Goat is a small ruminant animal reared in various parts of the world. In African countries including Nigeria, goats are kept by farmers and families, especially in the rural areas. Its breed varies from location to location but in Nigeria, the breeds that thrive in the North are different from those in the South.
Goat meat has a unique taste that is difficult to describe yet appealing in taste. There are other products that can be derived from goats such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, and butter. Anything that cow milk can offer, goat milk can also do. The more reasons rearing goat is considered by wise farmers as a lucrative business and it’s increasingly becoming very popular among modern farmers.
Breed varieties, according to a senior lecturer at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (I A R and T), Mr. Nwali Collins, vary depending on the choice of the farmers. Various breeds of goats that can be found in Nigeria include Sokoto Red, Bornu Red, West African long-legged goat, West African Dwarf (WAD), Kano Brown, Bauchi type, and lately Kalahari Red imported from South Africa by the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
Requirements For Goat
The number to start a small-scale goat farm is about 30 goats, five males, and 25 females. The female goats should be more than the males because the females are majorly used for breeding. The male goats mate with the females to produce more goats. However, for raise-and-sell farmers, males only could be procured because breeding is not in focus.
The facilities required for proper and effective goat rearing are fencing, shelter or pen, feeding racks, water, loafing sheds, feeds or silage storage, animal sickbay, and manure handing bay. The shelter can be in the form of a fence or a goat pen. A goat pen is a closed space used to keep goats, while a fence is a structure built around the pen to prevent straying and poaching.
Goats do not necessarily require a huge expanse of land. However, they like moving around, which means they can be kept at free range depending on the location of the farmer. While moving, a farmer should ensure they are not at the same time eating plants that are too near to the ground to avoid them eating up food or ornamental plants. They like keeping enough space from each other.
Goats don’t care for a regulated environmental condition, guaranteed that you have enough portions of land for your goats to wander about freely while feeding on the grass at the same time. The feeding of goats is relatively cheap because the major feeds they eat are green grass, but formulated feeds could be added to enhance fattening, while tuber and roots peels could be used due to the herbivorous nature of the animal.
According to Nwali, the gestation period in goats lasts from one to 150 days, adding that goats attain a market size that is fully mature between eight and 12 months but could get up to 18 months if not properly fed. Veterinary treatment is required to control infertility and stunting. This could occur due to drinking water contaminated with salmonella.
Goats also have a lot of diseases that can spread easily and could kill them and other animals. Diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, ketosis, anemia, anorexia, arthritis, anthrax, bronchitis, and coccidiosis do affect goats. The feed should be checked regularly. Me. Collins said if the feed is contaminated, the animal could come down with diarrhea. Some of the symptoms of pneumonia include mucus discharge from their noses and eyes, fever, anorexia, inflammation of the nasal and buccal cavities, and respiratory difficulty.
Mr. Collins added that proper health care and sanitation, in addition to good management, must not be overlooked if any goat farmer wants to excel in the business. He pointed out that it is better to start small and expand as one gets more experience in the business to avoid unnecessary losses.
Return On Investment
A goat’s worth is usually according to its weight. In the abattoir, a goat is weighed and the price is based on the weight of the goat or the size depending on the buyer. Goat farming is a good agricultural business because apart from housing, the cost of stocking is less capital intensive than cattle, and can bring good returns on investment with a full understanding of the market. A full market size goat can be sold from N20, 000 and above.
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