How to start goat farming in Nigeria
Goat rearing is predominantly dominated in the northern parts of Nigeria. However there are many smallhold goat farms in rural areas of Nigeria. The business is lucrative and moderately challenging.an invest needs adequate land, nutritious feed, water and labor. Others include farming equipment, housing, veterinary care and marketing.
Why start goat farming in Nigeria
There are many reasons to start a goat farm one is to make money. Goats are fast growing have good mortality are hardy with good economic value. Farmers in this industry earn from milk production, meat, skin, bones.
Used in many culinary dishes like goat meat pepper soup, fried/grilled meat, a local Nigerian snack peppered grilled meat (Asun).other uses include production of leather, milk and meat.
Steps to start goat farming in Nigeria
There are important steps to consider before starting a farm. The most important is landed space to keep the stock. The land should have perimeter fencing or a barn to protect the animals from weather conditions, predators and theft.
Other considerations are business registration, tax, defining sales channels and purchase of food for the animals. The animals need regular veterinary check, regular feeding and clean water.
- Write a goat farm business plan
- Carry out a feasibility
- Study the competition
- Register the business
- Tax identification number
- Secure funds
- Lease or purchase land
- Build farm structures
- Purchase feeder stock
- Purchase feed
- Provide adequate water
- Use a qualified vet
- Rear the animals
It is important to study the behavior of the mammal. They are natural herd animals with dominant male and female. Huge horns strength, age are factors that contribute to male dominance. Hardy, rugged and tough animals they operate a hierarchy system. Although fussy eaters they will nibble at anything out of curiosity.
Goat meat consumption
Goat meat is a popular choice in restaurants, beer joints, fast food outlets and homes. The locals believe it has aphrodisiac properties and is more nutritious that red meat. Typical Nigerian delicacies made from goat are peppered fried meat (Asun), Suya-grilled meat, goat meat pepper soup.
To start goat farming in Nigeria it is important to know the right one to breed. There are a huge variety of goats however only a few are ideal fort tropical regions. Select fast growing species that are highly adaptable and require less feeding. Choose native species common to the region because they are hardy, highly adaptable to that environment.
Types of goats
List of goat breeds are Saanen goat, Nigerian Dwarf, Jamaican goat, Boar goat, American Pygmy, Alpine goat. Other are Anglo-Nubian, Damascus Co goat, Angora, Beetal, Fainting, Kamori, American Lamancha. More are Kanon, Kiko, pygora, golden Gurrnsey, Hejazi, Russian White and Massif Central.
We have the Anatolian, Sirohi, Spanish goat, Murciana,peacock goat. The list continues with Changthangi, Toggenburg, Maltses, Nigora, Girgentana, Black Bengal.more are Australian Cashmere, Dutch Landrace, Bagot, Isish, British Alpine, Thuringian goat, Tauernscheck, Philippine, Rove goat Majorera and Pyrenean.
List of domesticated goats
- Saanen goat
- Nigerian Dwarf
- Jamaican goat
- Boar goat
- American Pygmy
- Alpine goat
- Damascus Co goat
- Massif Central
- Angora, Beetal
- Fainting goat
- American Lamancha
- Golden Gurrnsey
- Russian White
- Spanish goat
- Black Bengal
- Australian Cashmere
- Dutch Landrace
- British Alpine
- Thuringian goat
- Philippine goat
- Rove goat
Best Breed for Goat Farming in Nigeria
Popular breeds of goat farmed in Nigeria are Dwarf goat, red Sokoto (Maradi), Pygmy goat. Others include the Anglo-Nubian, Saanen goat, Toggenburg and Alpine Goat.
- Nigeria Dwarf goat
- Red Sokoto (Maradi)
- Pygmy goat
- Saanen goat
- Alpine Goat
To start goat farming in Nigeria choose only disease resistant species with good tolerance of local weather conditions. Although the animal is tough there are disease that might cause mortality and serious financial loss.
Things that mitigate diseases include intensive culture system, insufficient pasture facilities and poor health management. Types of diseases that affect goats are caused by bacteria infections, viral infections endo and ecto-parasitic infections.
Parasites, viral, bacteria diseases
Common parasites that infect goats are tape worm, round worm, fluke infection, coccidiosis, lice and tick. Viral diseases are goat pox, foot/mouth disease, peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR). Bacteria diseases are Pneumonia, foot rot, mastitis and Enterotoxaemia. Others are Brucellosis, Anthrax, Haemorrhagic Septicemia.
- Tape worm
- Round worm
- Fluke infection
- Goat pox
- Foot and mouth disease
- Peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR)
- Foot rot
- Haemorrhagic Septicemia
Symptoms of different infections
It is important to look for signs of infection in the herd. Prompt care and management will reduce loss of herd. Signs of viral disease are fever, nasal mucous discharge, and respiratory distress. Others are ocular discharge, mouth lesions, pox lesion and difficulty walking.
Symptoms of viral diseases
Symptoms include pox lesions, respiratory distress, and excess salivary secretions. More are ocular, nasal discharge, fever, foot and mouth disease. Treatment remedies are vaccination and separation of infected goat.
- pox lesions
- respiratory distress
- excess salivary secretions
- nasal discharge
- mouth disease
- separation of infected goat
Symptoms of Parasitic infections
Signs of parasitic infections are growth reduction, kid mortality, fever and anemia. More include edema in lower jaw, blood tinged brownish diarrhea, skin allergy and wounds.
The treatment depends on the type of parasitic infection. Common remedies are control of snails, deworming and clean house, periodic dipping.
Signs of parasitic infections
- growth reduction
- kid mortality
- edema in lower jaw
- blood tinged brownish diarrhea
- skin allergy
- control of snails
- clean house
- periodic dipping
- safe feeding culture
Symptoms and Treatment of bacterial infection
Symptoms of bacteria infections are dysentery, swelling of lower mandible, fever. Others are swollen udder, change in milk, extreme weight loss, reduced feed intake.
Treatment depends on the type of bacterial infection. Common remedies are vaccination, clean water, and pen ventilation. Others are dry clean housing, disinfection solution, washing of udder, disposal of dead fetus and placenta.
Signs of bacterial infections
- swelling of lower mandible
- swollen udder
- change in milk consistency
- extreme weight loss
- reduced feed intake
- clean water
- pen ventilation
- dry clean housing
- disinfection solution
- washing of udder
- disposal of dead fetus and placenta
The size of the business will determine the amount of funds required. A small/medium farm can start with 50-100 goats. However a larger farm can start with 1000-10,000 goats. Secure funds from investment or commercial banks.
There are also agricultural banks with good subventions for Nigerian farmers. A rough estimate of a small farm with 10 goat’s in a makeshift house in the backyard costs N200, 000. A large farm with 1000 goats can cost from N10 million to N20 million naira
Join an association
It is important joining a union or association for support and insight into best practices. There are membership fees, support and government funds for recognized associations.
Commercial bank loans in Nigeria attract up to 10% to 25% interest on loans. To access the loan the farmer needs collateral guarantors at least ¼ of the loan required.
Try to secure long term low interest loans and put in place repayment schedule. Other loan sources are online farmers markets, partnership, sale of startup equity, family and friends.
Land and Grazing
Gazing options will determine the type of space required. We have semi-intensive, intensive and no-grazing. Two common grazing options are open grazing or continuous grazing.
Open grazing has many advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages are loss of animal from straying, predators, theft, easily infected with parasites. Advantages include low investment in feed, low startup, abundant grass or forage.
- loss of animal through straying
- easily infected by parasites
- low investment in feed
- low startup
- abundant grass or forage
Many farmers properly secure the herd in a goat house or farmyard. The system offers full control, theft reduction, proper management of diseases and feeding. This encourages high production, faster growth. A major disadvantage is increased cost of feeding and labor.
Semi-intensive grazing is highly productive, allow proper monitoring and disease control. Reduces theft, controls feeding, requires stall feed and grazing method. The method requires high investment, proper management and labor.
Equipment is basic easily sourced in the open market or online. Common equipment are automatic. Manual feeders, automatic. Manual waterer, automatic grain feeder.
Others are goat hoof trimmer, diary equipment, clippers and creep feeders for kids (young goats). More are stanchion, buckets, goat tag, scale, drench gun, wheelbarrow, pitch fork, gloves, boots and water trough.
- automatic grain feeder
- hoof trimmer
- diary equipment
- creep feeders for kids
- drench gun
- pitch fork
- water trough
Goat housing requires basic amenities to keep them from weather conditions. A dry space is essential because wetness causes lots of infection and diseases. There are different designs of sheds based on available space, labor, and number in herd.
Provide shed with low cost material and suitable flooring. Prevent water stagnation by building shed on elevated dry ground. Provide clean water, sturdy shed walls and fodder trees near shed. Cheap available building materials are corrugated sheet, bamboo and block.
Space recommendations for adult animals are 2 sq.m covered space, 4sq.m open space. 3 months to 12 months age group provide 0.75 sq.m covered space and 2 sq.m open space.
Provide 1.8sq.m minimum floor space for rams in a herd. Feeding, watering space water through width 50cm, depth for kids 20cm, adults 30cm. Make sure the height of inner wall of water through for adults is 35cm, kids 25cm.
They type of shed depends on the age of the animal and purpose. There are sheds for rams, kid shed, shearing shed, attendant shed, general herd shed. dimension is of ram shed is 4m (l) ×2.5m (w) ×3m (h), dimensions of Ewe/Doe shed is 15m (l) x 4m (w) x 3 m (h) while dimensions of kid shed is 1.5m(l)×1.2m(w)×3.0m(h). Place sick animals in dimension of 3m (l) ×2m (w) × 3 m (h), attendant room 6m (l) X 4m (w) X 3 m (h)
What to feed them
The animal is very versatile and will eat different kinds of food. However make sure the food is highly nutritious for better growth. They require lots of water and use a mineral feeder for minerals.
Feed them grain, hay, grass, wild cherries, avocado, lilacs. Others are vegetables, rhubarb leaves, milkweed, banana leaf.feed them kelp meal, sunflower seeds, beet pulp, weeds, dried fruits, fresh fruits, corn chips.
- wild cherries
- rhubarb leaves
- banana leaf
- kelp meal
- sunflower seeds
- beet pulp
- dried fruits
- fresh fruits
- corn chips
Price of goats
The price of goats in the Nigerian market depends on different factors. Some include types of goat, size, body to fat ratio and season. Goats are bought all year round however the prices increase during holidays and celebratory seasons.
Celebratory seasons attracts higher prices because of the huge demand. Popular periods that attract premium prices are certain Muslim holidays and Christmas.
Mating and reproduction
It takes 2- 4 years to reach full maturity and are bred till 10 – 12 years. However some are mated at 5 months of age while their estrous cycle occurs 18-24 days.
Length of pregnancy is 150 days and they giving birth to twins or triplets. Pair bucks and ewes of same size and mating season is 36 days long. Does come into heat twice during the period and mate 1 buck with 25 – 30 ewes.
Marketing is relatively simple based on the farmer’s preference. Sell them to wholesalers, retailers, meat shops, restaurants, hotels or private individuals.