I showed market wether goats in high school. I had a total of 5 goats during the years I was in FFA. I won 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at the county show and sale and 3rd and 4th at the local show and sale. I miss showing goats, so it will make my day if I can help others succeed in something that I loved so much. I’ll give you some tips for buying and showing market meat goats.
When buying a market goat, there are a few things you will need to know. Castrated male goats that are sold and raised for the meat market are called wethers. Most meat goats are South American Boer Goat crosses. You want to get a kid (the name for a young goat) that has recently been weaned from its mother. If you get a goat that was weaned too early, it has the potential to not be as big as the other goats. A good seller will offer to keep the kid with its mother until its old enough to go home with you. Make sure the goat you are looking at buying doesn’t look sickly or skinny. You want a goat that has a long loin, a wide back, rounded withers, straight back, straight pasterns, level rump, legs that sit square, and a long and thin neck. To measure the length of the loin, place your thumb of your right hand at the goat’s hip and then place your pinky finger of the same hand at the goat’s last rib. The longer the distance between your fingers the better. You don’t want the goat to be pigeon toed or bowlegged. A good show goat will look healthy and sound. If you have any questions you can always ask the seller or an agriculture teacher.
I’m sure if you bought a market goat you plan to show it, so I’m going to give you some tips for showing your goat. Shear your goat about 5-10 days before the show. This will let track marks from the clipper grow out and your goat will look better. When you shear your goat, you will want to trim their hooves. This will help their posture and make them look clean and nice. The night before you are going to show your goat limit his food and water intake. This will prevent your goat’s stomach from bulging out.
Some people like to drench their goats the night before and the day of a show to make sure they get their nutrients and look their best. Drenching a goat is basically giving them liquid nutrients. You can find drench recipes online.
The biggest tip I have for when you’re in the show ring is to keep showing your goat until you walk out of the ring. Some judges are tricky and you might think they didn’t like your goat, but they might still be looking. If you stop showing your goat, they will stop judging your goat. Watch the judge at all times. Each judge will have preferences in how you show your goat and what you can and can’t do while showing them. Some will let you lift them off the ground and some won’t. Also, by watching the judge with the other competitors, you will know what he/she wants you to do when he/she gets to you. Being prepared will make you look more knowledgeable.
Always keep your goat between you and the judge, even if he/she is just walking around the ring and not actually looking at only your goat. When you set your goat up, make sure his legs are straight and his back legs should be back from his body a little. His neck and body should be straight and in line, and his head should be straight and high. If your goat acts up in the ring, don’t freak out and definitely don’t hit him. Gently correct him. Sometimes goats can be stubborn and refuse to walk. If this happens do not drag your goat, but instead lift up on his tail and sometimes that will get him to walk. The best way to prevent him from refusing to walk during a show is to practice walking every day. If the judge lets you, you can place the goat’s chest on or by your knee, lift him off the ground a few inches, and push back towards him. The goal of this is to get him to push back toward you while you push him and this will make his muscles pop. You should practice this before shows as well. Basically, practice makes perfect and you should always pay attention to the judge.
Good luck in buying and showing your market goat! The years that I showed goats were some of the most fun times of my life and I hope you feel the same. Showing goats is a rewarding and educational experience that I hope you get the most out of.