Goat farming is the raising and breeding of domestic goats. It is a branch of animal husbandry. Goats are raised principally for their meat, milk, fibre and skin.
Goat has been described as a poor man’s cow (or mini-cow) because of its immense contribution to the poor man’s economy. They not only supply nutritious and easily digestible milk to their children but also a regular source of additional income for poor and landless or marginal farmers.
Being small-sized animals, goats can easily be managed by women and children. Feeding, milking and care of goats does not require much equipment and hard work. Capital investment and feeding costs are also quite low. Four goats can be maintained as cheaply as one indigenous cow. In rural areas, goat farming plays a vital role in providing gainful employment
Table of Contents
- 1 Steps to be followed to become a successful entrepreneur in Goat Farming
- 1.1 Selection of goats
- 1.2 Building a safe and healthy habitat for goats
- 1.3 Care and management for goats
- 1.4 Benefits of goat farming
Steps to be followed to become a successful entrepreneur in Goat Farming
- Selection of goats
- Building a safe and healthy habitat for goats
- Care and management for goats
Selection of goats
Verify the rules and regulations
The local government may not allow goats, especially if you live in an urban area. Contact the nearest regional government office to see whether it limits farmers to certain breeds or imposes some other limitation. Check with your landlord or homeowner association as well. Need to be clear whether you are raising goats for commercial or personal use, as different regulations may apply
Selection of Right Location
To find the correct location is the first and most important point to be taken care of. Though, common goats generally survive in warm areas that are well drained. Besides temperature, space is also necessary. Goats live in groups, hence individual pens are not effective. A large field is needed if you want your animals to roam freely. Such goats usually have better resistance to sickness and infection. The best locations considered for a goat farm are far from towns as urban pollution is dangerous to animal health. As goats eat a lot of grass on a daily basis. So, one must make sure their food source is highly accessible and not too far from the rearing area.
Goats can be reared intensively on small acreage by using supplemental feed. If you are using an extensive system, then 2 to 10 goats per acre is a rough guide depending on the supply of grass and brush.
At Least two goats need to be planned
Goats in general are very social, curious, gentle, independent and intelligent creatures. They get bored and lonely when alone. It’s better to plan a minimum of two goats rather than having one as a lonely goat will be a noisy goat. Two does or a doe and a wether (Baby goats are kids. Males are Bucks, Females are Does. Neutered males are Wethers) or a buck and a doe, if you are ready to start a little herd.
Selection of goats according to age
Goats at an age of around 8 weeks, are typically cheaper than older goats, but they require utmost care for a year or two before they can be bred, produce milk, or be sold as meat. A junior kid between 6 months and 1 year old will take less time to mature, and may even come with the option to have it bred before purchase (so it produces milk sooner). Finally, an adult or senior goat may be the cheapest option of all, but be wary of goat farmers, they may be trying to sell the lowest-quality goats in their herd.
Investment planning to start a goat farm
The cost of raising a goat varies over time and from region to region, as does the profit you can earn from selling goat products.Try to talk to several goat farmers or read recently published goat farming guides in your area to get a good estimate of the following costs. If the resulting estimate is above your budget, you might decide to purchase fewer goats, or a different breed. Keep in mind that a goat farm may not be profitable for two years or more, especially if you are raising young goats or need to pay for initial setup such as fencing.
Building a safe and healthy habitat for goats
All about Fencing for goats
Along with good quality hay and feed, fencing is one of the most important factors to consider on your farm. Fencing is also one of the most costly up-front investments you have to make for your livestock. Cheap fence will fail after a couple of years; expensive fence will last you at least 10 years if not many more. Over 10 years you will have had to repair or replace a cheap fence at least twice.
Goats will climb on a fence, will try to stick their head through a fence, will rub along a fence, and will try to run through a fence. Along with a good quality fence, you need to buy a good quality, sturdy gate. Also buy strong good quality fence posts, bracing wire, fence staples, and definitely a fence stretcher.
Building a shelter for goats (shed or barn)
Goats will need a place to go in the winter and when it’s raining. A small pole barn will work just fine. If you live in a mild climate a three-sided enclosure will provide fresh air; if your area experiences cold winters, create a fully enclosed, draft-free environment, but let the goats out during the day. Goats do not do well in wet, swampy areas. You need to provide them with ample dry shelter and dry paddocks or pasture before you bring goats into your farm. Always keep the house neat, clean and dry. Arrange proper ventilation and drainage system inside the house. Ensure the availability of sufficient fresh air and light inside the house.
Need to Remove poisonous or strong-smelling plants
Goats will graze or chew on almost anything; Milkweed, fern, or wild cherry leaves are examples of plants that can be poisonous to goats. Strong-smelling plants may add an unpleasant taste to the goat’s milk, including onion, cabbage and parsley.They usually prefer to eat grasses, plants, shrubs, weeds and herbs. Goats also need energy, portion, vitamins, fiber and water for proper growth.
Required Feed for goats
Food and water buckets to be arranged in the farm. Water needs in goats vary with seasonal changes, level of production and moisture content of forage. Because of the unpredictable fluctuation in water demand, goats should have access to an adequate supply of fresh water at all times. Nutritious and cost-effective grains need to be selected for feeding your goats. The feed should provide significant amounts of calcium and phosphorus in a 1.2:1 ratio to prevent health problems.
Care and management for goats
Horn stubs of young goats to be removed
Most goat species grow horns, and if allowed to grow, these horns have the potential to seriously injure other animals or humans. Anytime after the young goat is two weeks old, horn stubs have to be removed, or “disbudded.” This can be painful for the goat, and difficult without proper assistance. The assistance of an experienced goat farmer or veterinarian is recommended, especially one who knows how to administer anesthetization before starting the procedure.
Castrate most young males
If you are breeding goats, you typically only need one buck per 25–50 does. Young, male goats that you do not intend to breed should be castrated at two weeks old or later, but only if they are healthy. Have a veterinarian administer a preventative tetanus shot before you perform the castration. Male goats grow large testicles, so even a castrated goat (wether) may not look as though it has been castrated.
Breeding of Does
If you wish your does to produce milk or kids, you will need to breed them with a buck once the doe has reached breeding age. When a doe goes into estrus (heat), remove it from the herd and introduce it to a buck, rather than the other way around. Two to four breedings is usually enough to ensure pregnancy. A normal gestation period is around 150 days, but this can vary by species.
Does can be milked while they are pregnant, once the udder is enlarged. Milk one or two times a day until roughly two months before the due date for the birth. This pause ensures the mother has enough nutrients to feed the newborn goat. Resume milking again once the newborn kid is six weeks old. You do not need to breed the doe again until its milk production drops significantly.
You must keep your goats healthy and strong. Build a big barn because goats live in groups. They must also be allowed to roam, run around and have fun. If the goats are bred well, they become rarely sick and they usually produce better milk and meat. Keeping them healthy by making them happy is not a hard task. Goats are very picky with food. They don’t eat dried or soiled grass. Make sure you have enough clean, fresh grass for them so they don’t go hungry.
Easy access to a veterinarian plays an important role. When starting a goat farm, there are chances for your animals to contract diseases. Thus, a veterinarian can help in disease control and management to avoid losses. They help you diagnose diseases or recommend vitamins and supplements to keep your animals in good health especially during stressful situations like weaning.
Many types of viral diseases like PPR, goat pox, foot and mouth diseases and bacterial diseases like anthrax, brucelosis etc. are very harmful for goats. Thus, proper vaccination is a must to prevent these types of diseases. The does which was not vaccinated PPR, goat pox, brucellosis vaccines previously, vaccinated them at the fifth month of gestation period. You must vaccinate the kids PPR vaccine when they reach 5 months of age.
A market near the farmland will be best, as it will help you to sell your products easily and buy necessary commodities.
Benefits of goat farming
Goat farming can be a profitable occupation for a farmer and can fit well into mixed farming.
- Goats are cheaper to maintain, easily available and have a friendly disposition
- Goats give more production per unit of investment
- Goats are called the foster mother of man, as their milk is considered better for human nutrition than other species of livestock
- Goat milk is cheap, wholesome, easily digestible and nutritious, has lesser allergic problems than other species of livestock
- Goat milk is used as ayurvedic medicine for personas ailing with asthma, cough, diabetes etc..
- The higher buffering qualities of goat milk enhances its value for patients suffering from peptic ulcers, liver dysfunction, jaundice, biliary disorders and other digestive problems.
- Goat manure is 2.5 times richer in nitrogen and phosphoric acid than cow manure.
- Goats form an excellent animal for physiological and biomedical research
- Don’t Require a Huge Area
- Good Breeders
- Goats are capable of adapting to various agro-climatic conditions
- Goats suffer from fewer ailments than other large animals
- Goat hide is used for the manufacture of leather products