Goat Consumption Holidays
Ethnic Calendar Shows Dates When Goat Meat Consumption is Popular
The following dates are important to certain ethnic groups. On these holidays, goat meat often is part of the traditional holiday feast. By planning a kid crop to coincide with marketing dates prior to these holidays, you may be able to take advantage of the bigger demand at that time.
Western or Roman Easter
April 8, 2012 March 31, 2013
Type of goat wanted—Fleshy, milk fed kids with relatively light colored meat, 3 months old or younger. Kids weighing less than 20 lbs are generally disappointing to buyers due to low meat to bone ratios and high carcass drying losses. Kids gaining less than 10 lbs per month or 1/3rd pound per day after accounting for birth weight are generally not fleshy enough to be considered prime. Prime Easter kids are generally gaining at least 1/2 lb daily. There generally is a slight price (per lb of live weight) penalty for kids weighing over 40 lbs.
Acceptable weights generally range from 20 to 50 lbs with 30 lbs considered optimum by most buyers.
Eastern or Greek Easter
April 15, 2012 May 5, 2013
Type of goat wanted—Similar to Western Easter kids. A slightly larger milk fed kid (i.e. around 35 lbs) is considered optimum.
Navadurgara or Navratra Dashara or Dassai
Sept.28–October 5, 2011 Oct. 16–23, 2012
This is a Hindu holiday honoring the goddess Durga. Goats are generally slaughtered from the 7th to the 10th day of the holiday after which families meet together and celebrate with curried goat while receiving family blessings. Female goats are not acceptable for this holiday. Relatively tender male goats are generally used. Size of carcass depends on number of people expected to be fed.
Start of Ramadan —can vary by a day depending on the actual sighting of the moon over the United States that year
July 20, 2011 July 9, 2012
Type of goat wanted – male and female kids with all their milk teeth (i.e. not older than @ 12 months). Males can be whole or castrated. Overly fat kids are discriminated against. Optimum live weight is about 60 lbs but weaned kids from 45 – 120 lbs. are accepted by different buyers.
Id al Fitr—The Festival of the Breaking of the Ramadan Fast
Aug. 31, 2011 Aug. 19, 2012
Type of goat wanted—same as for Ramadan.
Id al Adha—The Festival of Sacrifice
Nov. 7, 2011 Oct. 26, 2012
Type of goat wanted – Prefer yearlings (i.e. animals with one set of adult teeth) that are blemish free. Large kids 60 – 100 lbs also in demand. Animals with broken horns, open wounds, torn ears or physical unsoundness generally do not meet the criteria. In some cases, castrated animals with docked tails are frowned upon.
Other holidays when goat meat is commonly consumed include Christmas, the July 4th weekend, and the numerous Caribbean holidays in August – Carnival, Carifest, Jamaican Independence Day, etc.
The Christmas market is for milk fed kids and lambs. These young animals are rare, because they must be produced by out-of-season breeding in May for October births. Kids and lambs as light as 18 lbs may be readily accepted. Goats for July 4th weekend are animals suitable for barbecue, generally cabrito kids or young bucks, does, and wethers with one or no sets of adult teeth.
Optimal goats for the Caribbean holidays are young, smelly 60-80 lb bucks. However, older animals of all sexes are often in demand and customers may prefer to buy them rather than pay the extra price for prime young bucks.
The Chinese market for goat according to Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is “limited to the six colder months. The preferred weight range is 60 to 80 pounds live, and goats in good health are required.”
The Hispanic market for goat is for 20 to35 lb live weight milk-fed kids for cabrito, and larger animals for seco de chivo and can be especially strong in some regions during Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), Mexico’s Independence Day.
More information on popular holidays is available on the web at: http://www.interfaithcalendar.org
Cull does and bucks are also in demand for the curried goat market and for prison contracts.
Raise Goats Your Customers Want
If you’re serious about raising meat goats and making money when you do it, you are going to have to do what every producer of agricultural specialty or every manufacturer of specialty items must do—know your customers.
Have you thought about who your customers are, what they want and when they want it? That’s Marketing 101. And when you’re in an industry that’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type business with not yet fully developed marketing and processing channels, you have to do some sort of self marketing if you expect to make money.
First, identify who your customer are, or who you want them to be. Knowing your customer will allow you to time your kidding in order to have goats ready when your customers prefer to buy them. You’ll also be able to do a little “market research” into what size/age the customer prefers to slaughter and the type or degree of finish they prefer. Sometimes the color or breed of goat will matter as well.
For example, let’s say you are a Florida producer in South Florida and you know you have a ready market of not only Cubans and other Hispanics in Miami and the surrounding area, you also have a population of Jamaicans and other Carribean islanders living in the city. There are two markets for you that are quite different in their preferences. Hispanics generally prefer a younger kid goat, 15–35 pounds at about 5 to 12 weeks old, sometimes a little older, to prepare as cabrito. They will either barbecue a bigger kid or oven bake a smaller kid goat, head and all, sans hooves.
Your Jamaican and other Caribbean customers, on the other hand, will most likely prefer a mature, intact buck which will produce a very strong tasting meat when cooked and served.
Muslims, hands down, prefer to buy goats live, on the hoof. Some customers will take them home to slaughter them. Some Muslim customers will expect you to provide that service. In most states it is illegal for a non-inspected slaughter facility to kill and process animals and sell them. But it may be legal for you, as the seller, to kill and skin the goat as a favor to the customer. Or, it may be legal for you to provide a place for the customer to slaughter his purchase before taking the meat home.
Muslims usually want a lean or pasture raised, not fed or finished, young adult or older kid goat, 9–15 months old.
Because of the trend of using goat meat in gourmet cooking in some areas such as San Francisco and New York City, another potential market for you may be the high end gourmet restaurants. You can develop a relationship with a restaurant or two by promising to deliver a steady supply of freshly killed goat meat and following through on that promise. You will work with the restaurant to determine the age range and / or size of the goats they prefer. You may have an advantage over other goat producers in the area if you are raising certified organic goats or if your goats have some superior quality that your competitors’ do not.
Courtesy of Meat Goat Montly