Goats are multi-use animals suitable for commercial milk, meat, skin and mohair production. More than 60% of the red meat consumed through the world is goat meat. Goats’ meat is very tasty, healthy, nutritious and easily digestible, it has a large market in Uganda and international markets. Goat milk also has a huge global demand and value, since it is enriched with essential nutrients. Goats’ fiber is also known as Mohair, it is very valuable and has high value in the international market. There are several goat breeds in Uganda and these include, Mubede breed, Sebei breed, Kigezi breed and the small East African breed. However, farmers intending to rear goats purposely for milk production are encouraged to adopt Toggenburg and Saanen breeds.
Setting up a good farm for goats takes a step-by-step process and certain aspects should be put in consideration for example housing is an important aspect of goat farming business and it is advisable to start small, with at least twenty-five females (does) and one male (buck) this will help you to grow gradually as you expand your business into the commercial system. Housing of goats should be kept at a minimum except for the more intensive systems of production.
On average, 1.5-2.0 square meters housing space is required per goat. Goats don’t tolerate mud well therefore the structures should be constructed on a raised area so that the manure droppings drop under the house. this also helps to keep the floor of the house dry. For dairy goats, it is important to construct a separate room for milking and emphasis should be put on ventilation since good aeration is a key requirement. Create different segments for bucks, does and weaning goats for proper management.
There are several constraints in goat farming these include; diseases, scarcity of feed resources, limited size of grazing land, among others. Some of the common diseases affecting goats are; tuberculosis, salmonella infection, goat pox, foot and mouth disease and, brucellosis among others. However, some of these diseases can be regulated by vaccinating the goats regularly and in the right doses and also, taking biosecurity measures.
Where housing facilities are provided, it is neccesary to have in addition water and feed troughs.
When feeding goats, it’s advisable to consider those with special needs for growth such as pregnancy, lactation among others. Along with adequate regular green pastures provide nutritious supplementary feed such as legumes for example lablab, calliandra, feed made out of maize bran, napia grass, alphalpha, and manual salt block.
It is important to research and identify your target market. Goat products such as ghee and milk can be sold to the local market or exported to the international market.
Female goats(does) can get pregnant between 7-10 months old however, this depends on the method of feeding. A doe can give birth to one, two or three in a single birth, gestation period normally takes about 4-5 months. It is advisable to sell goats for meat after one and a half years when they have fully matured.
Good luck as you venture into goat farming.