How Much Does a Goat Cost In the UK?
Goats are a popular farmyard animal in many countries besides the US thanks to their smaller size and wide range of uses.
How much does a goat cost in the UK? In the UK, a goat can cost as little as £25 ($34). But you’ll need to multiply that by at least two because goats are social animals who cannot be kept alone. There are additional costs associated with goats beyond the initial purchase price, such as a pen, shelter, grain, hay, vet bills, and the registration of the animals and land you’ll be keeping them on.
Read on for a thorough breakdown of goat ownership costs in the UK!
Buying a Goat In the UK Cost Guide
Initial UK Goat Purchase Cost
Depending on the size, breed, sex, and age, adult goats tend to go for £60 ($82) – £300 ($409). Goats of the same qualifications fall within the same cost range in the US as they do in the UK.
Typically females are more valuable in the breeds best for milking for the goat milk and goat cheese trade, while males are more valuable in the meat and fiber production field.
Neutered males of breeds raised for their coats produce the greatest amount of fiber because of their size and because more energy is diverted to hair growth since none is needed for hormone production, breeding, or fending off rival males. In the meat breeds, males produce more than females simply due to their greater size.
Keep in mind, though, that goats are social animals who must be a part of a herd. Animals housed singly will be unhappy and develop negative behaviors in an attempt to escape to find a herd or to keep themselves entertained throughout the immense boredom of being alone. So no matter what your reason is for purchasing a goat, you’ll need to purchase two at the very least. More is better.
How Goat Breed Affects Cost In The United Kingdom
The pygmy and dwarf breeds of goats tend to be less expensive as they are less useful for producing milk, meat, or goat hair fiber. These goats can cost as little as £30 ($40).
Angora goats, whose soft hair is shorn and made into fiber for a variety of products, are one of the more expensive UK goat breeds. A single adult angora usually goes for £220 ($300) to £257 ($350).
UK Legal Requirements For Goats That Affect Cost
In the US, it is possible to acquire a goat or multiple goats from basically anywhere, take it/them pretty much anywhere (except across a few state lines), and keep them there with no questions asked. As long as you provide the goat with a proper diet, space to roam and browse, and at least one friend for company, no one will report you for neglect. And no one will care about your goats.
But in the UK, the keeping of farm animals is much more strict. Goats, and other animals, such as sheep and pigs, must all be registered with the government. Any land on which these animals are kept must also be registered as a holding. And detailed records must be maintained for the movement of animals and for medical records for each.
These strict rules are in place in order to reduce the risk of disease wiping out a significant number of animals very quickly by careless spreading. But it costs money to do all the registering, and there are also penalty fees for not registering as you’re supposed to.
Unfortunately, the exact costs of these registration and penalty fees are not readily available on the internet, so this will be a mystery cost. But more information on these rules and regulations can be found here.
Other Factors That Affect UK Goat Cost
As a general rule, baby goats are less expensive than adults of the same breed and sex. This is because an adult can probably be used for milk, meat, or fiber production or breeding almost immediately, while a baby will need several months to a year to grow to maturity and be able to breed or produce any valuable products.
The time of year can also be a factor. Adult goats may be more highly in demand at the beginning of the breeding season than at the beginning of winter, which can drive up the cost.
When it comes to goats being shown in competitions or bred specifically to be indoor pets, an animal’s pedigree and “purebred” value can also cause the price to go up.
Hay Costs In the UK For Goats
During the warmer months, goats will mostly forage or “browse” for food outside. They are considered browsers rather than grazers, which means they tend to go for the foliage on shrubs and low-hanging branches rather than grass.
Most sources recommend supplementing their diet with grain up to about 20% when they have good access to plants and shrubs throughout the day.
In the cooler months, during which browsing is not an option, they will need to be provided with hay and more grain. For a 25 kg (55 lb) bale of hay, the UK cost tends to be around £12 ($17). An average goat will consume about 1.5 kg (3 lb) per day. So you’re looking at approximately 1.5 bales of hay per goat per month. Approximately £18 ($25)/month per goat. For, say, six months of cooler weather during which hay is needed, that comes to £108 ($148) per goat per year for hay.
Buying Goat Shelter Materials In the UK
Lumber prices have skyrocketed everywhere in recent years, so building a shelter for your goats will cost a bit more at present than it used to and hopefully will again in the future. The cost of lumber right now for a small goat shelter could fall anywhere between £500 ($670) and £3,000 ($4,100), depending on how fancy and how large you choose to make the structure.
Buying Vet Care for Goats In the UK
A typical goat exam fee alone is in the £60 ($82) range. But if the animal is sick and requires testing, medications, overnight care, and/or a surgical procedure, the cost can fly exponentially higher. If you have a vet drive out to your farm rather than bringing your animals to the vet, that will be an additional fee as well. That would probably be worth it, though, if you don’t have a trailer or if you need many animals examined.
All in all, the cost per goat in the UK is fairly comparable to the cost in the US. Assuming no vet visit is needed, a shelter must be built, and legal registration fees wind up in the area of £25 ($34) per goat, the total cost for a single goat falls within the range of £663 ($865) to £3,433 ($4,690). Now that includes the cost of the shelter. If we remove the shelter since we won’t need a new shelter for each goat, that comes to £163 ($223) to £433 ($591) per goat. Since you’ll need at least two to fulfill their social requirements, go ahead and double those numbers for the most accurate initial cost.
To learn more about owning and caring for goats and other farm animals, you can find my latest articles here!