Backgrounder: Raising goats

| November 5, 2018

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One of this week’s Farmer stories is about the impact of a disease called peste des petits ruminants on goats. Our Script of the week is a backgrounder on raising goats.

The backgrounder covers much of the basic information farmers who want to raise goats should know, including:
• The right age and weight for young goats to begin mating, and the best season to mate.
• The best breeding methods.
• Symptoms of common goat diseases and infections.
• How to care for a pregnant goat, and for kids and mothers after birth.
• The amount of feed and water needed per day by nursing goats and other goats.
• How to economically feed goats to maximize income and profit from marketing.

Did you know?
• Goats are natural browsers. The number one feeding strategy is to ensure access to sufficient browse.
• Goats do not perform well if fed indoors.
• Goats should be fed three times daily at fixed times, with water always available.
• Kid mortality is generally very high. Goat keepers need to exercise care with newborns.
• Unhealthy goats should be separated from healthy ones.
• Goats should mate when there is plenty of protein-rich feed.
• After birth, kids should suckle the colostrum (after-birth milk) for 20 to 30 minutes.
• Milk smells bad when goats are fed on scented feed like silage or pineapple before milking, or if females are housed in the same pen as a he-goat.