Stephen Nsubuga Bunjo, a dairy goat farmer based in Kawaala village in Mukonom says optimum growth, good health and high milk production are the results of sound feeding practices.
Young goats need to be fed to get enough energy for growth, while mature animals should also be fed well to maintain a fairly constant body weight. Provide enough protein, minerals and vitamins in a balanced feeding programe to maintain healthy animals. This gives a stable milk production and productivity during gestation and lactation for foetus development.
Nsubuga feeds his goats on rice hay, a special diet purposely meant to increase milk production now that there is a growing demand.
He collects 20 litres from 25 lactating goats out of a of a total of 190 goats. His target is to collect 100 litres a day within the next few months.
Nsubuga says his biggest challenge at the moment is limited packaging material for the milk. When we visited his farm, he was waiting for the bottles for packaging.
We cannot start milking before we get the bottles, Nsubuga adds.
Another challenge he has to live with is unskilled labour on the farm. I do the mixing of the feeds myself. It is here that I can tell what is lacking, how the goats are responding, whether I should increase the amount or reduce, which some workers may not do.
Other challenges include disease outbreaks and theft.
Before starting business
First, you should start with local goats then introduce a milk Seneen goat or crossbreed, which must be sheltered in a clean, raised and well ventilated shelter.
Proper sheltering of goats prevents overcrowding, saves the kids from being crushed by the older goats and controls the spread of diseases.
Setting up a shed for goats costs between sh200,000 and sh300,000.
On buying goats, Nsubuga says, immediately identify the goat that can supply the milk. Goats with cross-bowed legs will not give you milk but goats with x-bowed hind legs will give more milk as there is enough space for the udder to grow.
He advises farmers to buy milk goats from genuine goat breeders. A farmer needs only one well fed buck to service about 100 does (females).
Nsubuga does not encourage anyone to go commercial before learning and understanding how to handle goats.
You should also never mix new goats with the rest of the herd. Put them together after the new goats have been examined by a veterinary doctor. This controls the importation of diseases such as worms and eye infections that are common among goats.
Advantages of goat milk
– It is naturally homogenised (cow’s milk is chemically homogenised which sometimes makes it unhealthy).
– Goat milk has got more calcium and phosphate, which is good for bones and blood production.
– It contains more tryptophan, an acid that gives the consumer a feeling of calm, relaxation and sleepiness.
– It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids with low fat content.
There are six types of dairy goats which include;
-Nubians; have very long, floppy ears and they can be any colour. Their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat than other breeds.
– LaManchas; they are calmer and more gentle than other breeds.
– Alpines; are a medium-large breed and popular with dairies due to the amount of milk they produce.
– Oberhaslis; have a black dorsal strip, udder, belly and are black below the knees.
– Toggenburgs; have the smallest height requirements of all the breeds. They grow a shaggier coat than other dairy goat breeds.
– Saanens; they usually have a large udder capacity and are popular with dairies due to the quantity of milk they produce.