Before anything else you need to do some serious homework. Look at it from a businessman point of view. What capital outlay is needed to start off initially, the running costs and what kind of returns are we looking at?
The most important factor (for me) is to look at market demand. Is it live goats that the market demands be it to fulfill religious obligations (like here in Sarawak, Malaysia) or is the market looking for breeder stock? Is goat milk in demand in your area? Or is processed goat meat needed to supply in your immediate area? There are so many questions that need answered, factors that need consideration related to whatever the sector of this goat business you are venturing into.
Once you have figured out what is your best option based on the market demand and your facilities available then you have to look at the costing. For example if you have found that the demand is in for live goats (taking into consideration the local market price), then its time to first look at what you have in terms of your farm facilities.
Do you already have a farm? Or are you intending to purchase one or start from scratch? How much capital do you need to set the business up? Are you in an area that requires simple fencing and shelter or do you need to also invest into building a goat barn like here in Sarawak? Is electricity and water connection an issue?
Then look at the breeds available to you in your immediate area and work your way out to the possibility to import from overseas. For example many Sarawakian farmers have imported goats from Australia at very high costs (freight is an issue as the numbers are usually too small to take advantage of any savings versus importing in high numbers) and find that the offspring (in this example Boers) are only worth on average 1/3rd to 1/5th of the breeding stock initial costs. Please take into account that a gestation period of 5 months minimum not counting the time for the kid to grow which can be up to an additional 6-9 months before being ready for the market.
One of the high costing considerations is the feed. Does your farm have an area big enough to sustain the goats numbers you intend to have? Or are you going to practice cut and carry for most of the time? Is feeding goat pellets economical for you? What is the price of grain (and what type of grain) in your area? Do you need to invest into vehicles and machinery like a shredding or mulching machine to process the cut grass/forage? Do you need to build a vermin proof shed to store the grain and pellets? Are supplements, medication and other associated items an issue for you to source?
Manpower is also a very important factor. Are you living on the property and are fantasizing looking at this goat business as an addition to supplement your farm’s income? Or are you going to employ labor which automatically means extra costing. If the latter is needed then housing your workers is also another expense not to mention wages. Then insurance and workman compensation has to be factored in.
Once you have got all this basic information in hand, list down your initial setup costs. Remember that you need to first decide on what breed and the numbers you are looking at based on you and your farms capabilities. No sense in projecting for 200 goats when your farm is only 1 hectare! Be sensible. Then figure out your running costs on a weekly/monthly basis. By then you will already have the numbers of the goats you will have so work out now on the potential income from the kid sales or in the case of diary goats the milk sales and so forth. In the case of meat goats you can work out on average your kidding numbers for example giving out a pessimistic figure of 1.5 per year per breeding doe. So you will have for every 10 does an estimate of 15 kids every season. You should be smart enough able to do the sums on your own here and see if you have the potential can generate an income from this business.
SETUP COST + RUNNING COST – PROJECTED INCOME = FUTURE