Tips on Goat rearing

Kenyan population is growing at a great speed and the demand for food is increasing exponentially. Goat meat that used to be a luxury for most of the population is becoming affordable to a larger number of people due to economic growth we are experiencing. This has caused an increased in demand for mutton and not enough supply to meet the demand. This demand cannot be met by traditional method of small scale backyard goat rearing in villages.

As the demand far exceeds supply, goat meat prices have been increasing steadily. This increased price has created a need and opportunity for farmers. Improvement in the quality of the breeds is a critical factor for commercial success.

All the above factors have created a tremendous opportunity for the aspiring young farmer entrepreneurs to take a lead and be pioneers in goat breeding business. There is huge potential for commercial success for those that follow advanced farming methods. In short, there are numerous advantages of Goat Farming Business which we should take-up – there is confirmed ever increasing market price and low labour requirement.

Goats for milk

Although there are many breeds of dairy goats in Kenya, only three are the most common and therefore important. Your choice of dairy goat breed will by and large depend on your locality because each breed is suited to certain climatic conditions. The three important breeds are Saanen, Alpines and Toggenburg.

Saanen

White to pale cream in color, they have black spots on the nose and udders and the skin is black spotted. They are usually polled, meaning they are not horned. The ears are normally pointed facing forward.

Saanen

Mature male weigh about 75 Kg and females 50 – 65 Kg. The breed is used to upgrade local goats.

The highest recorded milk yield in the tropics is 800 Kg in 205 days lactation or 3.9 Kg/day. The current world record 3430 Kg per lactation in temperate regions. Butter Fat (BF) content is around 4%.

Alpines

These breed of dairy goat adapt in the tropics better than the Saanen. German Alpines are more widespread and the color is variable but can be grouped i.e.

  • White front quarter and black hind
  • Grayish front and black hind
  • Black neck and white hind

alpine

Female weigh 60 Kg and male 65 Kg at maturity. Milk yield averages 922.5 Kg per lactation or 4.5 Kg per day and BF content is at 3.6%. The current milk record 2194 kg/lactation.

Toggenburg

This is the least successful exotic breeds in the tropics. Togs have white legs, white stripe from nose to eyes and a characteristic white triangle at the back.

toggenburg

Mature males weigh 65Kg and females 45 Kg.

Milk production is about 3 liters/day and the world record 2613 kg/lactation or 12.5 kg/day. They can produce milk for a long time if not served and are good for upgrading local breeds.

These three breeds are adaptable to a wide range of climate. Alpines and Saanen are hardy and can do well in hot areas. Toggenburg do well in cold areas.

Other than the breeds, the other very important factor is how well you are prepared in terms of management. These goats are high producers and demand a high management level in terms of feeding, husbandry, housing and health.

Goat rearing manual from the FCP’s TOF Project

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