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By rasheedakinshola • 11th Mar 2019 • 258 views • 50 comments

When it comes to healthy meat choices, goat meat scores high among meat eaters. It is low in cholesterol and comes high on taste. In addition to goat being a source of healthy meat, it is also a good source of milk, which  contains fatty acids that are rapidly digested providing quick energy for the body; it’s easily digestible; it contains high amount of calcium, protein, potassium, vitamin D and riboflavin. There is increasing demand for goat products across the globe, which is still far from being met.

In addition to all of these benefits, goat rearing, which has been on a subsistence level for decades in Nigeria, can boost the individual farmer’s and the nation’s economic status if practiced on a larger scale. As a business, it is lucrative and not too capital intensive when compared to large scale practice of some other livestock businesses.

It is advisable to start small so as to gain experience maybe for about four months before increasing the stock. Two to 10 goats will do for a start. Starting with higher number of goats without necessary experience can spell trouble and may bring discouragement. And employing additional hands will increase budget expenses.

Goat breeding is not that easy; it requires standard management, commitment, patience and persistence. For the purpose of this piece, we need to explain some terminologies related to the business. A female goat is called a doe; an uncastrated male goat is called a duck; a castrated male goat is known as wether while a young goat is called a kid.

Goat breeds available in Nigeria include the West African Dwarf (WAD), it’s the most popular; West Africa long leg; Sokoto red; Kano brown; Bornu red; South African goat and Kalahari red. Goat farmers in the South can cross breed the Northern, Niger or Chad breed with their local breed to avoid environmental adaptation issues and feed selection challenges. The Nigerian dwarf goat can be purchased from the South, East and Western regions, while Sokoto red breed can be bought from Kano or Taraba.

Profitability of goat rearing business

Assuming you are rearing 50 does and they gave birth to 80 goats and you sell one for N20,000, then N20,000×80 = N1,600,000. The profit will keep increasing every passing year. Even if you spend N600,000 for expenses, including buying of the reared goats, you will be left with N1,000,000, which is very encouraging. A kid of three to five months can be bought for between N8,000 and N12,000. 

Marketing: The market for goat is readily available both in the international and local markets because buyers are always on ground. The farmer may decide to slaughter them and sell the meat directly to consumers or export the goats for more profits.

Major considerations before take off

Goat selection: There is need for proper guidance in the choice of goats, especially the ones for meat production, irrespective of the breed opted for, as any mistake in choosing wrong goats can mar the business. Ensure purchase of healthy goats without defect to avoid introducing defective traits to the herd. Find out their eating ability because a healthy goat has great appetite and will eat anything at anytime.

Goat breeds suitable for meat, milk and fur production: For milk, Alpine goats, La Mancha, Nigerian dwarf breeds are good; African boar, Tennessee or Spanish breeds are ideal for meat while Cashmere, Angora breeds are good for fur. The commonest goat breed in our environment is the WAD breed. It is hardy and prolific but has slow growth rate.

Housing (Pens): Housing is very important because goats need to have a roof over their head for sleep and protection against rain and harsh sunlight. The pens should include breeding apartment, doe pens and bucks place. A well-built escape-proof pen is a must.

Feeding: Goat feeding equals good profit. There are two goat feeding systems – grazing and zero grazing. Zero grazing involves feeding the goat with only formulated food which can be got with little or no money. Nutrition will determine the rate of success or failure in goat farming business especially if zero grazing is opted for. Feeding goats with grasses alone is not a well planned feeding programme. There is need to have a well planned balanced feeding programme. Experimental feed can kill the goats especially if given too much of concentrates or too much green grasses, which may result in diarrhoea. Each breed exhibits different level of feeding behaviour and intelligence. Having this in mind will help you design a multipurpose feeding system. For zero grazing, farm feeding trough is important. It should not be contaminated with urine, faeces or sand.

Types of feeds: Cassava, yam and potatoes peels – Goat feeds on roots and tubers. Since buying of roots and tubers will increase expenses, it is wise to get peels from a flour milling company. Get cassava peels from cassava processing factories but dry them first to remove the cyanide content before giving them to goats because high concentration of cyanide is not good for goats’ health.

To preserve cassava peels and peels of other tubers or roots, grind them with the same grinder used in grinding the main roots in the factory and use the same press to reduce its water content; sun-dry it and store for use. If you don’t want to grind to powder for usage, cut the peels into small pieces so they won’t be wasted before the goats eat them. The peels can be properly stored for about two weeks and will still be acceptable to the goats but the peels have to be checked well to avoid feeding them with peels contaminated with fungus.

Mulberry: Goats of any breed like mulberry either in dry or wet form. It can be sliced and dried for future use. The plant grows rapidly and luxuriantly in Nigeria even though it is not native to the country. Mulberry grows from stem so plant it as soon as rain starts in a slanted pattern to ensure that many of the stem buds can grow.

Brewery waste: This is another good feed for goats. It can be got from any close beer production company. It is always in wet form and will need to be sun-dried and made available to them in powder form. It can be mixed with other feed types and served to the goats.

Palm kernel cake (PKC): This is an important feed ingredient because it is a source of protein and energy to goats. PKC is cheaper than soybeans and maize grain.

Lump of rock salt: Lumps of salt should be hung around goat pens where they can easily reach to lick.

Veterinary doctor for goat rearing: It is very important to always consult goat experts and veterinary (vet) doctors especially in commercial goat rearing. Vet doctor is needed to control stunting and infertility, which can happen as a result of water contaminated by salmonella. There is need to have some skills and drugs to use for first hand treatment in case of any emergency. Monitoring of goats’ health is very important in order to handle challenges on time. This is very important for those into goat farming business.

Skills to acquire: A goat farmer should know how to use needle for injection; the use of drencher for oral drug, syringe administration, and thermometer usage to be checking goats’ temperature from time to time.

Drugs to keep: Antibiotics, de-wormer, epinephrine for any anaphylactic shock, vitamin B. Co., and vegetable oil.

Care and management: There are challenges accompanying goat rearing business including mortality issues. Goat needs more great attention, especially during rainy season, in order to know when changes set in.

Mating in goats: The heat cycle of a doe is every 21 days. Some goat species breed all year round while others are seasonal. Mating is not every time for does because they, once in a while, experience levels of ascending, descending and cresting periods. Cresting level is when a doe is very much ready for conception. A doe has to be in a standing heat position for mating/insemination to be successful. If you have a large herd, for example, 50, leave the bucks among the does for 45 days in the breeding pens. This is to complete two heat cycles before taking the bucks back to their pens. Any doe that misses the first breeding cycle will not miss the second.

Goat diseases: Find out the cause of goat sickness and administer exact drugs to them. Always contact a vet doctor for advice.

Diarrhoea: The first sign of diarrhoea in goats is watery and smelly droppings. Diarrhoea is caused by different factors such as bacteria, worm, virus, a change in diet, poisonous plant and stress. Separate the sick goats from healthy ones; give them fresh food, water with activated charcoal and electrolyte solution. Clean their back legs to prevent flies from infecting or disturbing them.

With additional materials from Eni Best Agro & Business Blog


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