The main reason to start a commercial goat farm is because it is lucrative and moderately challenging. Startup is low and the job is practicable from home. You can start with less than 4 animals and slowly expand.
However commercial farming requires specialized tools, knowledge and financial commitment. To start the business write a business plan and carry out a feasibility study. Here are ideas on how to start a goat farm.
Types of Goat
There are different breeds of goat around the world. They are bred for their milk, skin or meat. The breed you choose depends on your business template and focus.
Some are best for meat production while others are good milk producers. You have specialized meat goat breeds, kid productive breeds, mohair producing breeds and dairy breeds.
- Russian White
- West African dwarf
Determine Age, Gender of the Animal
You need to determine the age of your stock. You might decide to on bucks, does or kids. Generally the bucks are kept in separate accommodation from the does. Then choose a goat breed appropriate for your desired farming.
The two main products from goats are meat and milk. Goat’s milk is delicious, wholesome and nutritious. The milk is used in many culinary dishes, baking and drinks.
It is easy to digest, clear white in color and manufactured into many products. It is also common in many beauty products, creams and lotions.
The meat is regarded as a delicacy in most African countries. Common goat products are cheese, milk, meat, butter, and yogurt. The goat’s leather is used to make bags, shoes or seats.
- leather products
How to Start a Goat Farm
Find a Farming Location
Many countries have strict zoning provisions on farming. A commercial livestock farmer needs adequate forage space for the animals.
Best locations are rural areas or farm settlements. Make sure the area has adequate water and grass. The number of goats you keep would determine the plot size required.
Goat Farming Equipment
The farming equipment is specially designed to carry out specific functions. Some are ideal for housing, vaccination, foot trimming, drenching and shelter. There are also tools for confinement or feeding the goat kids.
There are many tools so the farmer needs to purchase those specific to their needs. Commonly used equipment is buckets, troughs, bells, collars, wooden feeders. Others are foot trimming, docking, castrating equipment, drenching and vaccinating syringes.
More are circular cradle, artificial milk feeders, hay rack, green fodder, and restriction barricades. You need goat linear concentrate of silage feeder, silage feeder, and combined feeder. Buy individual goat restrainer, restraining stand for sick goat, nipple and sprayer.
Equipment and Tools
- wooden feeders
- foot trimming
- castrating equipment
- vaccinating syringes
- circular cradle
- artificial milk feeders
- hay rack
- green fodder
- restriction barricades
- goat linear concentrate of silage feeder
- silage feeder
- combined feeder
- goat restrainer
- restraining stand for sick goat
Feed Formula for Goat
It is important to maintain a balanced diet for your animals. Make available clean drinking water and proper food storage facility. Goats eat lots of pasture plants like millet, grass, sorghum.
They love hay, grains and require vitamins and minerals. Some people feed them kitchen scrap a technique not suitable for commercial farming. Goats of different ages eat similar composition of food.
However the quantity per kg of each ingredient differs. The main ingredients in goat feed are maize, groundnut cake, wheat bran. Other ingredients include PKC, mineral mix and salt.
Sample feed formula for kid is the lamb starter. Lamb starter formula is 2.5kg mineral mix, 20kg wheat bran, 25 kg PKC, 37 kg Maize, 15kg groundnut cake, 0.5 kg salt. The formula for goat finisher is mineral mix 2kg, wheat offal 35kg, groundnut cake 37kg, salt 1kg and PKC 10kg.
Nursing goats eat a special formula to aid milk production. The formula for nursing goat feed is mineral mix 2kg, salt 1kg, wheat offal 37kg, PKC 8 kg, and maize 52 kg. The formula for a pregnant goat is slightly different the maize content is 35kg, mineral mix 2kg, salt 1kg, wheat offal 42kg PKC 20 kg.
How to Make Mineral Mix
To prepare a mineral mix you need 45% limestone, 22g iodized salt and 11g zinc oxide. Other ingredients that go into the composition are Sterilized bone meal 35%, ferrous carbonate 11g and copper sulphate 22g.
Lamb Starter Feed Formula
- 2.5kg mineral mix
- 20kg wheat bran
- 25 kg PKC
- 37 kg Maize
- 15kg groundnut cake
- 0.5 kg salt
Goat Finisher Feed Formula
- mineral mix 2kg
- wheat offal 35kg
- groundnut cake 37kg
- salt 1kg
- PKC 10kg
Nursing Goat Feed Formula
- mineral mix 2kg
- salt 1kgwheat offal 37kg
- PKC 8 kg
- maize 52 kg
Pregnant Goat Feed Formula
- maize 35kg
- mineral mix 2kg
- salt 1kg
- wheat offal 42kg
- PKC 20 kg
Housing and Fencing for Goats
Goats are very rambunctious, athletic and curious. They have an uncanny ability to get out of any enclosure. To secure your goats you need sturdy fencing and housing facility. The housing should protect them from the heats, snow or wind.
Goat shelters have a basic roof to shade them from the sun. In extreme weather, house them in sold structure pens or buildings. The goat house should have bedding, water trough and plenty of straw. Make sure you remove poisonous plants from the enclosure
You can either build a temporary fence or permanent fence. This is applicable if your goats are allowed to roam the pasture. The fence provides a barrier from escape and keeps dangerous predators out.
The temporary fence could also keep bucks away from does. You can use high tensile wire, electric netting to build the fence. Six inch high tensile wire is also ideal for the construction of permanent fencing. You can introduce barbwire to the other side of the fence to deter predators.
Farmers remove the horn stubs of young goats to prevent injury during fights. They also castrate young males and leave a few for breeding.
Does in heat are introduced to a buck for breeding programs. Once a does udder is enlarged farmers start milking them 2 weeks before date of delivery. Once delivered the goats are then milked daily.
Goats for meat, milk, fur.
Spanish, Tennessee breed, African boar are ideal for meat production. Angora, Cashmere perfect for fur while Nigerian dwarf, La Mancha and Alpine breed good milk producers. Make sure you build a shed to protect them from direct sunlight.
- Palm kernel cake
- Lump of rock salt
- Brewery waste roots tubers
Let’s assume you start with 100 goats (does) and they collectively birth 160 kids. If you sell each goat at current prices in Nigeria at N35, 000($100) each, then N35, 000 x 160 = N5, 600,000. Total expenses (does) maintenance and feeding will leave a profit margin of N4, 000, 0000.
Mating is either seasonal or all year round depending on the breed. Reproduction is natural or through insemination, doe cycle is 21 days. Introduce the bucks to the doe and leave them for about a month. A single goa can produce two kids a year with gestation period of 149 days.
Pregnancy and Abortion
Abortions of embryo in early stages of pregnancy may be indicative of infectious diseases. Common problems are listeriosis, Q fever, brucellosis or chlamydiosis. Late pregnancy problems or tacemia may be due to nutritional deficiencies.
The animal is resistant to many diseases. However intensive systems bring about different challenges. The types of disease they have are either caused by bacteria, virus or parasitical infection.
Symptoms are skin allergies, reduced growth diarrhea, anemia and fever. They sometimes suffer ocular discharge, lesions, udder swelling.
Bacteria diseases they encounter are foot rot, brucellosis, pneumonia. Viral diseases are goat pox, PPR, foot and mouth disease. Parasitical infections are round worm, fluke work and tape worm.
Common viral disease that affect goat are goat pox, peste Des Petits Ruminants, foot and mouth disease. Endo-parasitic diseases include tape worm, round worm, coccidiosis and fluke worm.
Ecto-parasite infestation are things like lice, ticks. They suffer from many bacteria diseases such as mastitis, foot rot and pneumonia. Others are Anthrax, brucellosis or hemorrhagic septicemia.
- Goat pox
- Peste Des Petits Ruminants
- Foot and mouth disease
|Foot and Mouth||vaccination||Lesions in foot|
|Goat Pox||vaccination||Nasal mucous|
|Peste Des Petits Ruminants||vaccination||Mucous discharge, Fever|
- Tape worm
- Round worm
- Fluke worm
|Tape worm||De-worm||Fever, reduced growth|
|Coccidiosis||Anticoccidal drug||Brownish diarrhea|
|Fluke worm||De-worm, snail control||Anemia|
|Round worm||De-worm||Anemia, reduced growth lower jaw edema|
Ecto parasite infestation
|Lice||Dipping, clean pen||Itching, reduced growth|
|Tick||Dipping, clean pen||Itching, reduced growth|
- Foot rot
- Hemorrhagic septicemia
|Foot rot||Clean dry environment||wound|
|Mastitis||Disinfect udder, clean pen||Swollen udder|
|Brucellosis||Safely dispose of placenta, dead fetus||Late pregnancy abortion|
|Hemorrhagic Septicemia||vaccination||Dysentery, fever|
|Pneumonia||Proper ventilation , clean water||Mucous discharge, fever|
|Antrax||vaccination||Death, sudden fever|
Symptoms of illness
Goats are generally hardy creatures, resistant to many livestock diseases. However intensive farming increases the likelihood of spread of bacteria, viral endo-parasitic or ecto-parasitic diseases.
Symptoms to look out for are fever, swellings of lower mandible, dysentery. Others are color bloody discharge for orifice, respiratory distress wounds. You might notice a change in milk consistency or unusual swellings.
More symptoms are excessive salivary secretions reduced growth rate.
- Swellings of lower mandible
- Color bloody discharge for orifice
- Respiratory distress wounds
- Change in milk or unusual swellings
- Excessive salivary secretions
- Reduced growth rate
Different preventive measure are used based on type of disease or symptoms. Common measures are regular barn cleaning, annual vaccination. Others are laboratory testing of any abscess, treatment with Pro-bios, de-worming, drenching kids. Disease management measure includes alertness to illnesses, regular use of veterinarians. De-worm the goats regularly, provide clean water, barn, proper scheduled vaccination.
- barn cleaning
- annual vaccination
- laboratory testing of any abscess
- treatment with Pro-bios
- drenching kids
Goat is affordable regarded as lean meat, low in cholesterol. Favored for its unique flavor, taste premium cut is boar. Farmers can sell at consignment sales, private buyers, and auction markets. Sell through personal contact, online, local grocery store or on-farm.You can sell meat, milk or hide to market women. Top customers are restaurants, hotels, butchery and frozen food outlets. Marketing is straightforward and you don’t need any elaborate strategy.
- consignment sales
- private buyers
- auction markets
- personal contact
- local grocery store
Types of Goat Meat
Kid meat is refered to as Cabrito while mature meat is Chevon. Types of goat meat incude pygmy, Kiko, Nubian, Spanish or boar.