Updated: Oct 5, 2020
One of my favorite sayings is, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”, or “when performance is measured, performance is improves”. As is no secret to anybody who has visited our website before, we believe strongly in the importance of data backed performance. For meat producers, whether they be goats, sheep, cattle, or some other animal, pounds sold is the number one driver of profitability. A big driver of pounds sold is the genetics of your herd. For meat producers, that means measuring cost efficient weight gain.
Obviously, to measure weight (and hence performance) you need a scale. So, with that in mind, we set out to find an affordable goat scale. Ever try Googling “goat scale”? Results are less than helpful at best. Especially an affordable scale. After a lot of research and shopping, we decided to try the A&A small livestock scale kit. It measures up to 1000 lbs at 0.2 lb increments, which was more than enough for goats, and accurate enough for goats. We were able to purchase it on Amazon for $160 after shipping. This was way less than any of the alternatives with the same stats, so we stepped out on the proverbial limb to give it a shot.
We spent another $35 to buy four 2”x6”x8’ boards, some 2.5” wood screws, and some ½” by 1.5” long screws for mounting the plates. It was a relatively simple process to assemble and make our own platform. We cut the 2x6 boards to 4’ lengths, and 33” wide (six 2x6’s wide). This made use of most of board that way and seemed to be about the right size to fit any sized goat on it (including big bucks, if desired). We then screwed them together. [Update: we've since decreased the size to four 2x6's wide. We found the original width was too wide for our chute and too heavy.]
Using a circular saw, we cut roughly a ½” groove in each of the boards going width ways one each end (pictured below). This allowed us to put the connecting wires into those slots, leading from each corner to the middle junction box. From there, we simply mounted the plates using the ½ inch screws, and washers and wired the junction box (instructions included in the kit, so I won’t detail here). We then zip-tied the excess cords together to clean it up, and we were finished. It took in all about two hours. The longest part was trying to put the idea and plan together, so hopefully we saved you some headache there. We built the whole thing with a circular saw and a cordless drill, so it doesn’t take much.
From there it was a simple step to calibrate it and we now have a working scale.
I will finish by saying, that we are not promoting any specific scale, and we were not paid to write this. This is purely our experience thus far. We wanted to share because we had such difficulty finding anything anywhere on this topic. We'll update this as we go along with our experiences actually using it.