Maybe Everybody Should Raise Goats!

Hoosier Perspectives

Don't ask too many questions about where the meat goes.

Published on: June 3, 2013

More than one farmer in Indiana converted from hogs to goats over the past 10 years. It's no laughing matter. And the Indiana 4-H and FFA livestock judging contests has even added goats as part of the animals to be judged during the competition.

None of that makes them popular with everyone. Goats seem to be a hate them or love them animal. It's cute to watch young goats jump and play. It's not so cool to get chased by a billy goat of mature size.

My father, now deceased, loved to tell the story about the billy goat they had on their farm during the depression. His father had inherited him with the rented farm, as the story goes. There was an old-style bank barn with a driveway up to the front entrance and a lower level in the back. The family had a Model T Ford with a canvas canopy. They often parked it in the open driveway of the barn, with a loft on each side. It wasn't long before the goat was jumping onto the canopy. And no, it wasn't hoof resistant.

Goats seem to be a hate them or love them animal.
Goats seem to be a hate them or love them animal.

That's not what did him in however. One summer day my dad's mom had dinner on the table, and left to go get the men folk at the farm down the road. When they got back there was a hole in the screen door, a hole in the tablecloth (yes, they used them back then!), and all the dishes on the floor. The food was nowhere to be found – but the goat standing in the barnyard looked mighty full and proud of himself.

Dad claims that if grandfather wanted to sleep in the same house with grandmother that night, the goat had to be gone by sundown. Somehow he talked some poor sap into trading him a sow and pigs for the billy goat. As my father told the story, his dad's parting words to the lucky trader were "no returns."

Sitting at the auction the other night, I watched a 200 pound wether goat bring $12.50 a pound. My 115 pound lambs only brought $1.05 per pound. There is something wrong with this picture! What are they doing with those goat wethers? I quickly decided I probably didn't want to know.

When I got home I told my wife we could make more money selling the sheep and raising goats. She quickly informed me that if I ever came home with a goat, I wouldn't be sleeping in her house that night. She had her principles, she said, and she drew the line at goats.

It's a good thing we're not all made the same. Otherwise if we were all wired like my wife and me, there would be no goats anywhere. Surely someone would miss them … just not us!