Goat is a small ruminant animal reared in various parts of the world. In Nigeria, goats are kept mostly in rural areas by farmers and families.
Breeds of goat vary depending on location for example in Nigeria the ones (breeds) that thrive well in the Northern part of the country are different from those reared in the South.
Breeds of goat
Breeds commonly found in Nigeria include the West African long-legged goat, Sokoto Red, West African Dwarf (WAD) goat, Kano Brown, Bornu Red, among others
Starting a goat farming business
A herd of thirty goats consisting of five males and twenty-five females suffice to start a small to medium scale goat farming business. However, it should be noted that the female goats must be more in number than the males because the does (female goat) majorly serve breeding purposes.
It is important to note that for raise-and-sell farmers, boars (male goats) only could be reared because breeding is not the main focus of their business.
Among the facilities required for proper and effective goat rearing are fenced pen (shelter), feeding rack, water er, feeds or silage store, and animal sick bay or (culling pen).
Goats, however do not necessarily require a large expanse of land as they love to wander about. The animals while in search for pasture should not be allowed to graze on plants that are near the ground at the same time to prevent them from eating up food or ornamental plants.
Feeding of goat is relatively cheap because it can feed successfully on green grass, nonetheless, formulated feeds (concentrates) could be compounded to enhance fattening. Tuber and roots peels can also be fed.
Gestation period (length of pregnancy) of goat ranges between 145 to 150/152 days. They can attain market size between 8 and 12 months, but could reach up to 18 months if not properly fed.
Diseases of Goat
Goats as other animals have a lot of diseases which can spread easily among the herd and cause mortality. Some of the diseases of goat include pneumonia, diarrhea, ketosis, anemia, anorexia, arthritis, anthrax, bronchitis and coccidiosis.
It is very important to regularly check their feed for contamination because when eaten it can lead to diarrhea. For pneumonia, common symptoms include mucus discharge from the nose and eye, fever, anorexia, inflammation of the nasal and buccal cavities and respiratory difficulty.
Overall, proper health care and sanitation, in addition to good management practices must be put in place to prevent invasion of diseases among the herd.
Advantages of goat farming
Goat farming has quite a number of advantages among which include the following:
Easy to rear
Goats are small-sized animals that are very hardy, hence they are easily maintained as a sole business or even as side hustle.
Goats are multipurpose animal which supplies milk, meat, , dungs for manure and hide and skin among other things. Goat meat has a unique taste and a preferred choice in my eateries and restaurants in the country which commands high price.
On the other hand, goats are considered as foster mothers of humans. This is because their milk is regarded as the best for human consumption than those gotten from other species of livestock. Their milk is nutritious, wholesome and digestible.
Do not require high-end housing
Goats can easily share their living space with other animals (that it, can be reared among other ruminants) which is also in accordance with their small body size. They can also easily survive on free range system of rearing. However, shelter must be provided to protect them against harsh weather condition and theft. Over-crowding should also be prevented.
Early maturity and adaptation
Goats reach slaughter weight and age faster as early as 7 weeks of age. Does can be bred at 7 to 8 months of age.
Additionally, they are capable of adapting to all types of agro-climatic conditions or environment. They can easily tolerate high and low temperatures.
Diseases management and acceptability
Diseases are less in goat compared to other livestock and there are no religious taboos against goat farming or consumption of goat meat (chevon).