Goat farming is one of the most rewarding animal rearing businesses anyone can engage in anywhere in the world. Goat meats are widely accepted and consumed round the globe, while the milk is also gaining in popularity and is being sold in supermarkets across the United States, Europe and Asia and represent the bulk of the liquid milk market.
|A Boer Breed|
Here in Nigeria, goat milk is still not yet widely consumed because farmers are not yet taking advantage of the opportunity. Would you be the farmer to make this happen? The meat is believed to be the best animal meat available anywhere in the market for good reasons. Not only does the meat taste great, it is also lower in fat than chicken but contains higher protein than beef. That makes it better than chicken and beef.
Goat meat has a unique taste that is very difficult to describe but very appealing to the taste bud. There are other products that can be derived from Goat milk such as cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, and butter. Anything that cow milk can offer, goat milk can also offer. These are the reasons goat farming is considered by wise farmers as a very lucrative business and it is increasingly becoming very popular among modern farmers in Nigeria.
Opportunities In Goat Farming All Over The World
In India and Nepal, goat farming is one of the major sources of income for families and bigger farmers are producing larger quantities for export. China, India, and Pakistan are currently the largest producer of goats in the world with the opportunities still great there for any new farmer who would like to tap the gain. Nepal is said to still import about 1.3 million live goats yearly from neighbouring countries such as India, meaning that the opportunity is very much huge in that country for any would-be goat farmer.
Australia is the largest exporter of live goat and goat products in the world, yet they are still not meeting the demand of countries where they export. The opportunities in Australia for new farmers are equally great and increasing rapidly.
In the United Kingdom, almost all supermarkets sell goat meat and other goat products like milk, cheese, butter, and yoghurt. The demand is quite high and farmers there are not meeting those demands in full. There are plenty of money-making opportunities for goat farmers in the UK.
In Nigeria, goat meat is widely consumed locally and forms a major part of the people’s delicacies. The popular goat meat pepper soup is so tasty that people come from far and wide to have a taste of it. Yet, few farmers are into goat rearing in the country. Most of the goats consumed in Nigeria comes from the Niger Republic and the North. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are popular in the southern and eastern parts of the country but only kept for family consumption and sold in the local markets occasionally despite the huge demand. Any serious farmer who would take goat farming to the next level will have serious money to make.
Goat farming is a big and profitable business anywhere in the world. In this article, I will explain how anyone can start goat farming on a small scale and grow to any size he wants within a couple of years in any part of the globe. I want to make this article as comprehensive as possible and as people begin to share their ideas and understanding in the goat-farming business through comments, I hope this will end up becoming a great resource for small-scale goat farmers. Please read and participate by dropping a comment.
The Profit In the Goat Farming Business
First, let’s look at the profit potential in the goat farming business, I want to analyze the profit in a dollar perspective because I am looking at a situation where some Nigerian farmer would take this goat farming to the next level and starts producing large enough to export – even if it is to other African countries.
A fully mature goat weighs about 100 pounds and in many places, goat sale is measured in pounds, with each pound going for $1.5. Therefore, a goat weighing 100 pounds will bring $150 minimum. If you produce just 500 goats yearly and each sold for $150 minimum, you will be making $75,000 per year. Take away $25,000 as the production cost, you will be left with $50,000 (₦8,000,000) from just 500 goats as pure profit. Isn’t that great?
Don’t forget that goats take between 2-3 years to mature, in the profit estimate above, I assumed you have passed through the first three years of establishment. The 500 is a big number but very achievable if you take your farming seriously. In all honesty, 500 goats per annum after three years is a realistic goal for small scale farmers. You can start smaller and expand gradually depending on the resources available.
Now, how do you proceed to start your own goat farming business in an easy and simple way that guarantees profit and sustainability? How do you start off in a cost-effective way that ensures you don’t get your fingers burnt. Below are the things you need to put in place to ensure you get started quick and simple.
How To Setup Your Goat Farm
1. Pasture – Acquire a good grazing ground that grows plenty of grass verities. Goats are relatively clean animals. They eat a wide variety of plants that are nutritious to them. They are foragers of weeds and leaves and could eat different types of plants at different seasons and even days. However, production animals feed on grass, silage, hay and grain just like cattle. Look for where land is cheap and acquire some acres depending on the number of animals you want to keep.
|Diagram of Standard Goat House Design|
Goats need a large expanse of land. They like moving about while eating plants that are not too close to the ground to avoid worm-infested plants. They like keeping enough distance from each other, this way, they reduce contaminating each other. Goats don’t like overcrowded conditions. Ensure you have enough acres of land for your goats to roam about free while grazing and feeding.
How many goats should be kept in an acre? On a good pasture ground, a maximum of 10 goats should be kept in an acre of grazing land, if you intend to keep up to 500 goats, you will need 50 acres of pasturage. Understand that goats multiply very quickly – a pregnancy will always result in the birth of twins. Sometimes they can give birth to a single kid, or a triplet which is very rare.
2. Fencing – Construct a short perimeter fence round your pasture or barbwire fence, I prefer barbed wire to a short perimeter fence for obvious reasons – Barbed wire is more protective and impossible for goats to scare through while keeping the animal safe from predators. “Goats need protection from coyotes, roving dogs, or even cougars & bears if they are kept on pasture. Some producers use protection dogs to keep predators at bay. Special 1.2m fencing may be required to keep goats in. As goats like to go around obstacles, electric fencing is sometimes used. Many producers provide ‘play areas’ with things to climb to amuse them and to prevent damaging behaviour.”
3. Housing – Build a suitable house for your goats. House is required to keep them safe from rain and other climate factors like cold. Goats don’t like bad conditions. They like to stay indoors when it is raining, under a shade when the weather is hot, and outside grazing when the weather is perfect and enjoyable.
Goats also like some measure of privacy when they are indoors, so it is required you build separate houses for a few goats or construct them in a way that it will be spacious enough to give each animal some level of privacy. Goats like lying down and chewing the cord while resting in a quiet condition. Make sure the housing is made comfortable for them. Some experts have even suggested building a dog house for each goat.
4. Species – There is a large number of goat breeds suitable for different purposes of rearing. Some are very good for milk production. Some are good for the meat. Others are preferable for fibre. However, there are species that can combine all that. Some do better in certain areas than others. You need to go for the one that is most popular in your locality. There could be an important reason why farmers prefer certain species in your environment.