Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Goat Farming: How To Maximise Yields

by Harvest Money Editor
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Health

Goats are attacked by an array of diseases, some of which are common in Uganda. Kids are attacked by diarrhoea, which can be stopped by the use of antibiotics.

  • Coccidiosis is also common among kids. It is caused by overcrowding and contamination of feeds by dung. It causes stress, weakness, diarrhoea and fever. Infected kids refuse to eat. It is treated using sulfonamide, amprolium and monensin which are mixed with drinking water. Dosage is, however, prescribed by a qualified veterinary practitioner.
  • Caprine pneumonia is another dangerous disease for goats. This manifests through weakness of the goat, nasal discharge, watery dung and fever. It kills goats in two to three days if not treated. It can be treated using antibiotics with the assistance of a veterinary officer. To prevent disease outbreaks, keep the goat house clean by removing droppings and urine every day.
  • Give them clean water and grass
  • Deworm the goats at least once every before the rainy season since goats pick up a lot of worms while grazing. Fenbendazole, Ivermecilin and Levamisole are commonly used in deworming goats.
  • Feeding goats on supplementary forage like lucerne and acacia reduces incidences of worms in goats.
  • Spray them with acaricides to kill ticks.

Management of females (does)

  • Young females mate from the age of eight to 12 months
  • Good nutrition is key because it helps animal to grow faster and ready for mating
  • Good feeding increases fertility and litter size
  • Don’t mate young animals (less than eight months old) because this leads to poor kids.
  • A well-managed female can produce kids for about eight years
  • Pregnancy in goats 145 –150 days (five months).
  • The heat period lasts 24 –26 hours.
  • The presence of the male in the flock triggers heat.

Signs that a goat is on heat

  • Mounting other animals
  • Seeking males
  • Continuous bleating
  • Mucous discharge from the vagina. Provide a male at this point.

When to intervene in the birth process:

  • Mal-presentation or difficulties in kidding, for example, if legs instead of the head come out first.
  • Kid does not bleat or breathe.
  • Cutting the navel and application of iodine to prevent bacterial infections.
  • Iodine application is not necessary if bedding is clean.

Kid Housing

  • Keep the kids at home for about three months
  • Warm and dry conditions. Make the kids’ house raised so that it is not affected by running water.

Feeding kids

  • Kids should suckle the first milk (colostrum) from their mother.
  • Fostering or bottle feeding is recommended at times, at least four times a day with at least half a litre for each feeding session. Ordinary human baby feeding bottles can do.
  • From three weeks of age, kids start nibbling grass and leaves, which is important for the development of the rumen.

Weaning

  • 100 days old on average when the kid weighs eight to 12 kilogrammes live weight. Live weight is the heaviness of an animal when alive.
  • Complete separation of the kids and the does should be done. This means that you create a second or third herd specifically for the weaned kids.
  • Vaccinate the kids

Record keeping

  • This, among others, includes tagging of the ears of the goats. The tag must have a number, which is also recorded in a book. Tagging helps a farmer identify the goats easily when they get lost. It also helps a farmer follow up easily when they are sick.
  • Keep records of birth of each kid to follow its growth and development.
  • Keep records of deaths from the herd so that you follow the causes and trends.
  • Keep records of sales from the herd to know how much money is coming in.
  • Keep records of the vaccination schedule for each goat to know when the next vaccination will take place.

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