Goat business is the next business to grow in Zambia. With Saudi Arabia in need of 1 million goats per year, you don’t want to miss the money making opportunity. If it is the next business in line, how then do you raise goats for business?
So here are a few tips to get you on the start of the goat business, mostly from the farmers’ hub.
Knowing the best breed for your farm is the first things to do. You need to realize that goats are sought for different reasons on the market. They are bought for milk, meat, hair and/or skin. We are not yet certain of the Saudi market, but what is known is that they need 1 million goats per month from Zambia.
So according to the farmers’ hub, there are many breeds in the country, these breeds include:
- The Boer breed , which are farmed for meat and also bred at GART in Batoka, Choma,
- Saanen breed for milk,
- Some farmers in Lusaka and central province have the Kalahari breed for meat.
To yield better results cross breeding between a Boer and Saanen breed can yield good results for milk and meat.
Keeping up with goats is not easy but the results it yields are very rewarding. Taking care of both the male and female goats properly is needful.
Checking up on the goats to ensure that they are feeding properly, undergo periodic vaccinations, dosing and other checks to ensure that they are in good health are essential. When the goats are taken care of properly and are in good health, mating is easy.
According to the farmers’ hub, the female goat can only mate when it is on heat which lasts 24 to 26 hours, and pregnancy takes about five months (145-150 days). Signs that your goat is on heat include:
- She will start to mount other goats
- Shaking of the tail
- Mucus discharge on her organ
- Seeking males and wanting to be in their company
- Bleating continuously.
You should know however that male goats become fertile earlier than the females.
When buying goats to stock your goat house, it is advisable to buy indigenous females and buy either a pure breed or hybrid Boer so as to improve the breed.
- Kid Management
It is important to note that a reduction in kid mortality rate translates into an increase in flock size. The kids should be encouraged to bond with the mother, and to suck the first milk – colostrums within at least three hours of birth as it contains antibodies necessary for the development of its immune system. It is recommended to have a flock identification system in place for the following reasons:
- It makes record keeping easier
- You will easily notice when one is missing (if you have many goats)
- It is a government requirement in Zambia for traceability when exporting livestock (remember the Saudis need one million goats from us).
To reduce kid mortality rate, it is advisable to separate adults from kids.
- Feeding and Sickness.
Goats are known for leaving their fences. It’s only natural for them to find green pastures when the place they were feeding from has run out of pasture. This makes it easier for you to keep. During the dry season however, you can provide alternative feeding so as to keep them fed.
General symptoms of diseases in goats include:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficult in moving
- Standing hair and or loss of hair
- Dropping ears and tail.
It is advisable to seek the opinion of the vet when you notice one or more of these signs. To minimize sickness, periodically dip your goats, vaccinate them, and remember the power of networking. Visit and invite fellow farmers to your farm to share ideas on management.
Hope you have learned something, the market is yet to grow once the export market opens. Start preparing now!