up in the truck to go with them in the mountains for training. My command: Tzap Oak up truck mountain= they understood and took an Olympic start with a huge jump they landed in the truck and started fighting for best place.

      I cut huge trees cca 21 and they helped me carry branches with their horns,jumping equilibrium a lot of skills but also a lot of work/The males are like German Shepherds dogs if you train them/I had so many stories with them YOU WILL LOVE THEM.

      Attention mature males are not for anybody if they feel you are week they will attack you-what I have done: I fought like this When the male came to gore you raise your foot and stop him than with the right foot kick him hard in the belly on the side and hold both horns pull horns hard to you and rapidly move to the rear feet grab them and raise them hard and push forward then backward till he screams and lower his front legs twist rear legs till you have him on the back and JUMP ON HIS BELLY SCREAMING I AM THE BOSS TILL HE CRY LIKE A CHILD/It worked for me with all 10/But if you do not manifest yourself like a BOSS they will attack you ( do not try this with you wife or you will regret) I have the best experience with them in the mountains they protect you/Sincerely GBR TN USA over//

    1. Actually for Nigerians you can’t . I thought the same thing.. But Nigerians are a closed herdbook and they only allow transfers from CGS and AGS . no experimental allowed for NG’s .

  4. I had a similar problem with sheep that weren’t registered and learned an option from a friend of mine. I think it’s the District Attorney’s office that you google….must be the office in the state where the problem breeder is. Go to their website and there’s an online form that you fill out and then they take care of contacting the person to see if they will make good on their promises/responsibilities or not. After more than a year of trying to contact the breeder I did it and had my papers within 3 weeks. It’s free and simple. Good luck!

      1. Hi there, my husband and I are thinking about breeding these babies,you have some good input and knowledge I would love to talk with you.

  5. I too had a bad experience with a supposedly “reputable” goat breeder. I bought a doe, buck and a wether from her. Then she wanted to breed a couple of Her goats to my buck. When she dropped off her two does (with no food) I noticed that one had a lump on the side of her jaw. The lady told me that it was from a sliver and that goats got into stuff. Well I was reading my goat book and they were talking about CL!…. When I went back out to check on her lump it had burst. Well I’m a nurse so I took a swab culture, called the woman and told her to get her goats out of my barn. I had the cultures tested and they were indeed positive for CL. Thank God I caught before it got all over my barn. This woman was also big in the AGA and traveled all over to shows. Unfortunately, you can’t be too trusting.

  6. Thanks for your story.
    I have a question: Where is the best place to sell your ADGA goat kids?

    I have tried CL but then got the run around and my computer was hacked.
    I’m relatively new to kidding so I don’t have a lot of information on the selling kid’s part and my doelings are beautiful!
    Thanks so much for your reply,

    1. You have a handful of different options: 1- the newspaper paper (online and in print), 2-Craigslist, 3- Flyers at your local feed store, 4- Tell your goat vet, 5- Facebook groups (there are some just for selling goats), 6- pay to advertise on Facebook (it doesn’t cost much at all), 7- Contact you local extension office or 4-H, 8- Contact other breeders who may be wanting to expand their herd or breeds, colors, lines, etc 9- Register with the ADGA as a breeder and people will contact you. I have never met a goat breeder that has a hard time selling their goats. Especially Nigerian Dwarfs, they seem to be the ‘it’ homesteading livestock. Make sure you have them tested and provide proof along with their papers and lineage. The registered Doe’s go for around $350 and up here, my friend charges $500 but has a wonderful line.

  7. Hi,

    I would like to purchase two Dwarf Nigerian goats, just for pleasure, as pets. So, I guess I don’t need to worry about papers? Just to check for CAE, CL and Johnes? I also have two horses, they have Timothy hay, which I believe is best for goats too? Would you be able to recommend a book I could buy which would give me all necessary info for goats.

    Thank you so much!

    Kind regards,

    1. As far as the testing, yes, that is all you need. If you draw blood for your horses, goats are very similar and you will save a fortune by getting the testing yourself.

      For everything goat related, this website is my go-to, as well as most goat owners and breeders,, she is very knowledgeable and share that knowledge.
      I recommend joining two Facebook groups, Totally Natural Goats and More AND The Natural Goat Discussions.

      Even though you are not interested in having papers, I would make sure your new doe comes from a good milking line by checking into both parents and grandparents if possible.
      There are some things that goats should not have that horses do, Fias Co has the complete list on her site of what to eat and not to eat.
      I wish you the best of luck in your goating adventure!

    2. They also need to be tested for Scrapies, like mad cow is contagious, passed the same as rabies in body fluids including saliva, meat, milk, hide so you can get your heard registered with USDA as required by law, they will send you free scrapies tags for your small herd. When you visit other farms and show s you want to ask to see the scrapies tag if not present do you wish to possibly contaminate every animal you have and all your family and friends to a disease that might not show up for 5 years and is most certainly deadly?

  8. Hi,

    Thank you, for doing this for people, I live in Goldendale, Washington and I have a number of goats, both meat and dairy and only a few registered dairy goats. Someday I hope to have all registered dairy goats, but as for my meat goats I am not as picky about papers. I love my goats and we have a small farm The Glory Farm on 240 acres.

    I grew up on a small farm and have always lived in Agricultural communities. With so many new people wanting to become small farmers and understanding the benefits of country life articles like yours are so needed. I am sorry you went through what you did, but you definitely made lemonade out of the lemons by sharing and learning all with all of us.

    I found you because I have some non-registered dairy goats for sale…that are healthy. Anyway, I have to go now, but I will repost as to when to purchase a non-registered goat. I am just building my website and I am going to follow suit and give information like you and I am going to have your link on mine so I can send people to you and your great service and obviously heart.

    Have a Wonderful Day!

    From Shelley at The Glory Farm

  9. Thanks for the tips. Though I want to keep goats just for my needs I still find your post very useful. Who knows ? I might have too many in the future. Now I know the importance of registration papers in goat herding

  10. Are you n Florid? I am interests nun hazing a kid, or two, but have been unable to locate any.

  11. I was thinking about getting in to the goat business . I know nothing about them but me and my husband would love to learn . But can you make a good living selling goat milk and cheese .to be able to just work from home with the goats.

    1. Like most things, it depends. To get to that point, it would require a big investment in time and materials, and a lot of learning. You’d also need to build a market for your products, and have a certified cheese making kitchen area.

  12. Have any good sights I can research on? Looking to buy goats.. I would love to hear what u think is the best kind for just a simple goat girl who wants some goats, to start a small business in goat products.. Tough story… I don’t want to make the same mistakes u did when u bought goats.. U realy caught my eye though, scrolling through Pinterest when I saw this big picture that said “Goats for sale!” STOP! Good stuff to learn..thanks for ur amazing STOP on the picture other wise I would not have stopped! Lol

  13. Outstanding, excellent,brilliant advice. I also have experienced the same thing having recently purchased a Texas genemaster buck,purely for breeding meat goats. After allowing rhe buckling to mature, checking testicle development, he only had one. After consulting with a very knowledgeable veterinarian, we were advised not to use him for breeding as one testicle is a genetic abnormality. This example is only one of rhe several mishaps we have been plagued with-we trusted people whose only interest was making money, not breeding quality livestock.
    Goats are wonderful, caring sweet aminals that will enrich the lives of those who raise them.
    The advice given here should be followed.

  14. We live on a small plot of land and wanted 2 goats, a wether and a doe. We were hoping for Saanen goats, but I was wondering how much 2 Saanen goats would cost per year. Also what would they each cost for the purchase of the goats themselves? We would be new goat owners so any advice is helpful!

  15. Your experience sounds almost identical to my own, except I bought the goats (Oberhaslis, for me) from the bad breeder myself. She didn’t give me the papers until after I found out that the adult goat she sold me had CL. She accused me of lying even though I had the vet records to back up everything I said. She wouldn’t give me back any money even though the goat had to be butchered (CL is highly contagious and incurable, and the poor goat was alone in quarantine for a couple of months until I found out she was not pregnant, which we had been told she was when we bought her). We tried to bring the infected goat back to her farm the day she was diagnosed, but they were not home and would not answer emails for weeks. The neighbors were home, however, and told us that the seller had likely known the goat had CL, and that’s why she sold it to us to begin with.
    I was finally able to register one of the two kids she sold me, and I still have her, but she is barely Grade.
    If you’re in Michigan looking for Oberhaslis, be very careful. As far as I know, she still lives in the state, though she is not at the same property.

  16. Amber, thank you and bless you for doing this. It IS the right thing to do! I would like help… I would like to do likewise as you have done, but it would be in regard to miniature cattle. How can I post a similar article, warning others about the pitfalls in buying and breeding miniature cows? After ten years, we are giving up. MUCH to tell and it might help others and spare them the devastation we’ve endured 🙂 Nancy M

    1. I would love to hear what you have learned about the miniature cattle. I have debated for going on ten years, whether it is worth it or not.

  17. Being able to walk away from a deal with which you are not 100% comfortable— that is probably the hardest part. Especially once you have gone to see the goats( and we had driven about 3.5 hours to get there). This was not from a breeder, but someone who had lost a family member, and was overwhelmed with the farm and trying to thin herds. It was clear that the animals were not getting the best care, and so we wanted so much to help. And, of course, they are cute! We did buy the two we’d read about on Craig’s list, and have been very happy, fortunately, with our browsing pets. We only paid $75 each, though. Wow, does it sting to have spent hundreds of dollars and been so misled. Thank you, everyone who shared their cautionary tales.

  18. What is your advice in renting goats to clear a plot or two of property? How long would they clear bushes along the fencing? What is required for shelter? I’m not interested in keeping them just want my property cleared and was advised to buy two but I don’t want to buy them just want them to do a job.

  19. Wow, all of this could make a persons head spin!! I am a new homesteader. I recently purchased 17 chicks. I’m looking at ducks, goats and mules. All are for pets and eggs. Not sure which goat breed is best. I have several grandkids and want them to be comfortable petting and playing with the goats.

    Would you suggest getting registered goats even tho they are pets and personal use of their milk???

    Thank you!!!

    1. Papers allow you to track the lineage and purity of a breed, they also allow you to command a higher price if you ever decide to sell the kids. If your children or grandchildren ever want to show your goats with 4-H or other county fairs, many require papers.
      If none of this pertains to you, then no- you do not need papers. Papers or not, the herds heath is the most important. I would contact a vet for a full check up of your goats before purchase, it is worth the fee for peace of mind.
      Nigerian Dwarf Goats are great for children because at maximum weight for a pure-breed they are 75 lbs and 22″ at shoulder height.
      The down side, they are not heavy milkers. Max you can expect is 1 qt for a goat in milk. My friend raises Nubians and gets 1 gallon per- they are much bigger goats.
      Keep in mind, no matter what breed you get you need to have a min of two, even if you own other animals.
      Best of luck !

  20. So I’m buying a Mini Newbian goat from a friend this month, he was born on the 9th and I was going to talk to the seller about it being registered, this is very helpful, I could spend HOURS online reading everyone’s opinions that are just opinions but I feel strongly u know what you are talking about! I want to do this the right way, what exactly should I ask my breeder, how do I get it registered, if I’m planning on keeping him till he grows old do I really need to get him registered? If you have any more advice I would appreciate it!????????

    Also please don’t sell my email address to other companies????

    1. I give this advice often about papers- if you have papers and choose not to use them, no harm no foul. But if you ever want papers in the future, there is no turning back if you never received them to begin with. Some of the things papers will come in handy with: tracking lineage, proving breed and blood-line, registering your herd with a goat organization, entering 4-H contest, county fairs etc.,selling offspring at a higher price and easier, there may be other reasons but that is the list off the top of my head. If none of this appeals to you, then my answer would be a big NO. You don’t need papers to have a healthy and happy goat herd.
      Papers or not, the main concern is the health of your goat, make sure you get a full vet check for a clean bill of health and worm test.
      Best of luck on your new adventure!

    1. Many goat-owners do not recommend milk replacer due to the nasty ingredients. I used regular cows milk when goat milk wasn’t available and so did local breeders I knew.

  21. Hello Sarah!! I strongly recommend Manna Pro kid replacer-I have have had excellent results with that product along with Manna Pro’s Colostrum. If you should need replacement or just fill in until kid and doe figure it out, these are outstanding products I have used with confidence.
    Happy Kidding ????,goats are the greatest!!

  22. So all you really care about is MONEY…. What is the point of going fully sustainable, if you are now slaving yourself to another authoritative body like the ADGA? They are a sham. They are a bunch of 90 year old ladies that don’t get their paperwork right, EVER. A for what? So YOU can make more money off a kid?


    1) You pay upfront annual costs.
    2) You pay for each animal registered, regardless if they are registered already.
    3) You get paperwork errors from them, all the time, which costs YOU time and money.
    4) You WILL NOT get more than a non-registered price for your goat UNLESS it places in show and the cost of showing.
    5) Did I mention, it’s a scam?

    Like AKC Purebred Dogs, there is absolutely no reason to join a goat association as a breeder. HOWEVER, YOU MUST tell the USDA that you’re a breeder, and YOU MUST register them with the state and get a LIVESTOCK tag.

    Afterall folks, you are breeding livestock…. NOT PETS DAMMIT.

    1. Dear blah,

      Who doesn’t care about MONEY? It’s a useful tool and medium of exchange. And when I make a purchase, I certainly expect to get what I purchased.

      If someone’s willing to lie about registry, how do you know they’re not also willing to lie about health records or other items? If they had sold the animals as unregistered, that would be a completely different set of circumstances.

  23. We went the registered goat route at first only to have spent a boatload of money. Unregistered goats are fine for homesteading, hobby farm, etc. We raise LaMancha’s and greatly recommend this breed. Excellent disposition, excellent mamas, great milkers. We have one buck (Mr.Stinky) who thinks he is a lap goat! And he weighs in at 200 lbs.!! He’s pretty cool????
    Also, as mentioned by others, the most important aspect is your goats health. Anyone who balks at sharing vet info on your prospective purchase should make you walk away.

  24. shelly westlund is a known con artist. rude and disrespect to others. she makes good first impressions but as you get to know her you see her true evil side. if you don’t trust me ask around town, or experience it for yourself. heed my warning she is very bad.

  25. I live in El Dorado County, Ca on five acres. At least 3 1/2 need tractor or goat maintanence . I want goats only for yard weed eating goats that don’t require milking , breeding and very little $ maintanence. ‘My eldest daughter can administer vaccinations if I can purchase meds from feed store for CL and other two conditions goats might catch. My goal is to fences installed and get water troughs installed. Then look for cheap goats that just eat weeds.

  26. I cannot express how much I appreciate this article as we will be purchasing our first set of goats soon. Wish us luck & many blessings to you. ~ Annie W

  27. Loved all the info, i have found a 12 month old Saanen doe for sale , seller has mother on site, says mother is registered she purchased from a dairy herd, I asked if doe had been tested and she said no, that the dairy herd she bought from tested and that they were healthy. She tells me since mother of this doe is registered and that I can register this doe. Is this so? If doe looks healthy, do you think it is ok to buy and then test and start a worming program, price of doe is very reasonable, I want to use her as a milk goat and am very concerned that I not pass something along to my family…I do plan to pasturize the milk, would this kill any of the disease? thanks carolyn hammack

    1. From Amber:

      “Hi Carolyn. This is only my opinion about your situation, you need to do what is best for you.

      I asked if doe had been tested and she said no: This is a red flag for me. I would never suggest buying a goat that does not have recent test (3 months). The goats could be sick, have a disease or worms that would transfer your soil and contaminate it forever. Even if they have Johnes disease (a common disease in goats), there is no cure for Johnes disease. There is nothing to rid the soil of it other than indeterminate amounts of time.

      Since mother of this doe is registered and that I can register this doe. No. Both the mother and the father have to be registered in order to get the kids registered. If she did not own the sire, she has to provide breeding papers (buck papers). This is something you can only get from the breeder, you can not register goats on your own.

      Price of doe is very reasonable generally this is a sign on it’s own. Since she has not tested her herd nor can she provide papers, I would walk. If she had a recent copy of disease testing and gave you a copy, I would consider purchasing from her. The only reason I like papers is to prove the lineage and for resale value of the kids. If your only reason is milk, then I would make sure the goats not only have disease testing but a vet check. You want the vet to check the udder (very important for milk production), legs, teeth, etc.

      Please keep in mind, if you are getting a goat, you need a minimum of two. Goats are herd animals and they have to have more than one. In addition, you need to keep your doe in milk which means you need to breed her every other year and have access to a buck.

      There are many good breeders out there, but there are scammers as well. This animal will become a part of the family and your daily routine, it’s worth it to make sure you’re getting good stock. Best of luck!”

  28. I do not know if this is right place to ask but hope it is… At what age is it reliable to test young goats for CL, CE,CAE,Johne’s and some of the other disease? Do you recommend any vaccinations for young goats? If so, what and at what age? these are 3 month old milk goats who have only had CD&T initial and booster. Do most goat owners vaccinate for CL or just go for annual testing? Thanks

  29. I would like to have milk goats for mostly making soap, possible cheese. Is there anywhere I can get some information on how to process the milk from a liquid form to a solid form for the soap making process. This soap is used for my family only as I don’t like the ingredients in store bought soap. Any other information on using the milk would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I’d suggest searching on “how to make goat’s milk soap” and “how to use goat milk”. I know goat’s milk soap requires only a small amount of milk per batch, so that’s not likely to use up much of your milk. As for other ways to use the milk, you can use it mostly the same as you would use cow’s milk. Again, with some online searching, I’m sure you can find some great tutorials on making cheese, yogurt and other recipes.

      1. I have some experience with milking goats-Here is what I learned from old people with experience:Buy female goat with full UDDER only not young or no milk/ Instead of keeping a male use the service of frozen sperm insemination to avoid inbreeding /wash your corn (if you buy it)it could be chemically treated/ hard to find females with good performance/ In the countries of good breeds milking goats( Europa-Europe but not only) the breeding process is in the hand of a Specialist which know how to create a Bank of good lines to be sold to people,in USA there is no such think but could be organized/ Papers are not a good sure guarantee for good plenty of milk/ And HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INFO.WHICH CAME FROM OUR CREATOR; FIND IN THE MULTITUDE OF THE BIBLES TRANSLATIONS GOATS FOR MILK,AND THE COMMAND TO HAVE GOAT MILK EVERY DAY FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY BUT MORE IMPORTANT FOR MADE ,young and adult WOMEN- IT IS POSSIBLE THAT GOAT MILK OR KEFIR STOP THE BREAST CANCER AND HELP OUR HUMAN BODY IMMUNE SYSTEM FIGHT BACK-What is the secret ? goats eat a lot of herbs,bark,twigs which are good for our chemistry-the goat stomach has a system to neutralize poisons but focus on spelling:GO-AT meaning keep an eye on them or you will be in trouble.Folks is someone familiar with black milking goats I notice they keep in Africa ? Send info.if you have.Sincerely Gbr-Tennessee

  30. I just want one girl goat to mow my lawn… well, she will also have high quality goat food. Goat milk is a premium. Mostly, I am lazy and do not to mow lawn.

  31. In reference to your comment “CAE is a retro-virus, like AIDS” . AIDS is a condition (not a virus) when the Immune system reaches a state when it cannot defend the body. CAE is a retro-virus, similar to HIV and not AIDS

  32. I once saw the perfect goat online and then when I showed up she looked nothing like her picture!!! I felt so disappointed. You just can’t trust the internet these days. Always better to meet in person first before taking that big step.

  33. Thank you for your post and all of the information found in the comments. My son and his family have moved off grid and he had 4 nygerian goats (lost the 2 kids to coyotes). He hasn’t had any problems with his purchases or papers, but I’m sending him a link to your experiences as I’m sure he will find it as informative as I have . The female is the leader and actually pulls a cart for him which people had told him would never happen. All of the goats have been great with the children and other pets. We look forward to raising goats.

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