Goat Farming for Dummies, Basics, Ideas and Tips

Introduction: Today we are here to help with a information of goat farming for dummies. Goat farming is a branch of animal husbandry which involves rearing and breeding of domestic goats.Goat farming has been practiced for thousands of years all over the world and many historians believe that goats are the first animals to be domesticated.Goats are reared for multiple purposes such asproduction of milk, meat, fiber,manure etc.India ranks first  in terms of goat population and milk production. Traditionally, goat milk has been known for its medicinal properties and is rarely allergenic to people. Goats are among the main meat producing animals in India.Goat meat ,also called as chevon is the most preferred and widely consumed meat which is rich in nutrients and good for health. Alsogoat’s skin  hasa  key role in leather industry and  its wool is used for several purposes.

A step by step guide to goat farming for dummies

Goat is considered as poor man’s cow since ithas been playing multiple roles in livelihood of the landless, small and marginal farmers by providing income, employment and nutrition. Goat farming involves low risk and investment and is considered as an important component in dry land farming system

A Guide to Start a Goat Farm.
A Guide to Start a Goat Farm.

In the present situation, commercial goat farmingplays a vital role in the agricultural growth ofIndia. It has become popular as a very profitable business and contributes greatly to the economy and nutrition of the country.Now-a-days industrialists, businessman and some large companies are adopting this commercial goat farming. Continuously increasing market demand ensures profitability and sustainability for long term.

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Importance and benefits of goat farming for dummies

In order to start a goat farming business you must be aware of the following benefits of raising goats:

  • Compared to other livestock farming, goat farming needs low initial investment, less space, easy to maintain, less housing requirements, low risk in drought-prone areas,less production costs which includes infrastructure ,treatment ,feeding etc.
  • Goats can survive adverse environments by adapting themselves to almost all kinds of agro-climatic conditions.
  • Goat meat is lean and has lower cholesterol content.It is highly accepted for consumption throughout the world.
  • Goats can share their homes with other livestock in small scale production,hence suitable for mixed farming.
  • A farm started with one goat can be gradually increased to a herd or developed into large commercial units.
  • Goats are able to consume a wide variety of thorny bushes,crop-residues includingweeds and agricultural by-products that are not eaten by humans and other animals.
  • Under semi arid conditions goats are more economical than sheep on free range grazing.
  • Goat milk is medically recommended for infants and old people as it is naturally homogenized and contains fat globules that are easy to It is proven to improve appetite and digestion. Goat milk is rich in calcium, protein, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and vitamins A,B2,Cand D.
  • Due to its anti-fungal and anti bacterial properties goat milk can also be used for the treatment of urogenital diseases of fungal origin.
  • Milking in goats can be done as often as required. This helps in preventing refrigeration costs and other milk storage problems.
  • Goat droppings have good proportions of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Hence goat manure has a great demand in organic farming.
  • Goats attain sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months.They have short gestation period andstart milking by the age of 16-17 months.Goats  are productive breeders and usually give birth to twins.
  • Goats are less prone to diseases than other domestic animals.

    Benefits of Goat Farming.
    Benefits of Goat Farming.

Guide to start a goat farm

In order to start and maintain a profitable and successful goat farming business, the following step-by-step process need to be followed.

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Selection of suitable farm area

The area must be far away from the city and permissions or license related issues must be properly checked before setting up the farm.The number of goats to be reared determines the land requirement. usually, 1 acre of land is required to raise 50 goats. Generally goats survive in areas that are warm, well drained, less polluted with adequate space for them to roam. Freely roaming goats are proven to have better resistance to diseases .The area should have source of fresh water supply and should be fertile and  suitable for production of crops, grasses and other green plants. This helps to reduce supplementary feeding costs and also by feeding green food  the animal stays healthy and  productive. The area or location should have easy road approach for easy transportation of goats. It is always wise to choose a location nearer to local markets.

Selection of breed

The selection of goat breeds is done on the basis of the purpose of farming. Some breeds produce more milk and some breeds have fastgrowth.Both  types can be farmed at a time in order to harvest both milk and meat. Breeds that suit best for the selected farms should be choosen.Healthy, disease free and bulky type goats must be selected and bought from certified goat breeders.There are  about 28 goat breeds in India. Among these, Boer goat is proven to produce huge amount of meat with much more profits than other breeds and is considered to be ideal for farmers.Some meat goat breeds like Boers are crossed with dairy breeds like Nubians by farmers to improve certain qualities in the herd. Such breeds give plenty of milk and also put on weight well. Breeds such asMalabari, Black Bengal, Jamunapuri, Osmanabadietc give very rich milk and meat .Some breeds like Cashmere or Angora are reared to produce fabric.

Male:Female ratio

There are 3 types of goats: Females are called as does, uncastrated males called as bucks, castrated males called as wethers. One buck to every 30 does is a healthy ratio for an ideal goat farm. The buck selected must be healthy and strong .

Age of the Goat

The selected goats must be healthy. Milk production needs to be checked while buying an  adult goat. The younger goats are to be checked for proper weight before procuring them. Younger goats are called kids or bucklings or doelings based on their sex. These young ones which are about  8 months old are much cheaper and very friendly. But they  need proper care for at least one year and later can be used for farming purposes.

Housing and fencing

Housing is an essential factor for a profitable goat farming business.In small scale production, mixed farming can be practiced, but commercial goat farming needs a dedicated housing system. An ideal house not only provides shelter but also protects the animals from predators and prevents many goat diseases. The houses are built with materials such as elephant grass, paddy straw, wood,bamboo etc.with good ventilation , proper drainage and sanitation system. For attaining maximal production, goats are to be raised in neat, clean and dry houses. Houses are designed based on the type of breed and desired production. Fencing is also important as goats are escape specialists. They tend to escape if they find any grass or forage on the other side of the fence. The bucks and does are always kept in separate pens or enclosures. The buck pen should be strong with sturdy and tall fencing as bucks are aggressive in nature. This fencing helps to prevent unplanned breeding.

Equipment for Goat farming for dummies

Feeders, waterers, hay choppers, sorting pens, holding pens, barn cleaning, pasture clipping ,grooming, ear tagging and shearing instruments are the  most common equipment used in goat farming.

Feeding management:

Goats can grow well and give maximum production by feeding well balanced and nutritious food with all the necessary vitamins, minerals such as iodized salt, bone meal, zinc oxide, ferrous carbonate, high grade limestone, copper sulphate , fiber and other ingredients in proper ratios. Availability of grazing place will be even more effective for production.  Goat also needs sufficient amount of clean and fresh water. On an average each goat needs a liter of water per day. In addition to grains like pulses, wheat, maize, etc, the feeds must also contain leguminous fodder. Farmers need to ensure that the feeds contain at least 12 -18% protein.The average green fodder consumption of each goat per day is 5 to 7 kg.

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Feed Management of Goats.
Feed Management of Goats.
Veterinary Service

Veterinary service must be available to ensure good health in animals by controlling diseases or by recommending vitamins and supplements in the feeds thereby avoiding losses in the farm. A Stock with all types of necessary vaccines and medicines must be maintained in the farm.

Diseases in goats

In order to reduce mortality in goat farming, measures are to be taken to control seasonal and unexpected diseases in goats. There are certain types of  bacterial , viral and endo-parasitic diseases and also ecto -parasitic infestations are  found in most of the goat breeds in India. Bacterial diseases such as Mastitis, Enterotoxaemia, Pneumonia, Brucellosis, Anthrax, Haemorrhagic Septicemia,Foot Rot ;viral diseases such as Goat Pox,PPR- Peste Des Petits Ruminants, FMD – Foot and Mouth Disease ;endo-parasitic diseases like Tape worm, Round worm, Fluke infection ,Coccidiosis: and ecto-parasitic infestations caused by tick and lice  are the common diseases found in goats. Sick animals are always kept isolated until they recover.

Health care of Goats

The  goat houses must be washed thoroughly and disinfected once in a month. Goats are prone to endoparasitic  infections ,thus deworming should be done once in every three months. Goats must be sprayed with ectoparasitic drugs like acaricides regularly to avoid lice, ticks, mites, etc. Vaccinations against diseases like goat pox, plague, FMD, etc. must be given periodically. Prevention of infectious zoonotic diseases like salmonellosis, brucellosis etc. must be done. Isolation of sick goats and timely administration of medicines should be done. Contaminated or polluted food elements should never be mixed with their regular food. During monsoon, goats tend to develop foot rot, thus they must be passed through copper sulphate solution.

Vaccination schedule in Goat farming for dummies

  • Vaccine for Anthax must be given to goat kids at the age of 6 months and once in a year.
  • Vaccine for Haemorrhagic Septicemia is given to kids at age 6 months and once in a year before the start of rainy season.
  • Vaccine forEnterotoxaemiais given to kids at age 4 months and given in 2 doses before start of rainy season. Booster dose is given within 2 weeks of first dose.
  • Vaccine for Black Quarter is given to kids at the age of 6 months and once in a year.
  • Vaccine for PPR is given to kids of age 3 months and above and is given once in 3years.
  • Vaccinefor Foot and mouth disease (F.M.D.) is given twice in a year to kids of age 4 months and above.
  • Vaccine for Goat Pox and C.C.P.P. is given once in a year to kids of age 3 months and above.

Breeding and Maturity of Goats

Successful breeding can be achieved by selecting the right buck and doe. Goat doe attains maturity between 6-10 months of age depending on size, body weight and breed whereas goat bucks attain maturity after 12 months. March to May and September to November is the peak breeding season for goats. The estrous cycle happens every 17-21 days. The heat period in a doe lasts for 18-36 hours. The doe must meet the buck only after 10-15 hours of the onset of heat in order to increase the conception rate. The buck should be fed with extra nutritious food during the mating period. The gestation period lasts for 155 days.

Pregnant Doe

A pregnant doe needs extra care in terms of fodder to facilitate easy delivery. Goats must be provided with fresh pastures.

Milking of Goats

Pregnant goats can be milked once the udder is enlarged. Milking is done once or twice a day until 2 months before the due date is reached. This gap ensures the mother has enough nutrients to feed the new born goat. Milking is resumed once the new born goat kids are 6 weeks old.

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Caring for Goat’s kid

Proper cleaning of newborn’s nose and mouth immediately after birth must be done. To develop better immunity, the new born kid must be fed with colostrum immediately within the first half hour of birth and for up to 5 days.. After the first five days, kids must be separated from the mother gradually and  are allowed to suckle forevery six hours. This is done for the next one week  and gradually reduced.Also sufficient amount of dry grass and straw should be provided  for bedding purposes.Proper measures are to be taken to avoid over-feeding. They reduce dependency on mother’s milk normally within 2 months. Later, kids are separated from mothers at the age of 2-4 months and  arekept in separate compartments.

Castration of Goats

Male kids are not generally wanted in the breeding flock as they are reared for better meat quality. So they are castrated between the age of 1-2 months .Only healthy males are to be selected for castration. As a precaution a tetanus shot must be administered by the veterinarian before performing castration.

Marketing of Goats in India

Once production has been completed successfully, marketing the products comes next. Good marketing strategies can maximize profits. Marketing the products is not at big deal due to the high demand of goat milk and meat. It is better to always sell the products in  a local or nearest market. During some religious festivals such as Christmas, Eid ulAzha etc there will be huge demand for  goat products.

Difficulties of Goat Farming for dummies

  • Lack of proper training and sufficient knowledge about goat farming methods result in high mortality rate in goats.Improper maintenance of houses, inappropriate selection of breeds, inadequate food and water supply results in losses in production. Improper health care management such as non-availability of vaccines and veterinary service results in fatal goat diseases like PPR, pneumonia, diarrhea,  tetanus etc.
  • Hence, the farmers need to have sufficient knowledge and training in order to avoid the above stated difficulties.

Expenditure & Profit

Profits of Goat Farming.
Profits of Goat Farming.

Expenditure for a goat farming business depends on the farming system, selected location and breeds, feeding costs etc. Execution of a good plan,proper care and good management, adequate knowledge on each and every step makes goat farming business profitable. Small scale production requires less investment and profit contributes the regular income whereas large scale or commercial production requires high investment and also other additional costs. The return of investment ratio is very good in this business. There is a huge demand and high price for goat meat in both local and international markets. Hence one can also export their products for more profits.

Conclusion of Goat farming for dummies

Goat farming is highly recommended for those who are planning to start a farming business with livestock in a low budget.Initially it is better always to start a farm with at least two goats: one doe and one wether, because goats are social animals and tend to escape when kept alone.Goat farmers can also get loans from banks that are being re-financed by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).It is better to attend Goat training programs conducted by state animal husbandry or agriculture universities before starting a farming business. By this training ,one can gain practical knowledge on goat rearing process and management. That’s all folks about goat farming for dummies, ideas, basics and facts.

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