In many countries, billions of people consume goat meat. In Nigeria, the level of goat meat consumption is so extreme that many workers look forward to their closing hours, so they can rush off to a bar for a goat meat pepper soup meal. This demand has made the pepper soup business flourish in the country. People eat goat meat at home, work, restaurants, parties, and in many other places. When they’re asked for an option of meat, many choose goat meat ahead of chicken meat.
The Nigerian dwarf goat is one of the most common goat breeds raised for household consumption in Nigeria. Many homes in the south-south and south-eastern part of the country rear them both for their personal family consumption and for sale at local markets. With Nigeria’s population sitting at over 170 million and over 5 million people consuming goat meat everyday, goat farming continues to be an extremely valuable business opportunity for new and existing farmers to venture into.
Dairy products like yoghurt, milk, cheese, butter, and more, can be processed from the milk gotten from dairy goats. This locally unpopular business opportunity in goat farming generates high revenue for many goat farmers around the world. In many countries, goat milk is wildly produced for household consumption, but in Nigeria, hardly any home consumes goat milk, and so the milk’s commercial value is extremely low. Irrespective of this, goat milk is easy to digest than cow milk because of small fat globules and is naturally homogenized. It also helps in improving an individual’s appetite and digestive efficiency. While dairy production from farm goats milk may not be a major buzz in Nigeria, in several other countries around the world, dairy goats are used immensely to fuel their dairy needs.
Benefits Of Goat Farming
- It’s easier to raise goats than to rear chickens.
- A good source of employment at the right scale.
- A great source of food.
- The startup capital can be modest.
- Required labour is low.
- Good source of manure.
- Goat farming can be practiced in most weathers.
- All goat breeds can share the same environment and feed with cattle.
- Goats can serve as a major export product.
- Great source of protein!
Breeds of Goat
Nigerian Dwarf Goat:
These are the most common goats in Nigeria, and are used for several purposes. Ideally, the Nigerian Dwarf Goat is best used for dairy purposes, but people in Nigeria prefer to use them to prepare meals ranging from pepper soup to other African delicacies. Irrespective of their small sizes, the Nigerian Dwarf Goats can produce 3-4 pounds of milk per day. They are the best dairy goats and contain 6.1% butterfat. Milking them is usually very difficult, but they can be raised all-year round.
Although the Nigerian Dwarf Goats are the best goats for milk production, their maintenance and up-keep cost can skyrocket sometimes.
These goats are big, graceful, and also known as anglo-nubian. They are always said to be proud of their body structure, because of their Roman nose and long pendulum-like ears.
The Nubian goats are a cross breed of Indian and African bucks, and were raised in England. Their milk contains about 4.6% butterfat and so are not considered as heavy producers.
They breed seasonally and can be raised all year round.
These goats are usually found in the United States, but are of Spanish origin, are friendly, sturdy, and healthy goats. They provide rich dairy produce because they have the best dairy temperament.
The lamancha goats are medium sized, and have small tiny ears that are either gopher ears (sweet rolls) or elf ears (hooked ears).
These goats are also known as the “French Alpines” because they first originated in the Alps. They are one of the most common goats that can be found in the United States. They adapt to any environment easily, because of their medium to large sizes. Their physical attributes makes raising them trouble-free.
The Alpine goats are one of the best used for dairy farming, as their milk contains approximately 3.5% of butterfat. They usually come in different colours and patterns, but a little disadvantage of rearing these goats is that they are seasonal breeders.
These medium-sized built goats are also known as the “swiss alpine”. They are bay in colour with a lot of black spotting all around their body. The downside of these goats is they cannot be raised all year round and their milk contains 3.6% butterfat.
The boer goat is a unique breed of goat with a long hanging ear, roman nose, and are majorly reared in South Africa. They have backward curved horns, a white body and coloured head. They are also strong, vigorous, and have a gentle build. The downside of this goat breed is they only breed in September and towards the end of January.
Goats’ Mechanism Of Feeding
Goats pay very close attention to the kind of food they eat. They focus on the accuracy and details of their meals. Because of their mobile upper lips and very prehensile tongues, they are easily able to browse on very short grass, and to feed on foilage not usually eaten by other domestic livestock. Goats have very good feeding habits. They can feed on a wide variety of animal food, but would refuse any feed that has been soiled by them or by any other animal.
How To Setup A Goat Farm
1). Acquire A Large Pasture:
Getting a good pasture to rear your goats is important to the overall success of your goat farm. It’s important the landmass used for your goat farming business is not just in a remote area not too far from a city, but is also large enough to accommodate your grazing needs. Here are a few points to take note of when determining the kind of pasture to use for your goat farm:
- Select a pasture not too far away from a city.
- The land mass must be large enough (maybe 50 to 100 acres, depending on the number of goats you want to rear) for your goats to graze freely.
- Make sure veterinary services can be easily accessed close to your farm.
- There must be an adequate and efficient source of both clean and fresh water close to the farm.
- There should be a market close to your farm for easy purchase of any farm tool and goat needs.
- A good road network and transportation service must be available within a short distance from your goat farm.
2). Fence The environment:
Construct a fence around the pasture to keep the goats inside. The fence should usually be a short perimeter fence coated with barbwires. This will ensure that the goats cannot just wander off without control. The fence can also ward off dangerous animals. If the goats are always fond of trying to break through the fence, electric fences could then be used. A shocking experience from this fence would keep almost all the goats away from it for good. Another strategy is to create “play areas” for the goats to mostly hang around. Since goats like climbing structures and more, creating a play zone will keep them preoccupied and far away from damaging farm products or structures.
3). Build Goat Barns:
You have to build an adequate barn for the goats to stay in when it’s dark or when their graze time is over. Goats also need to stay under shelter when the weather is cold, rainy or generally unfavourable. When the weather is in a perfect condition, goats prefer to be outside grazing and climbing various objects.
It’s important that the barns built are segmented for various groups of goats. Since they like their privacy, the separation in the barn must be wide enough to accommodate each number of goats put into it. In the case of owning thousands of goats, multiple separate goat barns may be required.
Place guard dogs to protect each barn containing the goats from predators, and also know that goats love to chew on something, preferably grass, while they are at rest. So it’s important you put in some for them.
4). Acquire The Right Goat Breeds:
Deciding on the right type of goat breeds to rear is highly dependent on what is available and is highly demanded in your country. While there are various types of goat breeds ranging from the Nigerian dwarf goats to nubian goats, lamancha goats, alpine goats, oberhasli goats, boer goats, and a lot more, picking the right goat breed to suit your needs is very important.
You can choose to either rear goats for dairy production, meat, fiber, and many other purposes. It is recommended that you should buy at least two bucks (male goat) and many does (female goats). This is highly essential. The does give birth to more goats, and these helps in the increase of the numbers of your goat if you are starting on a small scale.
You can also purchase hybrids goats if you want, that is, a combination of different species of goat. Make sure that the goats you are purchasing are in good health and have no sign of diseases.
If you are purchasing a baby goat, make sure that they are properly vaccinated.
Make sure they undergo proper vaccination before they start grazing, to improve their chances of longevity.
You can feed your goat any types of crops, corns, and leaves since goats are ruminant’s animals (though like human, they have their different taste, i.e, certain goat may not eat something other goats eat). However, it is advisable that you should have a grazing place so that the cost of feed can be lowered.
There are also specially formulated feeds you can buy in the market; these feeds can make your goat grow faster and big. The little disadvantage of it is that, these feeds can be costly compares to pastures. Sometimes, most farmers do produce their own feed; you can make yours if you can just make sure the feed has about 11%-18% of protein.
5). Keep A Regular Appointment With The Veterinary Doctor:
Never skip an appointment with the veterinary doctor. Staying up to date with constant check-ups and vaccination from the doctor will increase the lifespan of your goats, thereby making their mortality rate very low.
If the required veterinary service you require for your goat farm is far away, make sure you stock enough vaccines and medications on your farm to cater for your goats.
If you want to do it yourself be cautioned that you might lose quite a number of goats in the process.
This is the process of goats becoming mature. In goat, puberty age is between six and 12 months (though it can most times vary in breeds. Some breeds maybe more other mat be less. Sometimes, nutrients can also contribute to this. You should note that female goats (doe) go into estrus every 21 days for three to 50 hours.
At this stage, some enough natural mating can begin. But since the advance of technology, some modern farmers practices artificial insemination. It is said that it allocates straight forward entrance to a wide variety of bloodlines.
This is the period of time kid (baby goats) develops in their mother’s womb. Goats achieve their sexual at the 10-12 month. The overall period of their gestation is 150 (that is from 145-152 days.)
A Short Feasibility Study On Goat Farming
Since an average goat weighs 45kg, and the cost of a kg is about N1400, then an average goat could cost a minimum of N40,000, say we have a dressing percentage of 65%. If your farm rears, grows, and sells 1,000 goats in a year, that would mean a minimum of N40,000,000 in revenue generated for the year. Separating the cost of acquiring and breeding the goats as production costs, you could be left with more than half the value of N40,000,000.
It’s important you know that it takes 2 to 3 years for an average goat to reach full maturity. So for your goat farming business to mature and start generating any real returns, you would have to wait a long while. Selling 1,000 goats in a year is a big win for any small scale farmer. But with startup capital constraints, starting with a target of 500 sales by the 3rd year of full maturity is a good boost for any new farmer. At a very large scale, 10,000 or more goats could be sold in a year.
Some common pests and diseases to look out for when rearing your goat;
Tapeworm ; you will notice symptoms like; Diarrhea, constipation, some part of tapeworm may be seen in the faeces.
Tuberculosis ; you will notice difficulty in respiration, coughing, Irregular low-grade fever of long period, loss of body weight and anemia.
Salmonella infection ; noticeable symptoms are like loss of weight and low milk production. This disease is mostly caused by using or giving the dirty or contaminated drinking water.
Rinderpest; the symptoms are Ulcerative lesions will appear inside the lower lip and on the gums. There will also be a mild thermal reaction and diarrhea.
Nitrate/nitrite Poisoning ; noticeable symptoms include; urine tested positive for nitrate/nitrite, respiratory difficulty staggering gait, the goat blood becomes chocolate brown in color. Most times death might occur.
These diseases listed above are just a few to mention, there are still many of them. These are the more reason why appointing a veterinary is highly recommend.
If your goat farming business is well managed by a good veterinary, your goats will grow healthy and you will gain more than lose.
General signs that show that goats are sick;
- They won’t drink nor eat.
- Kicking or biting their stomach; bloated.
- The will have a green or cloudy nasal discharge.
- Fever (note; a Body temperature above 103.5 indicate fever and a body temperature above 101.5 indicates subnormal temperature)
- Showing symptoms of pain like grinding their teeth
- They have loose feces which indicates diarrhea or problems in their bowel movement
- Having a rapid or slow breathing
- They have a hard time urinating or they suffer pain when urinating
- Pressing their head against fences or walls
- Their eyelids turn gray or pale in color
- Some signs that show your goats (doe) are in heat cycle;
- The heat period is when a female goat is ready to mate.
- The doe wags her tail.
- The does act bucky or charged; the doe mounts other does in the herd or allows them to mount her back and will stand for mating.
- The doe gets talkative
- The doe urinates often.
- The buck acts goofy or silly; the buck will wag his tongue, slap a front hoof against the ground, urinate on his own face,
- Milk volume changes; she may resist getting on the milk stand and you may get little or no milk from the doe.
- Her tail gets sticky; the tail may become red, swollen, and wet with a gel-like vaginal discharge.
Some Signs that shows your goat (doe) is pregnant;
- The doe appetite goes up and milk production goes down.
- The doe’s belly tightens.
- The doe’s personality changes; this is caused by a change of hormone and progesterone.
- The buck’s personality changes; the buck may become aggressive toward the bred doe.
- The doe’s udder swells.
- The doe snores; all goats snore but a pregnant doe snore more loudly. With the all we have discussed, you can see that starting a goat farming business in Nigeria is quite easy compares to the rearing of other livestock. We wish you a successful goat business
How To Sell Your Farm Goats
It’s important to identify hotspots where they use goat meats a lot; like pepper soup joints, abattoirs, and more, to market your goats to them. Claiming some of these prospects as customers, may cost you a little more, like lowering your prices and offering them better incentives and bonuses than other goat farmers would offer. When you make your customers feel great about partnering with you, they’ll never stop making you money.
While there are many other animal husbandry farming sectors like grasscutter farming, cattle rearing, and more, goat farming is highly lucrative, because of its high demand and attractive export value. As a goat farmer selling hundreds or even thousands of goats yearly, you could overtime build an agribusiness conglomerate starting with just these animals.