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Goat Production Technologies

By goGreen | January 3, 2012
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Goat Raising Introduction

The optimum potential of goat as one the main sources of milk and meat has not been fully tapped in the Philippines. The goat is popularly known as the poor man’s cow because children and old folks who cannot afford cow’s milk prefer drinking goat’s milk. Aside from being cheap, goat’s milk is more digestible compared to cow’s milk.

The goat is a clean animal and its male odor is only present during the breeding season. Female goat does not smell. Contrary to myth, goats do not eat trash. They do, however, lick the labels of tin cans to taste glue on the label’s back.

Goat raising is undertaken commonly by small farmers or backyard raisers. A farmer raises an average of one to two head goats. Only a handful of commercial-scale goat farms can be found in the country.

As of 2000, goat population is estimated to be 3,125,556 compared to the 1995 population of 2,981,900 that shows an average annual increase 2.57 percent.

In a study conducted by a government agency, it was found out that goats are multi-purpose ruminants producing 58.4% milk, 35.6% meat, 4.3% hide, and 1.7% fiber. According to them, these small ruminants can provide the answer to improve nutritional requirements of the predominantly rural farm families scattered all over the archipelago.

 

Kinds of Goat

Anglo Nubian

Basically a tropical breed that was successfully adapted in the western countries. Its distinguishing features include drooping and pendulous ears, and a brown hair or a combination of brown and black. It has a long body that usually weighs 70-90 kilograms at mature age.

Boer

A meat type breed with distinct white body color and usually black or reddish brown from rear legs to the head. The goat weighs an average of 90 kilograms at mature age.

Saanen

Originated from Switzerland, is a pure white to off-white in color. It holds the distinction as the highest milk producer (1.8 liters daily), and weighs an average of 70 kilograms.

Toggenburg

Also from Switzerland, have distinct white markings on the face, legs and tail and an erect ears like the Saanen. Milk production averages 1.5 liters daily.

Alpine

Also of European breed has a color that ranges from off-white to red, to black. An alert breed of medium to large size, it weighs 70 kilograms at mature age. It posses upright ears and straight face, the breed produces 1.5 liters of milk daily.

Native

The breed are small, stocky and low-set. Colors range from red, white or black or a combination of these colors. Milk production is just enough for its kids. It weighs 20 to 30 kilograms at mature age.

Goat Housing

Whether on range or confined feeding, housing provisions are necessary. A goat house or shed must be built to provide shelter. Goats are afraid of rain and wetness as these make them prone to pneumonia. They also prefer sleeping in elevated flat forms like a stair type arrangement. It must be well ventilated and drained and easy to clean. Feeding racks (silage, water, mineral and concentrate) should be accessible to both animals and caretaker, preferably in the front of the aisle. Flooring should be provided and elevated at least 15 degrees to facilitate cleaning and drainage.

Separate pens should be provided for lactating and dry does, kids, growers and bucks. The buck pen should be visible to breeding does yet far enough to avoid transfer of the typical goat smell especially to lactating does when milk is to be sold.

Flooring (sq.m.)Feeding (linear cm)
Does/Bucks/Adults0.75 – 1.505.24 – 25.40
Growing0.50 – 0.7510.16 – 15.24
Kids0-20 – 0.507.62 – 12.70

A fenced loafing area beside the goat house must be provided (100 to 150 sqm/250 head), complete with feeding racks and water troughs to allow animals to loaf freely. Flooring of the area must be cemented to facilitate drying. Cogon and nipa as roof materials are preferred in hot and humid areas.

Ventilation is of outmost importance. Majority of pneumonia cases can be traced to excessively warm and humid interior and sudden changes in temperature. Allow a 0.5 to 1 feet clearance between floor to wall and wall to beam to create an adequate circulation and to lower draft. It is desirable to maintain an interior temperature of 28 to 30°C. It has been established that above 30°C ruminants are inhibited from eating.

Lighting may also be provided in the barns during the night. Goats consume up to 30% of the day’s intake during the night when light is provided.

Fencing

Nine-eye hog wire is the cheapest and most effective fencing available locally. Posts must be staked every 2 meters. Goats are fond of pounding their feet and scraping their bodies on the fences so it must be sturdily built. Barbwire fencing requires a minimum of four strands so it becomes more costly besides making goats prone to wounds.

Selection and Mating

Does Selection Criteria

• Does should be purchased from a locality or area with similar climatic conditions;
• Native or graded does should not be less than 25 kilograms;
• Udder should be palpated for size, detection of lumps and other abnormalities;
• Teats should be uniform at length and large enough for easy milking;
• It must have a good appetite, possessing alert eyes and well formed pupils; and
• Do not buy breeders from markets.

Bucks Selection Criteria

• One year old breeder or buck that have successfully mated once is desirable;
• Acquired buck should be accompanied by pedigree records;
• It must have a good producing line based from farm records;
• Muck must come from doe with high twinning rate;
• Buck must be active and ready to breed in-heat doe; and
• Replace buck, preferably, every three (3) years.

 

Breeding

Does reach puberty from 4 to 18 months. Best breeding age will be 10 to 12 months, depending on desired weight. Limit yearling buck services to 25 doe services/year. Older bucks can cover up to 75/year. Buck to doe ratio is 1:25.

Breeding – Reproductive Characteristics of Goats

Age of puberty4-8 months
Cycle of typePolyestrus
Cycle length18-21 days
Duration of heat2-3 days (secondary heat: 8-12 days after)
Gestation period150 (+/-) 5 days
Best breeding timeDaily during estrus

Breeding – signs of Heat or Estrus

• Mucus discharge from the vulva, causing matting of tail hair.
• Uneasiness, constant urination, lack of appetite and bleating.
• Seeks out or stays near the buck and lets herself be mounted.

When breeding, always introduce the doe to the buck, not to the doe herd particularly when bucks have not been used for a long time. It will be dangerous to mix the buck with an herd of pregnant does for they will breed indiscriminately. Two or four breedings during the heat period will suffice.

It is highly impractical if not economical to raise pure breed goats, unless the main purpose is to sell breeders. The preferred method will be to upgrade local native or grade does with pure bucks. Crossbreeds usually perform better than pure ones under local conditions. Infusion of two or more bloodlines into the native doe will elicit a better product due to hybrid vigor. Three-way crosses between the native, any of three Occidental breeds and the Nubian has produced a greatly superior animal than any of the three under our conditions.

Higher milk production should be the main consideration for it will not only mean bigger kid but also more milk for human consumption. A maximum infusion of 75% foreign bloodline must be observed to retain the natural resistance of the native. Never practice inbreeding unless fully knowledgeable in breeding techniques. On the other hand, intensive culling especially in milking herds, will largely be beneficial.

Dystocia is very common in crossing natives with large pure breeds due to the invariably large size of the unborn kids. Crossbreed birthweights of up to four (4) kilos for multiple births and up to six (6) kilos for single births have been observed while native birthweights reach only 2 to 4 kilos for multiple and single births, respectively. Thus, in crossbreeding, large native does with a minimum weight of 25 kilos or more and those that have given birth at least once, should be used. Providing human assistance during birth will also be of help in saving kids, but this should be done only when necessary.

Anestrus or failure to come in heat, is a common problem most particularly with high-producing does. Vitamin, mineral and other nutrient deficiencies, infections of the genital tract and hormone deficiencies are some of the various and implants and pregnant mare serum (PMS have been used with varying rates of success.

Routine administration of oxytocin right after kidding and before weaning (5 days) aids in faster expulsion of the placenta, uterine fluids and in the rapid regression of the uterus. Routine Vitamin A, D and E injections to breeding herds also contribute to reproductive well being.

Fifty percent of breeding problems can be traced to the buck used. Routine check up of the bucks’ health condition, especially of the genito-urinary tract, should be done. Preputial scraping, blood tests and sperm motility tests are some very useful procedures to follow in successful buck management. Always consult a trained veterinarian to do these tests.

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