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What is the difference between registered and non-registered goats?

Are you wondering "Should I buy registered goats or unregistered"? What is the difference? Lets look at the positive aspects for both registered and non-registered goats first:


  1. • Registered goats have a historical pedigree kept on record with the registar giving you a clear record of your goat's genetics. This will enable you to make better breeding decisions.
  2. • Registered goats can participate in performance programs that are run through the registration agencies such as Linear Appraisal, Sanctioned Shows and DHIR milk testing. They can earn nationally recognized awards and designations. What are Performance Programs? Read More...
  3. • There is more demand for registered goats than there is for goats that are not registered, so when it comes time to sell your goats, or kids from your goats, you will have a much bigger market to sell to if your goats are registered.
  4. • Registered goats command a higher sales price so when it comes time to sell kids from your registered goats, not only will you have a wider market to appeal to, but you will be able to charge more for the kids.

  1. •Purchasing non-registered goats is cheaper.
  2. •If they will never be used for breeding, it may not make sense to spend more on registered goats.
There really is only one negative aspect to buying registered goats and that is intial cost. It does cost the same to feed, house and care for registered or unregistered goats, so it is the upfront cost that should be considered. I personally feel like you get a great return on your investment by purchasing registered goats since their kids will command a higher sales price and you are able to participate in performance programs.

About The Registration Agencies

There are several registration agencies available to goat owners. It would benefit you to find out which registar is used the most widely for the particular breed you are interested in and buy goats already registered through that registar or make sure you will be able to move them to that registar.

ADGA - The most popular registar for dairy goats is ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association). They have the best (and I think ONLY) online pedigree database available to everyone (yes, everyone! even non-members!) They have milk records, linear appraisal records, awards, and way way more all available online to anyone. It can really help you learn alot about the lines of a particular goat you either already have or are interested in purchasing. They register a variety of dairy breeds but no meat breeds (Boer, kiko, pygmy...etc). They also do not register mini dairy goats... not to be confused with Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats. A mini dairy goat is a cross between a standard full sized dairy goat and a Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat. Purebred Nigerian Dwarf goats ARE very much accepted in the ADGA registry and account for their highest current registrations of any breed!

MDGA - The Mini Dairy Goat Association MDGA is exactly what it sounds like, a registar that specializes in the registration of mini dairy goats, which is a cross between a full size dairy goat breed and a Nigerian Dwarf.

AGS - The American Goat Society AGS had the corner on the Nigerian Dwarf market for a long time until ADGA finally decided to allow Nigerian Dwarfs. They've seen a lot of registrations migrated over to ADGA since then. Some people are still using AGS, and the good news is that it is normally very easy to transfer over an AGS registration to ADGA, but if you are interested in a particular goat that is only AGS registered, definetly check to be sure first!

There are a handful of other, less known/used registars out there, my advice is that if you find a goat you love, that is registered in one of the less popular registars, make sure you will be able to transfer it over first.

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I live on the side of a mountain with 65 goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead. My purpose is to "Inspire, Encourage & Empower".
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