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Goats: Selecting Cross-breeding Options

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There are several issues that farmers must consider before selecting breeding varieties. These include whether they are breeding for meat or milk. Whereas all goats can produce meat, not all of them can produce milk.

For milk goats, farmers should use the toggenberg and saneen breeds. If one is breeding for meat, Mubende crossed with boers or savanna is good. This is because both of these are big, hence producing off springs that carry these traits.

Avoid mating related animals because this reduces productivity and increases incidence of disease.

The signs of inbreeding include reduction in fertility, poor growth and stunted offspring, low survival rate of off springs and appearance of physical deformities.

Inbreeding can be avoided by frequently replacing breeding males and castrating all males related to current female stock that are not required for breeding.

Goats multiply fast. For high twiners such as the savanna and boer goats, you can have at least five out of each female every after two years. This means that if you have two females, they will give at least 10 kids after two years. By the end of the second year, their first offsprings should also be delivering and depending on the number of females, you can easily have multiplied your herd to at least 30 in two years.

Do not buy goats for breeding from open markets. Get them from a farm with proven kidding history and management records.

How to take care of goats

According to experts, in Uganda, goats are mainly raised under two systems. These include the low input intensive system that is based on free grazing. On most ranches, goats are reared with cattle on the same available foliage, for example, napier and bracharia.

Goats feed on many leaves and plants that other livestock do not. Such include mutuba and acacia leaves. Goats should be provided with housing to protect them when they return from grazing. In free ranging, one stocks 20 goats per acre of land.

  • Shelters must have adequate ventilation. It can be constructed using either bricks or timber and wood with iron sheets.
  • The sides from which rain comes must be covered using either bricks or timber because goats hate wet and damp environments.
  • The shelter must be located in a dry area and cleared of dung daily. This means that locate it on the driest part of the farm.
  • It should not be crowded, with kids given a separate shelter so that they are not bullied by older goats. Older goats commonly attack kids and stop them from feeding.
  • If the goats are permanently inside, make sure that feeding racks are provided. They must be placed in such way that they cannot be knocked over.

Goat health

Goats are attacked by an array of diseases, some of which are common in Uganda. Kids are attacked by diarrhoea and this can be stopped using anti-biotics. Coccidiosis is also common among kids. It causes stress, weaknesses and fever.

Infected kids refuse to eat. It is treated using sulfonamide, amprolium and monensin, which are mixed with drinking water.

Caprine pneumonia is another dangerous disease for goats. This manifests with weakness, nasal discharge and fever. It kills goats in two to three days if not treated. It can be treated using anti-biotics with the assistance of a veterinary officer. Other diseases are foot rot, rift valley fever and tuberculosis.

To prevent disease outbreaks, keep the goat house clean. Give them clean water and grass. Spray the goats with acaricides to kill ticks. This can be done once every month.

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