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Issues in Agriculture

Why We’re Raising Goats for Meat

We used to sell all of our goat kids as pets… Until we realized how poorly pet goats are often treated. Many people will buy goats when they’re adorable youngsters, but aren’t willing to tolerate their adult behaviors, or keep up with routine hoof trimming, or pay for costly feed, mineral supplements, and veterinary expenses for 10+ years. This results in goats that experience years of neglect, goats that get shuffled around from farm to farm, and goats that end up being dumped at auctions. For this reason, we now only sell goat kids to exceptionally well qualified buyers: people who have done their research, and are willing to go above and beyond to provide the level of care that all goats deserve. It is also for this reason that we decided to begin raising goats for meat; we wanted to ensure that the goats we breed will stay on our farm, and lead comfortable lives from start to finish.

Another factor in our decision that may be worth mentioning is that goats are trendy right now, but that doesn’t mean that they always will be. Alpacas and emus were both very sought after at one point in recent U.S. history, but the markets for these species have now become saturated. Eventually, everyone who wants to have goats as pets will have purchased them, and then who would we sell our kids to? It would be foolish to continue to grow our business without having a plan in place for when the pet goat market declines.

Neither of us were raised eating goat meat, but we did grow up eating meats from a variety of other species. When we thought about it, we realized that chevon isn’t really so different from lamb or beef. We value sustainability and humane treatment of livestock above all else, and raising our goats’ offspring allows us to check both of those boxes. Goats are browsers more than they are grazers (unlike most of the other ruminant species that are widely raised for meat), making them the ideal animal to convert forages on marginal lands into lean red meat. Our animals will enjoy an excellent quality of life in our pastures, a quick death when we deliver them to our butcher, and respect at every moment in between. At the end of the day, we believe that our goats are providing our family and our community with a healthy, safe, ethically produced source of protein.

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