The type of goat to be purchased depends on the type of country they will be run on, the breeding objectives adopted, the capital available, and the need for short-term returns.
In the case of land clearance and development it will be desirable to get the cheapest stock available, since they will be required to utilise less than optimum feed for quality fiber production.
Feral goats are the obvious choice, but it is no use buying poor–condition animals since they will not be able to do the job and may not even survive. For very rough country, bucks or wethers, and cull females, may be suitable.
As the country is opened up and feed supplies improve, feral does can be brought in and a breeding-up programme commenced while effective control of regrowth is maintained.
High-priced Angora stock have always been recognised as needing good feeding and good shelter, and fairly intensive management, but it is now becoming evident that cashmere goats also need these if they are to produce well.
It has generally been thought that ferals are hardier than Angoras, but experience is throwing some doubt on this belief.
It may be that because Angoras are better fed, and therefore in better condition, and are more fully adapted to farming conditions and therefore less subject to stress, they are actually hardier, in a sense than ferals.
Once the feed requirements of ferals at certain critical times of the year are more widely recognised and met, they may prove to be hardier, but at this stage of the industry’s development it seems advisable to regard cashmeres and Angoras as equally in need of good feed and shelter.
Goats can be obtained from neighbouring farms, through stock agents, or at auctions.
No matter what sort of goats are being purchased, or where, it is important for the purchaser to do some homework first.
Long before going to an auction, one should know what type of goats are going to suit the conditions under which they will be run, and to meet one’s financial objectives.
The next step is to find out what constitutes a good animal of that type, and how to identify it, and what it should cost.
The main problem for newcomers to goat farming is to know what to look for; even those with some experience have some difficulty agreeing on what constitutes a good animal.