Here it is, the definitive guide to buying and selling registered goats. Or, in many cases, registrable. Well, maybe not definitive, but this should at least be helpful. There are some basic things you need to know if you want to get into registered livestock, and dairy goats are no exception. I am not familiar with meat goat registries so I won’t delve into them, but I am very familiar with registries for dairy goats. In general, all the registries are similar. You send in a fee and the paperwork and in a couple of weeks you get a piece or paper saying your goat is now registered to you. It seems pretty simple, and it is, but there are a few things people often forget that can give innumerable headaches. This “guide” will tell you what they are and how to avoid them.
The main dairy goat registries in the USA are the American Goat Society (AGS) and the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). Mini-breeds are becoming increasingly popular, and for them you have the Miniature Dairy Goat Association (MDGA), and there are often others the pop up for specific breeds of mini, such as the Mini Saanen/Sable Association. There are some devoted entirely to one breed, in particular the Nigerian Dwarf Goat Association (NDGA) and the American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association (ANDDA). Most of the time you will be dealing with AGS or ADGA for the goats you buy or sell as they cover all the purebred goats in the USA. The only time you really need the others is if you breed mini’s of a standard breed or just want to be involved with your preferred breed through a devoted association.
When you buy or sell a goat that is, or can be, registered, there should always be paperwork involved and it should be completed at the time of the transaction. If it is not, run away as fast as you can and don’t look back! Any responsible breeder should provide these basic items for each registry you can register the goat with;
- copies of dam and sires registration papers
- registration paper for the goat in question (AGS) (ADGA)
- transfer of owner/bill of sale paper (AGS) (ADGA)
- breeding memo/service memo for a bred doe (AGS) (ADGA)
- receipt of purchase showing what you bought/sold and the price paid
If, at the time of purchase these things are not made available, do NOT buy the animal! I can’t tell you how many times I or people I know have been burned by breeders that did not provide these items or did not fill them out correctly. Once that animal leaves the farm and the breeder has your money you will be hard-pressed to get that paperwork in a timely manner, if at all. It will often take constant bugging, court costs, hurt feelings and bad reputations to get what you want, or you suck it up and take a loss and call it a learning experience. If you have paid a deposit, demand it be returned if they will not give you the paperwork you need to register the animal and walk away, or even forfeit the deposit so you are not out even more money.
If you buy or sell a bred doe or breed a doe after sale, be sure the date of breeding is correct and have the paper for the breeding at the time of sale. It is not acceptable for a breeder to tell a buyer that they will provide the breeding memo AFTER kids are born. You will never get that breeding memo or the dates will be wrong, or the breeder will have sold the buck and not have be able to get the information needed any longer. Just simply have the paper at time of sale. Note that if you buy a doe and ask the breeder to breed her for you so you can have the use of the buck there but use your own herd name, if the date of sale is not prior to the date of breeding you cannot use your herd name and the breeder would have to fill out all the registration paperwork for any babies resulting from that breeding.
A responsible breeder will have all of this for you and show you where to send your paperwork, where to sign it, and explain what each is for and what needs to be done. In my own case, I usually even include an envelope for each registry and staple the papers together with everything that needs to go to each registry so there are no mistakes by beginners. Yes, breeders can make a mistake, but they should correct it promptly and not make you wait months or years. Be a responsible buyer and seller; make sure you know ahead of time what you need when you buy a goat, and make sure if you are selling one to pretend you are registering that goat and make sure all the needed documents are provided. It makes everyone much happier.