Farming

What you need to care for dairy goats

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By Kenneth Kabagambe

Posted  Wednesday, May 28  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Be strict on controlling ticks – they cause Heartwater disease.

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The most recognised diary breeds are the Anglo-Nubian of North Africa and the Swiss namely the Alpine, Saanen, Toggenburg and Oberhasli. Milk output is about two to four litres per goat per day.

Reproduction cycle. The first mating for females should be at about eight months old. Gestation takes 145 to 156 days but averages 150 days. A doe will be served while lactating so subsequent kidding should be every 8 months.

Feeding
Goats consume grasses, fodder trees, legumes and concentrates.
• Balance the diets: enough proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water
• Let them browse for eight hours a day in good pastures to ensure that they consume enough food. Provide enough feeds in stalls for those on zero grazing
The most nutritious grasses include: Chloris Gayana, Panicum, napier (elephant grass), potato vines, Congo Signal grass for body maintenance.
Feed them on proteins for optimum growth and milk production. The best protein sources are:
• Fodder tree leaves such as Moringa, Gliricidia Luecaena and Calliandra.
• Legumes such as Mucuna (Velvet Bean), Centrosma and Lab Lab.
Note: Legumes can cause blotting. Feed two to three kilogrammes of legumes to 30 kilograms of grasses and fodder.
Water is a very important nutrient especially for milk production. It should be sufficient and clean.
Give them mineral salts for developing strong bones and teeth, providing good appetite and thus weight gain, and improving the hair coat. The most important minerals are calcium, phosphorous and selenium.
Vitamins can normally be obtained from green feeds as the goats browse. If needed, use injectables.

Treatment
Routine treatment involves:
• Deworming (worms and flukes) every three to four months depending on the prevalence of the parasites. Kids might need monthly deworming until they are about four months old.
• Spraying for lice, mites, ticks, etc. the interval depends on the prevalence of the parasites and the type of acaricide used.
Be strict on controlling ticks – they cause Heartwater disease. It can be treated with oxytetracycline Hi-tet but if not detected and no treatment is given within about 3 days the got will hardly survive.

Shelter (pen / stall)
A pregnant doe needs at least 1.92 square metres of space while a dry one needs 1.5 square metres. 0.3 square metres is enough for a kid.
Floors of stalls should be about one metre above the ground to allow a person to clean under there.
Good ventilation is a must to minimise/prevent spreading of diseases and particularly ammonia gas from urine which chocks terribly.
Goats and rain are “enemies”. Cover the shelters.

Source: Agri Hub Uganda

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