How To Get Started With a Registered Dairy Goat Herd

Registering your dairy goat herd is a good step in legitimizing your herd and increasing your sales and profit. It can seem overwhelming at first but these steps will help to guide you through the process. Each of these organizations have wonderful customer service, so if you get stuck, give them a call.

The very first step is to become an American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) member and, if desired, an American Goat Society (AGS) member. You can do this online at and

Note: Maintaining and registering goats with two organizations can get expensive. I strongly recommend doing ADGA as most breeders who show and performance test are ADGA registered and it is easier to transfer an ADGA goat to AGS than an AGS goat to ADGA. Both registries will honor the other’s registration papers but you will have an “AGS” before the goat’s name if going from AGS to ADGA.

If you decide to do both, you’ll need to call both registries and confirm that your herd name and tattoo are available with both.

You will need a tattoo ID code. This is a 3-4 character code that will be individual to only you. It’s easier to call ADGA and ask them to help you find a unique code and while you're on the phone, to run through some herd name choices instead of trying to do it online.

Picking Your Herd Name

The second step is to choose and register a herd name with ADGA and if you want, AGS,

You’ll want to choose something reasonably short as it will be included in your minimum 30 character count for each goat’s name. For example, our herd name is “Red Rooster “, this is 12 characters including all spaces, leaving me with 18 characters for naming my goats.

You also want to choose something easy to spell and remember. Remember, this will be your brand and the name you use often, you want it to be memorable and simple.

You can check on the ADGA genetics website for herd names already taken. Under “pedigrees” Search “name starts with” and type in the herd names you’re considering. You can see what is already in use.

Note that this is also a great resource to plan breedings and look up goats you’re considering purchasing. You can check to make sure the parents of a kid are both registered prior to purchasing.

Make your list of 3-5 optional herd names and then call ADGA to see what they have available. TIP: If you have pending registrations to complete, you can ask ADGA to give you your ID# over the phone so you can get started.

Registering a new goat for the first time

Each of of boxes on the ADGA registration application has a corresponding instruction box on the form. If you are registering with AGS, you will need to fill out the AGS specific form. The information is the same but in a different format.

Box 1 - Name

This is where you enter the goat’s name. You can do two options but I’ve never had the first one denied. Just stay within the 30 character limit including spaces and your herd name.

Many breeders use the initials of the sire in the kids’ names to help keep track of them. For example, our doe Baby’s Breath is sired by Ima Hustler Baby, so I put HB before her name. “RED ROOSTER HB BABY’S BREATH”

It’s fun to pay homage to the parents or ancestors when naming kids but not required. Some people like to have themes. We have themes each year (flowers/herbs, weather/seasons, sweets etc.) Other people like to have themes on certain lines. For example, one of my bucks is a name Kealoha because all of his dam’s progeny were named Hawaiian themed names.

Box 2 - Name of Sire (father)

Note if your sire was leased or borrowed at the time of the breeding, you must submit a "breeding memo" (if he was borrowed) or a "lease agreement" (if he was leased) from the sire’s owner with the registration papers. Both of these forms can be found under the "Forms" link on the ADGA website. If the owner of the sire is willing to register the breeding memo online, then you can complete your registration online. Otherwise, it must be mailed in with the breeding memo. Lease agreements must be sent in via snail mail.

If you are borrowing a buck, be sure you check to see if the buck is registered and that you receive a breeding memo at the time of service.

Box 3 - Name of Dam (mother)

Note that if she was leased, you'll need to file a "lease agreement" or submit it with the kids' registration papers.

Box 4 - Breed

Box 5 - Color, markings and breed confirmation

This can be a little tricky if you want to be exact in your color description. It’s fine to call a buckskin goat “tri-color” but it’s more accurate to use “buckskin”. This website is great for Nigerian Dwarf color patterns:

Box 6 - Sex/4 generation pedigree

Box 7 - DOB and # of kids in birth

Box 8 - Horns and ears

Disbudded is when the horns are burned off as babies.

Polled is a naturally hornless goat.

Dehorned is when the horns were removed surgically on an older goat.

Box 9 - Tattoo and Microchip

Microchips alone will not be accepted as ID for shows or performance testing. If the goat’s tattoos are not legible, a USDA approved microchip can serve as back up.

You don’t have to actually tattoo the animal to register it. If you are showing, milk testing or appraising, the goats must be tattooed. I always ask buyers if they want their kids done. It’s a painful procedure and there is no reason to do it if they are a pet or not going to be in any performance programs.

Box 10 - Breeder (owner of the dam at the time of service.)

Box 11 - Signature of breeder

This is the number one mistake when submitting paperwork. Make sure the breeder has signed this section as well as the next section for transfer, if applicable.

Box 12 - Transfer

This is to be completed and signed if, at the time of registration, the goat will be transferred to the ownership of anyone besides the breeder. Be sure that any goats you purchase have this box completed and signed or the registration will be sent to the breeder in their name, not yours!

Box 13- fees

Be sure to send in the appropriate fees with your registration papers.

Transferring registration of a goat already ADGA registered

If you purchase a goat who is already registered, the process is slightly different than registering a goat for the first time. You must receive the original certificate of registry from the seller with the bottom section completed and signed (ADGA). If the goat is AGS, there is not a place to sign on the original certificate and so a bill of sale must be submitted.

Bill of Sale - you may receive a bill of sale but the signed original ADGA certificate of registry serves as our bill of sale and your application. AGS requires this documentation as proof of sale to transfer ownership.

Mail in the original certificate of registration along with the appropriate fees. If you are using AGS, you will need to submit an application for registry, bill of sale, the original certificate and the appropriate fees.

Transferring from AGS to ADGA

If you purchased an AGS registered goat and you wish to register that goat with ADGA, you will need to send the original AGS certificate, the bill of sale, a new registration application and fees to AGS.

When you received the new AGS registration papers in your name, send the new, original AGS certificate to ADGA with the appropriate fees.

TIP: You can call ADGA or look on the ADGA genetics site, and see if the parents are both ADGA registered. If they are, you can fill out an ADGA application form and send in your bill of sale. In doing it this way, you won’t have that “AGS” notation by the names of the goat and the goat’s pedigree will be more complete on the ADGA genetics website. An “AGS” goat on ADGA will not show any parentage in the online system.

If you purchase a new goat that comes with AGS paperwork, is not registered AGS or ADGA yet but you want it to be registered ADGA, first check to see if the parents are ADGA registered. If they are not, you will have to complete the AGS registration and then submit the original certificate to ADGA. If they are both ADGA registered, request an ADGA registration application from the breeder.

Note that “AGS” will appear before the name of your goat on the ADGA registry if you use the AGS certificate and not an ADGA application.

Transferring from ADGA to AGS

Mail a copy ADGA certificate of registry, an AGS application and the appropriate fees to AGS. There will not be any notation in the AGS registry distinguishing this goat from any other goat registered directly.

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