Goat farming is, without a doubt, not a new business venture. The question on most peoples’ minds is how profitable is goat farming? Well, the answer is crystal clear. Rearing goats is a profitable business since the time immemorial: In general, rearing goats for the purpose of harvesting meat, milk manure and skin. As it presently stands, goat farming has become a profitable business that requires a low investment because of its multi-functional utility. Commercial goat farming has contributed immensely to the economy of Kenya.
As noted earlier, goats produce a wide variety of products such as manure, fibre, milk, meat etc. Goat milk is used to produce goat butter, goat milk cream, full cream goat powder and most definitely fresh goat milk. Goat meat is quite preferred by most consumers because it is healthy, nutritious and very tasty. Goatskin plays a vital role in most leather industries. Let us highlight some of the advantages of this lucrative business of goat farming in length.
Advantages of goat farming
There are quite a number of advantages of goat farming. For a long time now, goats have been considered as a poor man’s cow because of its immense contribution in the rural economy. Goat products have been a source of regular income for the marginal farmers, the poor and the landless. Some advantages are listed below.
- Goats are small-sized animals, so they are easily maintained.
- Goats are multipurpose animals. They produce milk, meat, milk, manure and fibre at the same time.
- Goat milk and goat meat are cholesterol free.
- Both male and female fetch good prices in the market.
- There is no need for high-end housing of goats. They can easily share their living space with other animals.
- Goats do not require a huge area for housing given their body size is comparatively smaller.
- Goats are clean, friendly in nature and very lovable.
- According to investment per unit, they produce more than other domestic animals. Thus their return of investment is very good.
- Diseases are less in goats as compared to other livestock.
- There are no religious taboos against goat farming or consumption of goat meat.
- They are capable of adapting to all types of agro-climatic conditions or environment. They can easily tolerate high and low temperatures.
- Goats reach slaughter weight and age faster.
- They reach sexual maturity within 8-12 months and give birth within a short time. Some goat breeds produce numerous kids per kidding. This, therefore, makes them good breeders.
- Goats are considered foster mothers of humans. This is because their milk is considered as the best milk for human consumption than other species of livestock animals’ milk. Their milk is nutritious, wholesome and easily digestible.
- Goat farming requires minimal labour.
- Goat products are in high demand. Goat milk is used to make various goat milk products. Goat meat has a high price and is in high demand in both international and local markets.
- Commercial goat farming is a great source of employment.
- Goat manure can be used as a high-quality natural fertilizer in crop farming. This will help to improve crop production.
Steps for starting goat farming business
A goat farming business plan is essential for starting and maintaining a successful and profitable agribusiness. Here are a few steps to start you off:
First is the selection of an appropriate farm area.
Select a suitable farmland that has the required facilities necessary for goat farming business. These may include:
- Fresh and clean water.
- Easily available source of food.
- Available full tie labour.
- Readily available and accessible market.
- Accessible veterinary services.
Second is choosing the goat breed.
There are various goat breeds available and they have different advantages. Here are the most popular dairy goat breeds in Kenya:
There are many meat goat breeds in Kenya. If you are considering rearing goats for meat then look for goats with high productivity and those that produce high-quality meat. The most popular ones are:
- Black Bengal
There are goats that are good at producing a number of kids per kidding. Like Katjang and Black Bengal. There are goats with good quality skins like Maradi.
Proper goat feeding is essential for commercial goat farming business if they are to fetch good prices. If you want the goats to grow fast and gain weight, you will need to feed them properly. They prefer to eat grass, shrubs, weeds and herbs. Other than these, they also need energy supplements, molasses, vitamins fibre and water for proper growth. Roughages like Napier grass (chopped approximately 3cm). Goats can also be fed on milling by-products like bran and cereals. Protein supplements like the dairy meal, fish meal, sweet potato vines and cotton seed cake can come in handy.
Care and management.
Take good care of your goats. Never feed the goats on contaminated food or polluted water. Keep their house clean neat as possible. Regularly disinfect the house. For commercial production, keep kids, bucks and does separate. Keep the kids with their mother for several weeks after birth. Avoid using the same buck for mating with the same bucks on the same day. Vaccinate the goats regularly (vaccination will be covered later on). Stock necessary medicine and vaccines and keep a veterinary doctor on the dial.
Goats are faced by various types of diseases like goat pox, foot and mouth disease, goat pneumonia, tetanus, bacterial diseases and PPR: so proper vaccination is mandatory. Vaccinate the kids against scabby mouth disease at five months. Vaccinate the does 2-3 weeks before kidding to prevent pulpy kidney and tetanus.
Marketing is the most vital but easiest step in goat farming business. Goat products like milk and meat have a huge demand both locally and globally. Due to their popularity, almost all types of people like goat products. Therefore, a wide readily available market is available almost every place in the world. Commercial produces can target global markets and export their products to foreign countries to fetch higher prices. Goat milk can be sold to medical facilities like hospitals, estates and shopping centres. Goat meat is popular at Nyama Choma joints in Kenya where goat meat is grilled.
Essential tips for raising goats
In order to get the desired profitability and production from the goat farming business, you have to properly know how to raise goats. Here are some tips
- Keep the goats healthy and strong.
- Keep the goats disease free by vaccinating them
- Ensure the availability of all the farm equipment required in rearing goats. Like feed storage containers, mineral feeders, food bowls and water buckets.
- Ensure availability of clean water.
- Put together a first aid kit. Accidents and illness occur unexpectedly. A first aid kit will help to combat infections, illness and even bleeding from accidents.
- Fencing their grazing area is essential.
- Control the breeding. Ensure your goats only breed with the desired breed.
In short, goat farming is a riskless, profitable, traditional and manageable business because of its multi-utility and fast growth rate. Goats can also be used by the government as a tool of eradicating poverty and also play a role in economic growth. However, proper care and management can ensure better production and high profit. Wish you all the best.