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New to pack goats - Eoeelkhunter - 05-28-2020

Hello my name is Trevor I’m 34 years old and I live in carnation Washington. I’ve been hunting my whole life and finally decided that I needed help with getting into the backcountry (and out!) so I have purchased 3 goats from elweiss farms in Olympia 2 one year olds and a 6 year old. I was hoping to keep buying some older and hopefully experienced goats but they are difficult to find so I wanted to see if anyone had any good suggestions for me or should I just bite the bullet and buy some babies and just not be able to pack for a few more years? Thanks for any advice or information in advance!


RE: New to pack goats - Taffy - 06-02-2020

Hi Trevor!  Welcome to the wonderful world of packgoats!

If you think into the future you are going to want your goats to be spread out in age so they don't all need to retire at once.

You have a good start with the 3 you have now.  If you want more now I'd buy a couple of kids so there is a year spread between the yearlings you have now and the kids.  You'll need two of approximately the same size/age so they'll have a buddy.

Occasionally older packgoats are for sale.  However, you may be purchasing someone else's problems.  Do your homework and spend time with them to see their personality in the herd, on the trail and how they react to you.

Bottle fed or younger kids will bond more tightly with you.  That is extremely important for their time on the trail.

There are a number of goatpackers here in Washington!

Be sure to join NAPgA if you haven't already!


RE: New to pack goats - SpotNStalk - 06-03-2020

Hi Trevor from a fellow Washingtonian (I'm in Selah which is just outside of Yakima in Central Washington).  Welcome to the wonderful world of pack goats and to this forum.

I'm relatively new to goats and pack goats having purchased 4 bucklings (wethers) from Dwite Sharp back in March of 2019 and 4 doelings from him in July 2019.  

I would echo Taffy's comments.  If I were to make a suggestion it would be that you consider adding 2 kids now or next spring to raise and train to build up your string.  At the same time you could be looking for proven packers in the 3-4 year old range to fill the gap in age between your yearlings and the 6 year old you already have.  Keep in mind that it is  tough to find proven pack goats that are adults so if you find them at a reasonable price, buy them, but the price might be steep given the time, investment, and value of a proven pack goat.  It is a good idea to spread the ages of your goats out so that your string is constantly rotating new younger goats in as older goats age and eventually retire from packing.

I hope to breed at least 2 and possibly all 4 of my girls to Dwite Sharp bucks (or perhaps one or two of them to high quality Ober buck with a history of producing pack prospects) this fall and have kids next spring.  I pan to keep 2 boys from those breedings and will sell the other kids that are born.  This way I will have four 2 year olds and two kids in training.  I started with 4 boys so I had enough goats to pack a bit of weight in their 3rd year and full packs in their 4th year (if needed).  By my 6th year in pack goats I will have 6 goats that are able to pack full loads which is probably enough in most cases but I will continue to keep and add 2 wethers from my breedings every other year (unless I get too attached or really good prospects in "off" years) to build my string with varying ages of goats.  I can't imagine really ever needing more than 8 full grown pack goats for myself and my brother for hunting, hiking, and fishing but I expect that I will probably keep a herd consisting of at least 4 girls for breeding and up to 10-12 wethers as they get older, move from trainers to full grown packers, and as full grown packers into retirement.  

I never thought I would have goats much less as many as 16-18 goats at once but that's my plan right now.  I really never thought I would start breeding goats but when the opportunity to buy Dwite's stock came up I realized that the investment was probably worth it and would mean that I shouldn't ever have to "buy" another goat if I don't want to.  I'll breed my own, keep what I need, sell what I don't need.  I'm not saying this is the best route for everyone but its what I hope will work for me.

Best of luck to you!
Chris