If you grew up in the rural area, you must have seen people keep goats around the house (Most times very few of them, like 4, 5 or even 6 in numbers), This is basically how we engage in goat farming in most African homes.
Hardly will you see a man/woman invest so much in goat farming, like goat farming for us starts and ends in buying very few numbers of goats, allowing the goats to move around the house sourcing for their food and when they mature, they are sold or killed during celebrations.
This makes me wonder what goat farming means to us?
What is goat farming?
Goat farming in a simple term is the act and process of rearing and raising goat for consumption as meat or sale for profit. That’s basically what it means to many, but this is not all about goat farming, Goat farming is a serious business, it is the act of engaging in the business of goat rearing.
Different farmers rear goats for different purposes.
Different reasons people engage in goat farming
Research has shown that we have different reasons why people engage in goat farming, most of which are
Goat farming for meat
Goat farming for meat is where most goat farmers fall into, we rear goat for the sole reason of when we need meat, I grew up in a home where goats are reared in preparation for festive periods likes Christmas, New year celebration and other important celebrations, aside from this purpose, it was never about the goat.
Those who engage in goat farming for meat rear goat in very small quantities. Three, Four, or Six is enough for them, once one is killed, they replace it with another and the circle continues.
Goat farming sales
Goat farming for sales is another purpose of rearing goat in most African homes, as much as these sets of goat farmers comes close to the business of goat farming, they still don’t see it as their main source of income.
Most of the people that fail in this category buy goats from peasant farmers and sell in a bigger market for profit-making, they go to the rural areas, buy at a cheaper rate, transport them to the cities of more developed areas and sell them to people who are in search of goats for certain celebration or purposes.
Goat farming for milk
Goat farming for milk is another purpose of engaging in goat farming. These sets of goat farmers are rare to see, they need these milk for special purposes such as cultural reasons, so to make sure they get real goat milk, they rear goats by themselves to avoid being sold cow milk in the name of goat milk.
I, just like you, have been wondering why we don’t invest much in goat farming, even though from the little we engaged in it, it came out profitable.
I won’t be wrong to say that we just don’t understand the business of goat farming and therefore haven’t harnessed our knowledge about goat farming, whichever is the reason you can think of, we need to invest more in goat farming, and here is why.
Reason why you should invest in goat farming
- One of the cheapest animals to rear is a goat, you don’t spend in goat rearing, you can get your farm up and running with locally made materials and your farm will be ok.
- Goat feeds on almost all healthy herbs, so the food is never going to be a problem. You can get them from any bush around you.
- Unlike other animals, goat doesn’t need much vaccination, they can withstand very harsh conditions.
- Goat can produce fine in any system of farming; be it Intensive, Extensive of Mixed farming.
- The market demand for goat products (Meat and waste product for manure) is high. People eat goat meat regularly.
Marketing of goat is so easy, buyers are everywhere, goat can be sold anywhere to market your goat won’t be a problem.
- You can rear goat while still engaging in other activities, this is because, goats don’t require too much attention to produce well.
From the above points, it’s easy to say that goat farming is very profitable and worth every try.
How much profit is in goat farming?
How profitable is goat farming? This is where most persons care much about, the truth about this question is “Goat farming is very profitable and am not answering this because of research or what I read somewhere, am answering this because I am into goat farming, my father was too.
You can decide to be a goat framer by being the intermediate between the consumers and the farmers; that is, buying from the farmers, transport them to the cities where they are in high demand and sell.
You can as well rear them yourself, whichever method you approach goat farming, be sure that you will make a profit from goat farming.
Goat farming for beginners
Hopefully, you are convinced that goat farming is profitable and worth trying out, here are what you need to start what should translate to a sucessful goat farming business.
The first thing you need to do is to plan your kind of goat farming.
Planning your kind of business here involves deciding whether you are going to start goat farming by rearing it yourselves or by acting the intermediate role
An intermediate goat farmer engages in buying goats from rural farmers, transport the goats to the city and sell them in the markets where they are demanded in high quantity.
You can decide to play this role or be the producer, whichever way you want, it is a good choice.
The choice of how you engage in goat farming should depend on factors like
Your Budget: this has to do with the amount of money you have with you that you can invest in goat farming, mostly cash at hand or one you are sure is readily available.
Land: if you don’t have land for building your goat house, then engaging in goat farming as an intermediate man is the best option for you. (You don’t need lands here; you can buy today and sell all tomorrow).
Your area of residence: where you live is another factor, if the people won’t allow the noise and disturbance that comes with goat farming, then you have to do something about how to manage that before starting your farm.
Community rules: I doubt if there will be sure, but in case there is a regulation banning goat farming, there you have to check which is better for you with regards to this.
Good planning will help you a lot, you have to also decide the number of goats you are to start your farm with, whether to start with 3 males and 5 females. It is preferable to have a bigger number of female goats upon starting your farm; this helps to increase your farm fast.
A single male goat can mate three or four female goats, and still, maintain the same energy. Of course, to expand your farm, you need the female goats to reproduce often.
Building your goat House
This is an important part of starting your farm, you have to build a strong structure, either with woods and nail or cement.
The type of house to construct for your goat farming depends on the following
- Your budget: You have to make sure that you will have money left for managing other aspects of the farm while building your farmhouse.
- Your location: Where you want to erect your farm.
- Your system of farming:
There are three main systems of goat farming.
The intensive, semi-intensive, and extensive systems of goat farming.
Intensive snail housing system
This is a system of goat farming where the goats are kept in a house, their activities are totally controlled by the farmer, and they are closely monitored and are under total supervision by the owner.
The farmer is totally in control of how the animals move about, where they go, and when they go to wherever they are going.
The farmer also has full control of what they eat, animals tend to eat while they move about, in this system, they only eat what they are given.
Though this system may appear to be more costly, they are better because it gives you full control of the farm and it is also more effective in disease control.
Semi-intensive snail housing system
Here, the activities of the goats are controlled, but to an extent, they are not under total supervision after a few weeks of birth. They are allowed to move about in an enclosed area. Food is supplied to them as a supplement to the one they must have gotten outside.
Extensive snail housing system or Free-range Snail Farming System
In the extensive or Free-range goat farming system, goats is not housed, they are allowed to move around within an area freely. This system is not advisable because the goats are exposed to external attacks and diseases.
Construction of goat house with wood
Picture from www.farmingmethod.com/
This a more local way of constructing goat houses, woods are erected and joined together with nail and robe to prevent the goats from escaping, this style of goat house can be seen in rural areas and semi-urban places.
They are cheap to build and more suitable for sizable goat farming. The woods are changed at internal (Maybe yearly or in a matter of months).
They usually have a zinc cover to prevent the direct impact of the sun or rain. For a start, you can use this method of goat house construction and change when the farm starts growing.
Construction of goat house with Cement
In this method of goat house building, the house is constructed using blocks from cement, the floor is made with concrete for easy removal of waste products, the floor should be bent so that waste and water can easily be swept out of the pens.
The goats should be kept separate, the male (Buck or Billy) should be kept separate from the female (Does or Nanny), the same goes to the little goats (Kids) after weaning.
Buying of your goats
Like earlier stated, the number of goats to start with depends on what you can manage, there is no benchmark.
Make sure you buy your goats from someone you can trust; this is because some goats displayed in the market are not as healthy as they appear to be, buying goats with health challenges will ruin your farm and cost you more on vaccination.
Introduction of your goats
You can introduce your goat (Putting the goats into the pen), immediately after buying them, don’t forget to separate the Bucks and the Nannies.
Management practices in goat farming
The management practices in goat farming involve the day to day activities that aid in the rearing, growth, and development of your goats. There are several management practices necessary in goat farming, here, we will discuss a few of these practices.
Feeding in Goat Farming
Goats are herbivores, they eat herbs, plant materials, and many other products, crops like cassava leaves are food for goat, different leaf type, by-products like yam peels, cassava peels, and lots more. Goats eat virtually anything healthy.
Mating in goats
Just like other animals, goats mate with each other to produce their young ones. Depending on the pattern of management, (a doeling is a young female goat), between 6 to 7 months, the goats should be ready for pregnancy (Age of attainment of puberty is 6 months to one year). When ready, the doeling starts displaying signs of heat (When it needs a male for mating).
Signs of heat in goat
Picture from www.homesteading.com
- The frequency of tail movement increases in the presence of males called Wagging of the tail.
- The goat bleats frequently.
- It becomes restless and gets very excited at the sight of a male goat.
- It eats less and moves around
- The goat starts to drop in milk substance from the tip of the reproductive organ.
- The Ulva becomes swollen
- It seeks the buck very often and very anxious.
- It remains close to the buck.
- Sometimes, it mounts other goats around, this it does hope for a return of mounting.
At this point, you are required to introduce the buck for mating to take place, after two or three days of constant mounting on the doeling by the buck, remove the buck from the pen of the doeling for the doeling to rest.
Note: The male should be introduced into the female pen only during mating, as soon as the doeling gets pregnant, you are to remove the buck from the doeling’s pen.
Care of goat during Pregnancy
The gestation period of a goat is 145 – 156 days. During gestation, a goat requires extra care. Male goats are not allowed to mount on them. They are not allowed to engage in too many stressful activities to avoid undue delivery.
The doeling should be fed well. They should always remain untied, the pen should be made free and spacious for easy delivery when the time comes.
Goats on delivery lick the kids to get them off the mucus substances that cover the kids, you are required to help with the disposing of the cord. Food is also needed immediately after delivery, it helps the doeling to recover fully.
Picture from www.alamy.com
Cleaning your goat farm should be a priority for you, there is no time frame, it can be done anytime and when necessary. This helps to produce healthy-looking goats and improve the market price of your goats.
Vaccination is rarely a problem in goat farming, goats naturally have a strong resistance to disease and infection, but it is advisable to vaccinate your goats, at least once in a year or consult a veterinary doctor, who will from time to time check your goats and advise you on what needs to be done to maintain a good and healthy farm.
The last part of our journey is the marketing of your goat.
Marketing of goats
As stated before, you don’t need to go the extra mile before you sell your goats, virtually every market has a place for buying and selling of goats.
What you need to do to add an extra advantage to your profit-making is to engage in targeted selling; this involves a strategy where you structure your farm for your goats to mature during festive periods when these animals are sold at a higher price.
This will lead to more profit-making as well as faster selling of your goats. You can target local markets, restaurants, and bush bars, hotels, and other joints where goat meats are consumed daily.
Conclusively, if you read from the beginning of this post to this point, I want to say a big congratulations to you, you deserve praise. I know we all hate long posts/articles, but I hope this was worth the time and energy.
Goat farming is really a profitable agro-business idea, much more profitable than people presume it to be, it is less stressful to rear when compared with other animals, It consumes little or no time to rear. It is worth every trial and I hope this post has inspired you to try goat farming.