Goat farming: New lessons at Farm Clinic 

What you need to know:

  • Goats are naturally browsers, very inquisitive feeders, and therefore, should be fed balanced diets in energy, protein, minerals, vitamins and clean water when housed.

It is early Saturday morning and all roads lead to the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic organised at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Nakyesasa, Wakiso District.
Farmers were invited to learn about cattle and goat breeding and they came in big numbers using taxis while others travelled in private cars with all the zeal to learn.
A good number of farmers were interested in learning about goat breeding because they believe they are easy to rear since they are good browsers in terms of feeding.

Background  
The experts while interacting with Seeds of Gold noted that a farmer intending to venture into goat breeding must define their farming objective clearly. It could be to produce meat, milk and breeding stock for other farmers.
If the objective is breeding, then emphasis in management will be on high quality foundation stock, detailed breeding plan and good recording system.

If the objective is profit making, the emphasis in management will be on low cost infrastructure, simple management system, few staff to reduce labour costs and good financial management. The experts emphasised the need for farmers to observe the market demand for goat’s products before venturing into farming.
Roles of a farmer 
Dr Brian Martin Babigumira a livestock breeder and senior research scientist at NaLIRRI explained that goats are considered as small stock animals that can be managed in big numbers in a small area.
They produce faster and can multiply so fast in most cases a good female doe breed will produce twice in a year. It usually gives birth to between two and three kid goats at one birth.

Breeds 
Mubende goats 

This breed has shiny, straight hair that is normally black or a mixture of black and white. 
Its meat is of high quality as is its skin, which is used as leather in the tanning industry. Males have curls on the skin and usually are hornless. Adult males weigh between 25 and 35 kilogrammes and females weigh between 22 and 28 kilogrammes.
A good number of farmers in central Uganda are rearing these goats on a commercial scale.
Kigezi goat breeds 
They are found mainly in south western Uganda and they either are black, white or mixture of white and black colour and their hair is long. 
The average live male goat weighs about 28.8 kilogrammes and those castrated weigh up to 30 kilogrammes and females weigh up to 30.3 kilogrammes.

Small East African goat breed
It is a type of goat which is found throughout eastern Africa from Zimbabwe and Malawi in the south through Tanzania to a large part of Kenya and Uganda mainly in Karamoja region, Teso region and West Nile region.
They have different names such as Sahelian goats, Maradi or Red Sokoto, African Dwarf goats and Pygmy goats among others. 


They grow slowly, but have a heavy set conformation and they are resistant to diseases such as heart water, an endemic tick-borne disease and worms. The hides give a good quality leather.
The castrated male adult goat that has grown for about 18 months weighs 28.9 kilogrammes while the ordinary male weighs about 25 kilogrammes and females weigh about 22.8 kilogrammes.

Kalahari breed
Their origin is from South Africa and they are brown in colour having round horns.
The scientists at NaLIRRI are currently breeding them in their research centre at Maruzi in Apac District, where they imported about 100 goat breeds for DNA evaluation, profiling and further multiplication.
The female ones can produce between two and three kids thrice in a two year period.
The male called bucks are usually larger than the female does with average body weight of the Kalahari brown buck at about 115 kilogrammes and the does on average weight about 75 kilogrammes.

Savannah goats 
They are white in colour and havegood resistance to diseases. The Savannah goat is a large framed, well-muscled breed primarily used for meat. However their skin, horns and hooves have black pigmentation to protect them from the sun. On average they can weigh up to 60 kilogrammes with the males weighing slightly higher if fed well.

Boer goats 
The Boer goat is a South African breed purposely bred for meat. It was selectively bred in the Eastern Cape from about 1920 for meat qualities and for the ability to survive by grazing on the thorn belt of that region. They are stocky animals with a white body and a red head, brown eyes, lop downward-hanging ears, backward curving horns and strong, well placed legs. 
The adult males often weigh up to 160 kilogrammes and females can weigh as much as 110 kilogrammes.

Good goat rearing practices
Dr Babigumira says it is important for farmers to confine their goats at night after taking them for browsing during the day. If possible they must be kept in shelter.
“Provide a clean environment by making sure their faecal matter is swept off at all times and ensure clean water is provided for them,” he advises.
The type of pasture given to them will depend on the region but since goats are browsers farmers can feed them on legumes such as cow pea leaves, sorghum and maize stalk which must be chopped and mixed with ingredients such as salt. 
Others are turnips which are brassica root crops used for festering the maturing of goats, then calliandra tree leaves which can be plucked and placed in a high spot for them to browse.

There are also grasses such bracharia and chloris gayana which can be chopped and dried as hay or shield with a wrapper as forage. They can also be fed directly on farm where such grass is planted.
Additional feeds come from legumes such as lablab using crushed seed which can be mixed with maize bran, molasses and salt to make a cake. They must be given mineral leaks which is hanged in a spot for them to leak.

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