Goat farming is a good business and you should jump right into it. It is not demanding financially and has great profit returns to keep you going.
Goat farming falls under the category of great businesses because of its assured market value. You will never face a market challenge when it comes to selling goats. Buyers are readily available and will come to collect them from your farm.
Goat meat is quite popular in Kenya, and it can be found in most restaurants in Kenya. Goat meat is loved due to its ‘natural taste and nutritional benefits.
Official estimates by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that 26 million goats are currently in Kenya.
Goats generate income and savings, especially for women, helping them cope with economic emergencies and reducing debt. Goats are also known as ‘mobile food assets’ during times of crisis.
Who can start Goat Farming in Kenya?
You need little land to keep goats. They are not demanding when it comes to food. They love to browse and eat small shrubs, tree leaves, and grass. Shrubs and tree leaves are however their favorite delicacy.
Generally, you can start goat farming in Kenya if you have the following:
- A small piece of land.
- Food for the goats.
- Source of water.
- Employee to take care of the goats.
- Proximity to a veterinary officer.
What are the benefits of goat farming?
- Goats survive and reproduce under a variety of extreme conditions, making them an ideal species for small-scale farmers.
- Butcheries in Kenya are always looking for goat meat which is in high demand.
- Goats reproduce and multiply fast making them quite profitable.
- They are an excellent source of protein.
- Goat meat is low in fat and cholesterol and high in vitamins and minerals.
- When smallholder farmers cannot raise cattle and other large animals, goats become the preferred choice. They are ideal for household milk and meat production and can be easily sold for immediate income.
- Goat manure is extremely valuable and is highly sought after by farmers growing vegetables. Goat manure is high in Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK).
How to choose the right goat breed for your farm
Make sure you get the right breed before you get into goat farming. You need goats that grow faster and larger. This means your breed needs to be one that gains weight fast.
Goats will get twins after mating if there are enough food supplies for eating. Birth rates will decline if your goats are always starving.
Goat kids will grow very fast when food is readily available to them. They will also attain sexual maturity within a year and start reproducing. Attaining sexual maturity at an early age will also help your goats withstand diseases and challenges.
Avoid inbreeding by removing young males from your herd. You can buy new males from other farms to improve your breed and keep their genes strong.
Some of the goat meat breeds available in Kenya are;
- Galla Goat – Males can weigh up to 70 kg, females will reach a kidded weight of 45-55 kg.
- Small East African Goat – Males can weigh up to 35 kg, females 25-30 kg
- Boer – males can weigh up to 90 kg, and females will reach 70 kg.
What to feed goats to gain weight
Feeding your goats grain will help them gain weight fast. Your goats should receive not more than 0.6 kg of grains per day.
Grow the following crops to feed your goats and help them gain weight:
These include Bracharia grass, Napier grass, Boma Rhodes grass and green leaves. Chop the fooder into small bits of 3cm for easy consumption. Add energy supplements to your chopped feed such as molasses, dairy meal or pollard.
Water should always be readily available to the goats even if they have diarrhea.
Vitamin and mineral supplements.
Goats also require additions of vitamins and minerals supplemented with their feeds. You can buy these minerals from agro stores near you.
Check for minerals that have calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron, and copper. Follow use instructions on the mineral package before using.
Always hang a have a block of salt inside the goat house. Salt helps the goat urinate properly and avoids cases of having blood in the urine.
Goats need proteins to build muscle. It also helps regulate carbohydrate digestion. A lack of proteins speeds up carbohydrate digestion which leads to a decrease in energy levels in goats. It will also hinder the absorption of minerals.
Protein can be found in food such as Cotton seed cake, Lucerne, Fish meal, Desmodium, Sweet Potato Vines, Sunflower Seed Cake are all benefitial to goats.
How to build a goat house
Goat houses should be dry and well ventilated. Goats like dry grounds and will get sick if the ground is wet. They are most susceptible to pneumonia.
Goat houses should have the following characteristics;
- Waterproofed or damp-proof. This will prevent disease outbreaks.
- Well ventilated.
- Adequately spaced. An adult goat requires 0.5 – 0.75 square meters.
- Situated in a noise-free area.
- Goats can sleep on the ground but we advise on a raised house. This will help you keep the house dry and collect manure at the bottom with ease.
- Built to last and safe from predators and thieves.
You can build your goat house from readily available materials and get started. If you feel your neighborhood is unsafe then you can build using concrete blocks. Goat thieves are on the rise due to quick liquidation in market places.
You can also install solar flood lights around your goat house to help with security.
Goats are hardy animals and require little maintenance. Deworm your goats after every 3 months.
Install a foot bath for the goats to walk through. The foot bath should contain 5% Copper Sulphate. This helps in reducing foot rot and foot abscess. Trim injured or overgrown hooves
Keep your goats free from ticks and fleas by spraying them every two weeks.
Diseases that affect goats include;
- Haemonchus contortus
- Contagious Ecthyma (ORF)
- Brucellosis— causes abortion
- Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP)
Practice timely vaccination for your goats under the guidance of your local vet to avoid disease outbreaks.
Do not forget to always call your Veterinary officer when you suspect your goat is sick or has changed its behaviour.