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Goat farming is the rearing of goats be it varieties of breeds or the same breeds, goats in the same environment for the use of man. Goats could be farmed for many purposes which range and do not limit to Meat, wool, skin, and leather.
Goats can either be reared in a confined environment or an expanse of land.
Goats have a unique feature that makes them unique and survives in several environmental conditions, which makes them very strong and adaptive to any weather. This is due to their tough skin and their attribute as a scavenger.
Scientific Classification of Goat
Species: C. hircus
Factors To Consider When Starting A Goat Farm
In the Nigerian market, the goat takes away a significant amount of sales when we talk about the agricultural sector. This can also be said in West Africa as the rate of goat meat found in the market is very high compared to other animals that produce meat.
A study of West African Dwarf goats over 5 years indicated that these animals are not seasonal breeders but kids throughout the year. Sixty-five percent of kidded (give birth) twice a year and multiple births accounted for 59% of all births. Seventy-two percent of all deaths were of kids under 3 months of age. Pneumonia and starvation were the main causes of death. It is suggested that this is potentially a prolific breed that with proper husbandry and selection could help to meet the need for animal protein in Sub-Saharan West Africa.
The following is what is to be considered when starting a goat farm.
i. Cost of starting a goat farm: The cost of starting a goat farm depends on the following
ii. The target market size
iii. The target population
iv. Available Capital
Types of Goat Breeds
There are three major breeds of goat in Nigeria and there is a need to get to know these breeds, to get familiar with the business one wants to get into. The three breeds are Sahelian, red Sokoto, and west African dwarf.
Red Sokoto Breed
1. This type of breed is commonly found in Sokoto state
2. It is usually brownish red skin coat in color
3. The fine color makes the skin very good for leather production.
4. Red Sokoto goat is very good for meat production
5. it has an average of about 25 to 32kg of weight at maturity.
6. It is also known as the Maradi or the Kano brown breed.
7. It is highly prolific
8. Short horns present in both the male and female
9. Ears are short and erect
10. Its skin is the most valuable of all skin goat
1. This type of goat is mostly an open-grazing goat
2. They are mostly adapted to long-distance trekking.
3. They are finely coated with skin color ranging from black, white, red, and even dotted.
4. A matured Sahelian goat ranges in weight from about 25 – 35kg
5. It is also good for meat.
West African Dwarf Breed
1. This is a breed found in the forest parts of Nigeria.
2. It has varieties of colors ranging from black to grey.
3. It can be found as multicolored skin.
4. West African dwarf goats have short legs, enabling them to work easily in forest zones.
5. It has a height ranging from 40cm to 50cm.
6. Its weight is between 18 and 22kg.
7. West African dwarf goats can produce twins
8. they’re resistant to trypanosomes.
Other exotic breeds of goat are:
Kosi: it is found in southern Cameroon, it has a sturdy body and broad short head, it is proportionately dwarfed, and males and females are horned.
Black Bengal: it exists in the Bengal region, India and Northern Bangladesh, it has a straight back, short legs, and pointed ears, it is highly prolific with twins and multiple births, and it produced high-quality skin and meat.
Angora: it is native to Ankara, Turkey(Asia Minor), it is believed that this goat was originally indigenous to the Himalayas, it is small-sized with short legs
Nubian: it is originated from Africa, its coat is short and sleek of black or tan color, it has a narrow body with an average live weight of 60-70 kg, the nose is convex (ears are long and dropping), and it is a dairy breed that is also noted for meat production( 1662lb/lactation).
Alpine: it is originated from French, Swiss, and Rock Alpine breeds, no distinct color has been established, and may range from black to white, its eyes are alert, and its ears are erect.
Which is the best to choose?
The best breeds to choose depend on the following:
1. Available Capital
4. The target market etc
Nutrients Needed To Aid Goats Growth
Importance of Nutrition
•Nutrition influences kids’ production and kids’ growth.
•Young animals have higher nutritional needs, especially with regard to protein than mature animals.
•Animals receiving inadequate diets are more prone to disease and will fail to reach their genetic potential.
• Late gestation and lactation are the most critical periods for female animals, with lactation placing the highest nutritional demands.
Animals Nutrients Requirement
- Energy – usually the most limiting nutrient
- Protein – is usually the most expensive nutrient
- Minerals, (Deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances of vitamins and minerals can limit animal performance and lead to various health problems)
- Fiber, (necessary to maintain a healthy rumen environment and prevent digestive upsets.)
- Water. (the cheapest feed ingredient, yet often the most neglected)
Factors Affecting Nutritional Requirements of Animals
- Physiological state -maintenance, production, reproduction
- Physical environment -a weather condition
Factors to Consider in Feeding
- Animal requirements
- Feed availability
- Costs of nutrients
The secret of successful feeding is in devising a cheap and efficient ration.
Factors to consider along with the nutritive quality of the feed while preparing a ration
Importance of Water Supply
Abundant clean, fresh water, changed every morning and evening should be made available to goats at all times, Some of the most serious diseases of goats result from drinking dirty water from shallow pools, and water troughs should be thoroughly washed at least twice a month, Goats in milk require more water than dry goats and should be watered regularly at least three times a day.
Challenges Associated With Rearing Goats
1. Lack of knowledge
2. Low capital
3. Lack of market strategies
4. Irregular feeding and medication
5. Lack of veterinary
Benefits of Goat Farming in Nigeria
People keep in mind there are different objectives for the commercial goat farming business; either for meat production, milk production, or breeding. The goat farming business has proven to have economic and social benefits. Below are some of the benefits;
1. The weather and climate conditions of Nigeria are very suitable for goat farming.
2. For human consumption, the goat produces high-quality meat and milk. And goat products have a great demand in Nigeria.
3. People of any profession can establish a goat business with their current job. Because goat farming doesn’t need much labor.
4. For starting a goat farming business in Nigeria the initial investment is less compared to other businesses.
5. In goat farming, housing, feeding, caring, and other management costs are less.
6. In Nigeria, the goat farming business commercially has a great return on investment ratio (ROI). That means you will get good returns on total capital or investment within a year or two years. Good profit starts from the 2nd year of starting goat farming in Nigeria.
7. The goat farming business in Nigeria gives the people economic freedom.
8. The main advantages of the goat farming business are animals’ adaptability to almost any climate condition.
9. Goats can be sold at any time and help to meet the needs of cash by raising goats.
10. Return in a short time – As the goats can give birth to more than one kid at a time, and 3 times in about 2 years, it makes quicker income in a short time with low investment.
11. Rearing goats for milk and wool – Many people raise goats mainly for meat. But, with appropriate climate and management practices, goat farming can be done for milk and wool.
12. Goat meat is widely eaten in every home since is low in cholesterol and rich in fatty acids.
13. The Goat requires low maintenance as compared to others.
14. It generates income for direct owners, the government, meat sellers, and butchers.
15. Goat farming is a low-investment and high-profit business.
16. Rearing goats for business in Nigeria creates direct and indirect employment for the youths.
17. Goat is a multi-purpose animal producing quality meat, milk, manure, and fiber.
18. Goat produces natural manure used in the organic farming business.
Goat Farming Business
1. Dairy Business: this is a way of making money in goat farming which involves extracting goat milk for yogurt, milk, and cheese. All these come from goat milk although this is not a common practice in Nigeria as cow milk is best for such production.
2. Wool production: wool production is also a good business from goat farming even though it’s not a common practice in Nigeria, it is worthy of being mentioned as it is very vastly practiced in Asia and America.
3. Meat production: Goat farming is majorly practiced in Nigeria for its meat and its protein, the absence of fat makes it unique among meat-producing businesses.
Goat rearing could be one of the easiest business to establish because it requires little capital, easy to establish and the meat provide a high content of protein. Goats are animals raise for their skin to produce leather and meat production. There is a local breed which is found in Nigeria and an exotic breed found outside Nigeria, goat is domestic animals that can be reared at home for meat production or for small-scale production which requires you don’t have to have millions of naira before you can start a goat farm, a goat rearing business can start with as little as you can afford. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so why not start in your backyard with the little capital you have?