Looking for an enjoyable farmyard animal that can produce both meat and milk for your off-grid family?
Goats are highly adaptable animals that thrive in Hawaii. In fact, there are large packs of feral goats in many areas on the leeward sides of the Hawaiian Islands.
With high heat and drought tolerance, low disease risk, and the ability to live off of limited pasture, goats are often a no-brainer compared to other farm animals like sheep, pigs, cows, and alpacas.
If you are looking to raise goats in Hawaii, youʻve come to the right place. Read on to learn more.
Related: Goats are escape artists. You need a good fence to keep them in. One of the best is an electric fence. They just donʻt like that jolt of electricity. Make your life a lot easier with a good electric fence. You can thank me later.
How Much Do Goats Cost In Hawaii?
The price of a goat depends on several factors, including breed, gender, pedigree, and the current market. Purchasing a pure-bred female dairy goat can cost hundreds of dollars. The same can be said of registered mini goats like Nigerian Dwarf.
Goats in Hawaii can range from free to as much as $600.
Generally expect to pay a premium for young female dairy goats, male meat goats, and purebred pedigreed goats.
But if you are not too particular, you can often find people offering up goats for free on Facebook or at the local feed store.
A lot of people end up rehoming their goats because they got in over their heads, but youʻre not going to do that, because youʻre already in the right place.
Estimated Costs: $0 – $600
Before You Get A Goat
The key to successfully raising goats has a lot to do with what you do before you even get a goat.
Fencing. Fencing. Fencing.
Goats are master escape artists. If you donʻt get fencing right the first time, youʻll be spending a whole lot of time managing their breakouts.
You can go with high tensile wire and barb wire. Itʻs one of the most economical fencing methods. It works best over large acreage because the goats are less likely to test the fence as much.
If you are keeping goats in smaller areas or need to make a little pen around a stable or something similar, I have found that reinforced galvanized steel horse fence, or a moveable electric fence like this one on Amazon is able to withstand a goats torture testing.
I have seen goats kick through fencing made of lesser construction. Iʻve even seen them make their way around high tensile barb wire.
But a well built fence made with the galvanized horse fencing or an electric fence keeps your goats where theyʻre meant to be. If you go with horse fencing, make sure you get the fencing that has the reinforced tie at every intersection, that stuff is indestructible.
Small Goat Pen: $500
High Tensile/Barb Wire: $3 – $5 per foot
Galvanized Horse Fence: $4 – $8 per foot
Before you get goats, having a place for them to sleep and keep dry is a pretty good idea. Here you can also create a space to milk your goats.
Getting your goats into a routine before they arrive will really help you manage your flock over the long run. The worst thing is to have to constantly manage a rouge flock because you had to change up patterns on them.
It doesnʻt have to cost much, can be built out of pallets and scrap roofing even. But having an area for your goats to sleep, about 10-15 sq ft per goat, and a milking station made of stanchions which can hold a goat still if you need to check its hooves, milk it, or whatever else a goat may need.
Basic Barn: $300-$500
State of The Art Barn: $1000+
Are Goats Expensive To Keep?
Once you’ve purchased your goat, you need to factor in the cost of raising them. Iʻve written a post on which farm animal is actually the most profitable, something to think about when you are deciding on which livestock to raise.
Goats are generally cheap animals to keep. If you have space to graze, they can live off grass, twigs, leaves, and hay.
For those with smaller spaces, You can budget for $10-$25 per goat per week, depending on the feed cost in your area.
Goats rarely get sick, but they do need to get their hooves trimmed regularly. If they are not free-ranging on different terrain often, you’ll have to do this every six weeks or so. If you teach yourself how to trim their hooves, you’ll save a lot on vet bills.
Estimated Ongoing Costs:
Low End: $5-$15 per week per goat
Upper End: $25-$50 per week per goat
Goat breeds for Hawaii
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of goat breeds to choose from. There are over 200 types of meat and milk goats originating from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Obviously, you want to try to get goats suited to tropical climates. Here are some of the best goat breeds for Hawaii.
Best Milk Goats for Hawaii
Goats are milked around the world and are a great choice for a family who wants to have fresh milk without the work and size of a cow. A milk goat can produce anywhere from 1 to 6 quarts a day. Many milk goat breeds can also be used for meat.
Nubians are one of the best milk goats with high production and a hardy nature. They were developed in the UK as a mix between African and Indian breeds and native British milk breeds. What resulted was a goat that could survive in diverse conditions used for both milk and meat production.
Galla goats are native to Kenya and were developed by researchers to combat hunger and poverty. They produce lots of milk, mature early, and raise kids. They also are hardy and can forage well.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Nigerian Dwarf goats don’t produce very much milk and their teats can be difficult to milk because of how small they are. But these small animals can fit on a small homestead, and their milk is high in butterfat, making delicious cheese.
Best Meat Goats for Hawaii
Breeders and homesteaders in Hawaii have raised these meat goats that are especially suited for the tropics. Some also double as milk goats.
Boer goats are one of the top meat goats in the world, descended from feral goats in South Africa. They aren’t as good at foraging as other breeds, but they provide lots of meat and often produce 2, instead of 1, kids. You can also use Boer goats for milk, and Boer/Nubian mixes often are a great choice in Hawaii.
Kiko goats are a cross between feral does and Nubian, Toggenburg, and Saanen bucks, originally from New Zealand. They grow fast and can thrive in rugged terrain.
Spanish Meat Goat
Many feral goats in Hawaii share characteristics of this breed of goat developed in the Southwest US through centuries of natural selection. Spanish Meat Goats are smaller, hardy animals that can grow on sparse rangeland.
Goats not listed here or goat breeds developed in cooler climates are often hardy enough for the tropics if you provide them with sufficient shade and water.
How much land do I need for goats in Hawaii?
Goats need at minimum 10-15 square foot area each for shelter and 30 – 50 square feet each for grazing. Remember to supplement food with plenty of hay and some grain if there isn’t enough fresh food for them to forage.
Goats should always have a well-protected shelter to protect them from heat, heavy wind, or other elements.
Goats are escape artists, though. You may want to invest in a farm animal that doesnʻt take as much maintenance, which you can learn more about in this post that compares some of the most popular farm animals and how much care they take.
What do goats eat in Hawaii?
Goats live wild in Hawaii, so if you have enough space, many goats will thrive off the land. Like sheep and cows, goats are ruminants. Their four stomachs process food much differently than ours, and they can live entirely off the grass, weeds, shrubs, trees, and hay.
You can see a list of all the plants that goats eat in Hawaii here.
People who raise goats often supplement with some grain to increase milk production and provide better meat.
Keeping goats healthy in Hawaii
Goats are hardy animals that don’t often fall ill in Hawaii. Most maintenance you can do yourself. You’ll want to keep goats’ hooves filed down if they aren’t foraging, and you might want to test your goats for diseases every year as well as deworm frequently.
Ready to keep goats in Hawaii? Have more questions about how to raise goats? Let us know.
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