The animal husbandry branch of agriculture offers a wide range of livestock rearing that can be partaken in. Of these numbers of livestock farming available, one must make wise decisions as regards cost, maintenance, available market, and so on.
Well, this article focuses on one livestock farming that stands on the good side of the concerns raised above—goat farming.
Goat farming is simply the rearing and breeding of domestic goats as an aspect of animal husbandry.
Domestic goats, known botanically as “Capra aegagrus hircus”, are ruminant animals—they chew the curd. They can be described as having legs much tinier than the bulk of their bodies, straight horns, and a beard. They are animals related to sheep very closely.
Out of the numerous animals available for rearing in Nigeria, why should you consider goats, you may ask? Below are a few reasons why that goat-rearing business might just be the best thing for you to venture into:
- Goat rearing does not need a very high capital. Conversely, the returns from the business are considerably high. It is one of the juiciest businesses in whatever part of the world.
- Nigeria’s weather condition is relatively great for the farming of these goats.
- Goats feed on vegetation that other animals might not eat, and so they can survive even in areas with scanty vegetation or of average quality.
- The market for goat products is large—many Nigerians consume the meat daily; the skin is used for the production of leather for fashion items; goat wool is valuable in the making of clothes, carpets, and knitted materials—they produce the valuable cashmere wool; the milk is drinkable and also valuable for making cosmetic products; pharmaceutical industries make drugs out of the offal.
- Goats breed well and so ensure the elasticity of your business.
- The feeding and general management of these animals are not stressful.
- Even the goat’s dung serves as rich manure for the nourishment of the soil for the growth of crops.
It all sounds so beautiful and you just want to jump straight in, right? Well, you should consider some things carefully before starting your own goat rearing business.
The most important thing needed is adequate knowledge about goats as regards maintenance, reproduction, and so on. It is also important to breakdown the entire farming process into expected yields. For example, the milking, the skinning for leather, the extraction of manure for fertilizing plants, etc.
There is no better way to learn, though, than on the job; so do not be discouraged. Below are some things to consider about the proper rearing of goats:
- WHAT TYPE OF GOAT?: Goats are of different species or breeds—there are more than 300 kinds of breeds—and so you have to know and go for what breed best suits and gives an advantage to the reason for the rearing. Nothing is wrong with farming more than one breed if the money is available. Also, most importantly, lookout for the best goat(s) available, as the higher the quality, the higher the produce will be, both in offspring and yield. For example, the Saanen, Nigerian dwarf, Nubian, Pygmy, and Boer are excellent breeds of quality. The animals should have a healthy appearance—smooth hair, no shreds, and the 32 complete teeth for adults.
- FOOD: This should not be that big a problem, especially when pasture is available, as goats are essentially herbivores. Pasture can be grown, or the goats sent to a field close by to feed. On the other hand, goat feed can be purchased or even created according to your pocket. The goats need healthy food for proper growth, and so their feed needs to contain about 12-18% of protein.
Be extra careful to exclude urea from their food as this is very harmful to them. Some nutritious supplements like minerals and vitamins can be added to their food for faster and stronger growth. Also, the importance of clean water for drinking cannot be overemphasized.
- SMART BUSINESS PLAN: You should have a workable business plan for the marketing of your goats and their products even before starting the business. You should also create reliable, beneficial, and essential networks. This can help you hit the ground running when the business starts.
- LIVING SPACE: the location where the goats will shelter is important. There must be arrangements made, so that harsh weather conditions don’t get them fatigued and sick. Also, the best place for their sheltering should be a place close to pasture.
- HEALTH MAINTENANCE: Medical care is essential for goats and should be provided. An outbreak of diseases can lead to a great loss that could be readily avoided by the periodic visit of a veterinary doctor to check the goats and ensure they are okay.
- FARM HANDS/HELP: there is no harm in getting help for taking care of the goats if the number is quite large and the needed time and attention necessary is unaffordable. Moreover, there are other businesses about the farm wherein you can need to expend your energy and time, like taking stock, keeping accounts, and so on. If help can be afforded, it is not a waste.
- Never stop seeking knowledge about goat farming and marketing business.
In Nigeria, goat farming has become an impressive part of the agricultural sector that contributes to the nation’s economy. Farmers in the north take more advantage of the large market for goats and get dividends for the work.
In conclusion, the goat farming business is one which any interested individual can get adequate knowledge on and venture into. Since the returns are high and the maintenance cost is relatively low, there is not that much to lose, providing the farming is done right.
Give some thought on goat farming today, and you will surely see that the pros outweigh the cons.
What do you think can stand as a barrier to starting? Let us know in the comment section.