March 2010 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

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Philosophy Behind Selection & Marketing

Successfully raising and selling breeding stock meat goats requires a disciplined and focused approach. Listed below are guidelines that, along with a certain amount of being in the right place at the right time, will help you accomplish that goal.

1) Buy the best genetics available. This doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive; it means the best. You have to know what to look for when evaluating a meat goat. Conformation is everything; features like color are irrelevant.

2) Cull heavily with each kidding season. When in doubt, cull.

3) Keep the top 10% for your breeding program or you will be out of business.

4) Sell the culls for meat. Do *not* sell them cheaply as breeding stock as a way to make more money. You hurt yourself financially by lowering your price structure in the marketplace and you hurt the breed by introducing less-than-quality genetics into the gene pool.

5) Set a price list and stick to it. If you paid $750.00 for a yearling buck, why would you sell quality offspring from him for less? If you don't have the financial ability to stand firm, then you are in over your head and will corrupt the market for quality animals by undermining prices. The end game of any livestock business is high enough volume to create commodity pricing. With commodity pricing comes Big Ag and we small producers are out of business. Don't take actions which hasten our mutual demise.

6) Qualify your buyers. If they don't have adequate knowledge or experience to properly raise what they buy from you, this will come back to haunt you. People will say, "Did you see that lousy stock that came from XXX Ranch?" and you will lose future business. Refuse to sell to people whose management and knowledge level will not showcase your genetics well. Be prepared to mentor those who you believe are capable but not yet knowledgeable of goats.

7) Recognize that selling breeding stock is seasonal. Producers don't want to buy and pay to feed them through winter. Be in the game for the long haul. If you have quality breeding stock, sales will come to you but there will always be dry spells throughout the year.

8) Few people have the resources, either financially or facility-wise, to raise multiple categories of goats, i.e. quality breeding stock, slaughter goats, and show goats. Pick one and give it your all.

9) Accurately represent what you have to sell. Recognize that people have both financial and emotional attachments to their chosen breeds. Stick with the facts when comparing your goats with those belonging to other people.

10) Remember the old saying about how to make a small fortune in livestock: start out with a large fortune. Ultimately be in the game for the love of it. Don't quit your day job. You aren't going to get rich raising meat goats, but what a fine life you will enjoy.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto 3/6/10
Lohn, Texas 76852

TIP: This website has charts for internal parasites of goats:


One of my least favorite chores to do with goats is trimming hooves. I have found that two pieces of equipment sure make life easier

I use a tilt table (photo 1) that lifts the goats up in the air so that I don’t have to break my back bending over and my air powered hoof trimmers (photo 2).


I just connect the air powered hoof trimmers to my portable air tank (photo 3), run the goat up into the chute of the tilt table, scrunch them in, raise them up, drop of the floor tray and trim away (photo 4).

The air trimmers are rather cumbersome and work best on adult bucks or large breed does. You squeeze a trigger and they usually cut as though you were cutting paper. I have run into one or two goats with super hard hooves that challenged the cutting ability but those were the exception, not the norm.

I have been fortunate to purchase both my tilt table and air powered hoof trimmers used. The air powered trimmers run $575.00 plus, shipping from Pipestone Veterinary Supply ( I acquired mine from a fellow goat producer that bought them, used them once and decided they were afraid of cutting a hoof off. I haven’t damaged a goat hoof with these trimmers but I do recommend that you trim several really tame goats before you tackle that one that likes to jerk its hoof out of your hands.

You can find tilt tables in several places. D-S Livestock Equipment is who my tilt table was originally purchased from. Sydell also carries a tilt table as well.

Pat Cotten
© 2010


Photo 2

Photo 1


Photo 3

Photo 4

Featured TexMaster buckling at Bending Tree Ranch in Arkansas.

Meet BTR Stetson, born outside in the elements during an ice/snow storm on Jan 31, 2010.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Stetson’s sire is BTR Hank and his dam is BTR Serena.

Stetson and other TexMaster kids like him are available for sale at:

Bending Tree Ranch, located just north of Greenbrier, Arkansas

To meet Stetson and the other TexMasters contact:

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936

At 9 days of age with sister, Serendipity


23 days of age


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All information and photos copyright © Onion Creek Ranch and may not be used without express written permission of Onion Creek Ranch. TENNESSEE MEAT GOAT ™ and TEXMASTER™ are Trademarks of Onion Creek Ranch . All artwork and graphics © DTP, Ink and Onion Creek Ranch.