Meat Goats
Home » Meat Goats » KPI 3-Labour hours/doe

Why it’s Important

When it comes to labour, it pays to look at how you spend your time and how you can be more efficient. Time saved on tasks is time you can spend doing other activities, whether personal or farm related.

Based on five gallon pails, the examples below show the amount of time required when pails are used to provide your herd with their water needs, based on five gallon pails of water:

  • 30 does x 9.5 L (2.1 gallons) = 12.6 pails of water

If each pail takes one minute to fill and bring to the goats, this amounts to close to 15 minutes per day just to provide water for the herd. Fifteen minutes a day doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, this amounts to over 90 hours of labour. At $15/hour, this is costing nearly $1370 per year.


Fifteen minutes a day doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a year, this amounts to over 90 hours of labour. At $15/hour, this is costing nearly $1370 per year.


  • 100 does x 9.5 L (2.1 gallons) = 42 pails of water, or nearly 45 minutes to provide water. Over a year, this is nearly 275 hours of labour. Assuming labour is worth $15/hour, the total cost is $4106.

A heated water bowl costs approximately $450 – $750. It literally pays to invest in a water bowl to save on labour.

1.Lets get started

Use the worksheet below to calculate labour time and value for various herd management activities.

2.Making Improvements

You can save time on labour by having proper handling facilities. Equipment such as livestock chutes, panels, and gates can save you time when performing procedures such as administering medications, sorting, etc. Good handling equipment can save you approximately five hours per animal per year on labour.1

Another consideration is how you can save time on repeated tasks such as feeding and watering. Installing a livestock water bowl is much more efficient than hauling pails of water to your animals every day.


Click here to download a Lean worksheet that will help you identify and minimize non-productive activities on your farm.

Organizing your work areas is key to labour efficiency.  For example, having tools in place where you need them will save you time looking for and walking between storage areas. The 5S Lean principle will help you organize your work areas. Organized work areas reduce the time spent searching for equipment, reduce clutter and provide a safer work environment.

The 5S are:

  1. Sort – eliminate anything that is not necessary to your production system
  2. Set in Order – Every tool on your farm in its designated place, unless it is being used
  3. Shine – Keep work areas clean and well-lit
  4. Standardize – Tasks should be performed the same way with the same sequence every time, no matter who is doing them.
  5. Sustain – Hold everyone accountable for keeping spaces clean and clutter-free.

3.Goal Setting

Please create an account to access the goal setting section. This will allow you to login at anytime in the future so you can evaluate how you’ve progressed. You will be given examples of steps you can take to help reach your goal, and will have the opportunity to indicate what your steps will be. Be sure to upload your completed KPI forms in order to access them in the future.


1L. Connolly, 2001. Irish Farmers’ Journal

“Anything we can do to make our time more efficient is absolutely crucial for us. This tool provides a baseline for knowing labour requirements. As farmers we really have to put a value on our time.”
– Mark Card, meat goat producer
Cardlea Farms, Ontario

“Consider labour requirements for feeding during the off-pasture season versus while goats are on pasture. You may be able to intentionally plan other projects during the time when goats are on pasture.”
– Mark Card, meat goat producer
Cardlea Farms, Ontario

Additional Resources: