Goats are small ruminants and have relatively small body size. They are disseminated all over the world because they have great adaptability to varying environmental conditions.
Mainly there are 5 classes of goat breeds according to their involvement.
Saanen goat, Nubian goat, Jamnapari goat, Beetal goat, Barbari goat, Black Bengal goat, Teddy goat, Katjang goat normally farms rural settings. They do not require specialized housing or feedstuff.
You have to consider some special things before buying goats for your farm.
First, you have to decide what does your purpose? Whether you want to raise them for meat, milk, or any other purposes. Some breeds are specific for particular purposes. Saanen and Nubian are mainly considered as dairy goat breeds. Jamnapari, Beetal, Barbari Bengal goats are primarily used for meat purposes. According to your requirement, you can choose breeds and buy them.
Also, you have to consider their body condition before buying. The animal should be with a balanced body condition and good health condition without diseases.
Feed Resources of Goats in Rural Setting.
Goats are mainly herbivores, and they are selective feeders. They can depend on several feed resources like natural pasture, crop residue, crop aftermath non-conventional feed, and hay. Natural pasture consists of all grasses, some legumes. Small trees and shrubs also a good source of feed for goat during the dry season. You have to look carefully at their special body conditions. Pregnant and milking goats need additional nutrients from goat concentrates.
Feeding Management For Smaller Kids in Rural Setting.
Offsprings are fed with milk for 2 to 3 times a day. After two weeks, farmers can give soft grass for them. But in the meantime, the farmer has to give milk to kids from its mother with the soft grass because little kids cannot quickly change their diet directly to the grass. Then step by step, farmers can reduce milk and increase the grass amount. Offsprings must be weaned from its’ mother after 10 to 12 weeks.
Water Sources and watering
Under rural settings, farmers use river water, spring water, and ponds as their primary water sources. Usually, newly born kids are separated from adults and watered at home. In the wet season, farmers allowed goat herd to drink water freely, and in the dry season, allowed to drink water once per day.
Kids and adults are isolated separately and mixed only during the morning and evening hours.
There are 2 major types of housing.
- Open Housing.
- Confinement Housing.
The goat house floor should be covered with a thick layer of bedding, straw, or waste hay. Keep bedding clean and dry. Replacing new layers on the top and removing all of the bedding if needed.
Breeding/Mating in the Rural Area Goat Management.
The predominant breeding method is uncontrolled mating within the household flocks. All ages of goats (Male and Female) are kept in the same herd except newborn kids. Therefore bucks (Male goat) and does (Female goats) mate throughout the year. There is no special mating season, and there is entering of new kids into the flock throughout the year.
Pasteurellosis, Contagious Caprine Pleuro Pneumonia (CCPP), Sheep fox, Lungworm infection (Muellerius capillaris, Protostrongylus rufescens), Footrot, Diarrhoea are the common diseases in rural goat farming. The farmer tries to get help from government veterinary clinics, and most of the time used traditional medicine to control the diseases.
Now let’s see what the common benefits of goat farming are.
Goats give more production per unit of investment. Comparatively, goats can be reared with a lesser amount of feeds than swine and chicken.
Goat milk is a calcium-rich source. It can use as a calcium-rich milk supplement. Farmers or manufactures can produce milk by-products like cheese and yogurts. Goat cheese and yogurts are expensive. Also, meat breeds are raised to get meat. Goat meat contains balanced nutrition. In rural areas, farmers use meat to fulfil meat their requirements for their families. So these dairy products and meat products help to increase the economy in rural areas.
The goats are great browsers. So they are used to clear the lands. Also, goatskin leather is firm and durable. Skin is used to make several products like goatskin gloves, rugs, carpets.
Challenges in Promoting Goat Production in Rural Areas.
The huge challenge is the water and the feed. Farmers need to find suitable water sources for goats. If there aren’t suitable sources for them, the farmer has to bring water to the cages. This problem is also the same for the feed. Free grassing around the damp areas is very dangerous. Many parasites like liver flukes, rumen flukes, blood flukes like Trematodes, and Haemonchus contortus like Nematodes in the grass and inside of some transport hosts in these areas like aquatic snails. If the grassing goats get to ingest the infectious grass or snail, the goat may end up with severe conditions. Therefore the farmer has to look carefully at their grassing areas. If there is no suitable area for the free grassing farmer has to perform a cut and fed system.
Also, there are many predators in rural areas like leopards, foxes. The farmer has to focus on this and make a secure cage for them.
Regular vaccination is also very valuable to maintain good health condition in the herd.