Goat farming is a low investment business where any farmer with a family of four can earn their livelihood with just 5 goats. Goats are multi-beneficial where they are used for milk, meat, and fiber (wool). With so many advantages one can easily reap benefits.
Even a farmer with a small piece of land can earn instant and sharp income in a very short time period with Goat farming. India has produced a variety of goats for different purposes ranging from meat production to milk production.
There are three main types of goats divided by sex: females, called does; uncastrated males, called bucks; and castrated males, called wethers. The does need to be impregnated by a buck before they produce milk, but raising a buck can require a lot of extra work. Bucks require a separate enclosure and are often aggressive.
Goat farming is a profitable and enjoyable farming experience as long as you are well prepared. Goat farming is profitable as well as a sustainable business. Let’s discuss what to consider before starting a Goat farming business.
Steps to follow for starting a profitable Goat Farming business
1. Shelter for Goats: Location and type of enclosure
The first thing any farmer should consider is the location for raising Goats. Based on the location he has to decide to go with goat house or an elevated goat shed. Goats are the most adjustable livestock animal for any conditions but there are few things to consider that can save your time and money.
- Goats do not like wetland and wet weather. So make sure they always stay in the dry region. Always preferable to have a large indoor space. The sheds should be constructed in an elevated area to prevent water stagnation.
- A three-sided enclosure better suits for all tropical regions, with good ventilation. The enclosure can be of a certain height or covered with wire(shade) mesh to protect from the cold breeze. Always keep kids warm.
- For a comfortable house, east-west orientation with generous provision for ventilation /air movement to dry the floor will be suitable.
- Gable roofing is generally preferred which will be suitable for all climatic conditions.
- When the animals are taken for grazing during the day time and sheltered only during the night, the covered space will be enough.
- When the animals are housed intensively, the pen and run system of housing is suitable.
- Should allow them to roam out freely in the day. Build a small fence around the shelter. Goats are intelligent to get inside the Shelter when it rains.
- Fencing should be up to 5 ft or even more. Goats are excellent climbers, so better get a fence that has small gaps(holes). Fencing should be sturdy and tall, which will never give a chance to mix up your does and bucks.
- There is no restriction for the length of the shelter, however, breadth of the shed should not exceed 12 meter and optimum breadth of shelter is 8 meter.
- Avoid barb wired fencing, they may accidentally hurt the goats.
- Always keep your does and bucks separately, as bucks get aggressive when in the rut and near females. If not this encourages unplanned breeding.
- Keep kids and mom in a separate enclosure and it should be warm.
- Keep each breed in a separate enclosure, do not mix the breeds unless you are planning for crossbreeding.
- The location should be free from poisonous plants. Goats will eat everything and anything that is green. Weed out all plants which you think can cause harm. Though Goats are sturdy they do have a certain weakness with eating habits.
Different sheds are required in Goat farming for better management
The sheds of the following types are required for housing the Goats
- General flock shed (Doe shed)
- buck shed
- kidding shed
- kid shed
- Sick animal shed
2. Feed and water
We should have enough land to grow hay/pasture for our goats. Goats are free-roaming animals, always prefer fresh pasture.
Hay is the grass that has been cut and dried, then baled or collected to use as animal feed. Much of the nutrition of the grass is preserved in the hay and it makes great feed for goats.
Different types of fodders are well suited for Goats. Goats to increase their weight, the right amount of fodder with better nutrients should be available. Below are few fodder crops where some are perennial and require low maintenance.
- Tree fodders like Sesbania trees, Glyricidia, Leucaena leucocephala(subabul). The leaves of Sesbania trees are highly palatable and well-liked by goats.
- Grass Fodders like Hybrid Napier, Guinea grass, Para Grass, Blue buffelgrass.
- Cereal Fodders like Fodder maize and Fodder sorghum.
- Legume Fodders like Cowpea, Hedge Lucerne, Lucerne, Stylo, alfalfa.
- Grains like wheat, maize, Sorghum, Broken rice, Jowar, Soya bean cake, Groundnut cake.
Fodder trees can be grown around the shed, which acts as a source of feed for the growing goats.
Clean drinking water should be available for goats.
Green fodder can be stored for longer periods in the form of Silage. The best way to keep fresh fodder from decaying and allows it to maintain its nutrient quality. Silage can be utilized during peak summer months when fresh fodder is scarce.
If the availability of pasture is good there is no need to supplement concentrate mixture. But there are instances where a minimal supplement is required for their fast growth and stable health.
Different kind of feed and quantity of feed depends on whom we are feeding. Does, Bucks and kids are fed differently according to their nutrient requirement. For more details read here.
3. Choosing the Right Goat breed for your purpose
Choosing the right Goat breed for your purpose matters. Most of you are looking for a Commercial Goat farm. The Purpose behind the Goat Farming business matters. Few Goats are goat meat produces, few goats are good at milk production, few are used as pets and few are used for their fiber(wool).
Best for Meat and Milk production: Jamnapari breed (Jamunapari breed)
Jamnapari is a famous Indian breed which has got its name from the river Yamuna(Jamuna – Bengal). The Jamnapari bucks(males) can weigh up to 120 kg, while does (females) can reach around 90 kg. Meat is low on cholesterol, it has high demand in the market. The average lactation(milk) yield is around 2 liters per day. Triplets and quadruplets are common. The average age of the first conception is 18 months.
Best for Meat production: Boer, Black Bengal and Tellicherry goats (Talacherry)
Boer Goat is noted for being docile, fast-growing, and having high fertility rates. the primary market for slaughter goats is a 22–36 kg (49–79 lb) kids. The kid of a proven fast-growing sire might weigh 36 kg (79 lb) at 90 days. In India, Sires(Buck) have huge demand. So purebred Boer sire is very expensive, but in the longer run, it will increase your profits. Two kids are common in Boer. Usually, three kids for two years. Boer is originated from South Africa.
Black Bengal Goat breed is native to India. Black Bengal goats reach around 12 kg in 12 months. The Black Bengal goats gain sexual maturity at an earlier age than most other breeds. Females also reach puberty at about 6 months of age. Two kids are common in Black Bengal.
Tellicherry goats(Talacherry) are native to India. Twinning/Triple kidding Percentage: 80%. Average weight gain in one year :For Male(Buck) : 28 kg For Female(Doe): 23 kg. Thalachery Goats, when crossed with Boer Bucks, yields 50 % Boer kids. The average weight of 50 % Boer kids in one year will be For Male(Buck): 40 kg or more For Female(Doe): 30 kg or more.
Best for fiber: Changthangi goat, Gaddi goat
Changthangi goat, locally known as Changluk, is a potential breed found in the Changthang area of Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is reared for multiple purposes (mutton, wool, pelt, manure, and dung energy). The average wool production was 1.42 kg. Also called Pashmina goat. Changthangi grows a thick, warm undercoat which is the source of Kashmir Pashmina wool – the world’s finest Cashmere measuring between 12-15 microns in fiber thickness
“Gaddi” also known as “White Himalayan goat” is the predominant goat breed of high altitude, Western temperate Himalayas with its true home track in hills of Himachal Pradesh but distribution extending to adjoining hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttrakhand. The hair is white, lustrous, and long.
Best as a pet: Pygmy goat, Nigerian Dwarf Goat
The pygmy goat is a popular breed of miniature domestic goat. Pygmy goats are quite hardy and can adapt to any climate. The pygmy goat has a friendly personality. Pygmy goats are most commonly kept as pets due to their temperament and size.
The Nigerian Dwarf goat is a miniature goat of West African origin. Nigerian Dwarf goats are small in size and colorful markings. Their small stature means they do not require as much space as larger dairy goat breeds and their gentle and friendly personalities make them good companion pets. They are easy to handle; even small children can be at ease with these little goats.
How to find the age of Goat?
It’s easy to estimate the Goat’s age just by examining the eight teeth in the front of its mouth
- Less than 1 year: All the teeth are small and sharp(only baby teeth present).
- Between 1 and 2 years: The center two teeth are big(permanent teeth) and the rest are small.
- Around 2 years: The center four teeth are big and the rest are small.
- About 2.5 years: The center six teeth are big and the rest are small.
- About 3 years: All eight teeth are big.
- Older than 3 years: The teeth gradually spread and may eventually fall out in old age.
4. Disease management in Goat Farming
Generally, goats are resistant to many diseases. However, when we rear the number of animals in one place and insufficiency of pasture facilities, the intensive system of rearing leads to the spread of many diseases.
This causes reduced production potential and more mortality which in turn causes economic losses to the farmers.
5. Goat Marketing
Producing a goat kid is only the first step in a meat goat operation. The next step is to market or sell the kid.
Goat production is not an industry where an operation is started and buyers come to it. Goat production is like most other agricultural enterprises because producers must be able to find and/or develop their own marketing channels.
The market should be very close to the farm. Usually Goats loose around 1kg due to stress while traveling. So traveling distance should be less.
How many goats do you need to start a goat farm?
Always start small, a minimal of 5 Does and a Buck is ideal. Know your purpose in goat farming. Make a choice of right goat breed based on your purpose. A goat farmer can always plan ahead for fodder and goat house requirements. Goat for farming is a right choice any farmer can make to increase his yearly income.
A ratio of 25:1 (25 Does and 1 Buck) is optimal to consider when you are planning to increase your herd. 10 goats are ideal to raise on one acre of land. Always rotate the Bucks among the Does after each kidding, for healthy kids. Whether they are dairy goats or meat goats, all they require is proper shelter and fodder.
Dairy goat farming is picking up in recent years, as the demand for dairy products like goat cheese, goat milk are in high demand. Goat farmers are constantly evolving based on the market situation. Goat cheese is highly sought out in most of the upscale bakeries. On the other hand, the immigrant families are looking for meat goats as a chicken alternative. A notion that goat meat is not raised on antibiotics.
How much money do goat farmers make?
Goat farmers majorly make money on meat, the next thing in demand is milk and cheese. The meat quantity produced by male goat farmers is different from female goat farmers. Female goat farmers have an extra advantage as they produce kids. Three kidding cycle can be expected from each Doe for every two years.
On average, the goat farmer sells goat meat at $20 a pound. According to report from Australia, the female goat farmer make around $66,000 and a male goat farmer makes $44,000 per year.
What are the Advantages of Goat Farming? Why should I start Goat Farming?
- The low initial investment needed for Goat farming.
- Due to small body size and docile nature, housing requirements and manage mental problems with goats are less.
- Goat farming can be a profitable occupation for a farmer and can fit well into mixed farming.
- Goats are friendly animals and enjoy being with the Human being.
- Goats are prolific breeders and achieve sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months gestation period in goats is short and at the age of 15-16 months, it starts giving milk. Twinning is very common and triplets and quadruplets are rare.
- The goat is a multi-purpose animal producing meat, milk, hide, fiber, and manure.
- In drought-prone areas risk of goat farming is very much less as compared to other livestock species.
- Unlike large animals in commercial farm conditions, both male and female goats have equal value.
- Goats are ideal for mixed species grazing. The animal can thrive well on a wide variety of thorny bushes, weeds, crop residues, agricultural by-products unsuitable for human consumption.
- Under proper management, goats can improve and maintain grazing land and reduce bush encroachment (biological control) without causing harm to the environment.
- Goats are more tolerant to hot climate than other farm animals.
- Goats give more production per unit of investment.
- No religious taboo against goat slaughter and meat consumption prevalent in the country.
- Slaughter and dressing operation and meat disposal can be carried without many environmental problems.
- The goat meat is leaner (low cholesterol) and relatively good for people who prefer low energy diet especially in summer and sometimes goat meat is preferred over mutton because of its “chewability.”
- Goat milk is used as ayurvedic medicine for personas ailing with asthma, cough, diabetes, etc.
- Goat hide is used for the manufacture of leather products including goatskin gloves.
- Goat milk is easy to digest than cow milk because of small fat globules and is Naturally homogenized. Goat milk is said to play a role in improving appetite and digestive efficiency. Goat milk is also nonallergic as compared to cow milk and it has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and can be used for treating urogenital diseases of fungal origin.
- Goats are 2.5 times more economical than sheep on free-range grazing under semi-arid conditions.
- Goat creates employment to the rural poor besides effectively utilizing unpaid Family labor. There is ample scope for establishing cottage industries based on Goat meat and milk products and value addition to skin and fiber.
- Goat manure is a rich fertilizer for your fields. An average goat produces over a ton of manure every year.
- Goat is termed as a walking refrigerator for the storage of milk and can be milked a number of times in a day.
- Disease management, Shed management and feed – agritech.tnau.ac.in
Hello, I am Siddartha Reddy . A fulltime farmer and blogger who love to share all his farming experiences. Also, a strong supporter of sustainable farming practices. Thanks for visiting our site, let’s make this world a better place to live. Say No to Chemicals and plastics.