Ideally, you are looking for healthy animals with a docile disposition that will be productive under your management system. Several highly contagious diseases of goats are common in large herds. One advantage of starting out small is you can be picky about selecting your breeding stock from herds that are free of these common diseases. Herds with foot rot and Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) abscesses can not be commercially viable; there are definitely costs and headaches associated with eradicating or trying to control these two highly common diseases. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you don’t buy from infected herds to begin with. If you absolutely must buy animals from contaminated herds in order to obtain the number of animals necessary to start up your operation, consider taking these precautions:
1) Choose herds where the incidence is low and where eradication and/or isolation of carriers is being attempted.
2) Purchase young animals within the herd that visibly appear free of disease.
3) Have your own disease control management plans in place before you bring home these potentially infected animals. If you sell yearling goats and cull does for meat, be aware that these more mature animals can have CL abscesses in the lymph nodes of their hindquarters. You can lose customers for life if they slice into a nicely done abscess on their holiday roast!
4) Quarantine new animals for a minimum of 30 days before releasing into an existing herd that is already established.