Goat farming: A remunerative enterprise for rural youth

Dr Mangsatabam Norjit Singh *

Goat is a multi-functional animal and plays a significant role in the economy and nutrition of landless, small and marginal farmers of the country. Goats occupy a unique place among domestic livestock in North Eastern region because of their ability to survive and produce under unfavourable climatic and managemental condition.

Goats possess superior efficiency for transforming feed into milk, meat and capable of selective browsing on undesirable vegetation. Goat is known as poor manís cow, because its milk is wholesome and nourishing.

It is considered especially for infants and aged persons due to easy digestibility. In pastoral and agricultural subsistence societies of India, goats are kept as a source of additional income and as an insurance against disaster. Goat is the principal meat producing animal in India and therefore goat meat i.e. chevon fetches more revenue than mutton and beef.

Prospect of goat farming

Goat farming has several advantages over the husbandry of other livestock species. Initial investment for starting goatary is less as compared to other livestock. Goat consumes less feed which is about one fifth of the consumption in cattle and buffalo. They are prolific animal which usually produces twin and some breeds even produce triple and quadruplet.

Due to small body size and docile nature, housing requirements and managemental problems are less. Goat being hardy animal, they are more disease resistant as compared to other animals like cattle, pigs or poultry. Its milk is rich in certain amino acids i.e. histidine, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, threonine; certain minerals i.e. sodium, iron, copper; certain vitamins i.e., vitamin A, nicotinic acid and choline.

Goat meat (chevon) is more lean (low cholesterol) and relatively good for people who prefer low energy diet. Itís skin is of high values e.g. skin form Bengal goat is of best quality in the world. Besides meat, milk and skin, hair is another by-product obtained from goat, e.g. pashmina and mohair is valued high in international market. Faeces and urine of goat are rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and used in field for improving soil fertility and to increase productivity of crop. There is no religious taboo against goat slaughter and consumption of goat meat.

Available goat breeds in NE Region

Assam Hill, Assam Local goat breeds are found in Assam. Sikkim local breed and Manipuri local goat are available in Sikkim and Manipur respectively. Bengal breed is distributed all most all the States of NE region, particularly in Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur etc. Apart from these local breeds the other pure breeds, crossbred and exotic breeds of goat are also available.

Common managemental practices

Housing Management : One should ensure goat comforts and facilities well as this will help the farmer to get good returns.The main motto of housing is to protect from harsh animals and uneven climates. The shed should be constructed on dry and higher. There should be good drainage facilities in and around the farm. In low lying and heavy rainfall areas, the floor should be preferably elevated and made of wood.

The floor of the shed should not be slippery.There should be good ventilation. There is no restriction on length of the shed, however breadth should not exceed 12 meters and optimum breadth is 8 meters. Height of the shed at ewe should be 2.5 meters and at ridge should be 3.5 meters. Always avoid over stocking or overcrowding.

Floor space requirements

Age groups covered space (sq.m) Open space (sq.m)
Up to 3 months 0.2-0.25 0.4-0.5
3 months to 6 months 0.5-0.75 1.0-1.5
6 months to 12 months 0.75-1.0 1.5-2.0
Adult animal 1.5 3.0
Male, Pregnant or lactating ewe/ doe 1.5-2.0 3.0- 4.0

Feeding management

Immediately after the birth, feed the young ones with colostrum @ 100 ml per kg live weight. After 3 days and up to weaning, feed the kids with milk 2-3 times a day.Green leguminous fodders should be offered adlib to kids from 15 days onwards.The general quantity of creep feed to be given to the kids is 50-100 gm/animal/day from one month of age and up to 2-3 months of age. Antibiotics like oxytetracycline or chlortetracycline may be mixed at the rate of 15 to 25 mg/kg of feed.

In poor grazing condition, adult animals may be supplemented with concentrate mixture @150-350 g of concentrate/animal/day depending upon the age, pregnancy and lactation. In addition to 4-5 hours of grazing per day, pregnant animals should be fed with concentrate mixture @ 250-350 g/animal/day during last month of pregnancy.

As the lambing time approaches or immediately after lambing, the grain allowance should be reduced but good quality dry roughage should be fed. Bulky and laxative feedstuffs may be included in the ration during the first few days after parturition. Additional concentrates should be given to bucks and does during breeding season.

Breeding management

Oestrous detection of all female goats above 1 year of age should be done with vasectomized buck in morning or evening during breeding season. The normal breeding season is from Sept. to Oct., Feb. to March and May to June. Breeding ewe of indigenous breeds should be of 18-24 months of age depending upon their body condition.

As a guideline, females should be mated only when they reach 70 per cent of average adult body weight. Young males can be put in to experienced older ewes and older rams to younger ewes will help in better mating. The male female ratio can be maintained @ 1:20.The males should be replaced or exchanged once in two years to avoid inbreeding.

The females should possess a long preferably low set body, roomy hind quarter, well-formed pliable udder, active foraging habit and good mothering instinct. Male animals should be in good body condition, masculine, legs should be stronger and free from defects. Efforts should always be made to avoid kidding during the peak winter season which can be practically achieved by a planned breeding.

Health Management of Goats

Preventive medication is necessary in large flocks of goats. Vaccination, dipping, deworming regular screening are some of the routine health management practices which must be performed to keep flock healthy and viable.

Common Diseases of Sheep and Goat

Disease Symptoms Prevention

Anthrax Sudden fever and death. Dark colour bloody discharge from the natural orifice such as nose, anus and vagina. Vaccination once in a year in affected area. Disposal of carcass either by burying or burning. Donít open the carcass as the germ spread through air.

Haemorrhagic Septicemia Fever, dysentery, swelling of lower mandible and death. More occurrence in rainy season. Vaccinate the animal once in a year before onset of rainy season.

Brucellosis Abortion during late pregnancy, infertility, scrotal swelling in male, joint swelling. Disposal of dead foetus and placenta. Use gloves while handling infected items as it affects human beings.

Enterotoxaemia Sudden death in young growing kids. Mucous diarrhoea may also be seen during death. Vaccinate the animals once in a year before the onset of monsoon. Donít feed on young grass.

Mastitis Swelling of udder, change in milk. Clean shed, wash the udder with disinfectant solution.


Peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Fever, ocular and nasal mucous discharge, mouth lesion, respiratory distress. Yearly vaccination. Separation of infected one from healthy animals.

Foot and Mouth Disease Fever, wound lesion in foot and mouth, excess salivary secretion, difficult in walking. First vaccination at 3rd month and then once in 4-6 months interval.

Goat pox fever, ocular and nasal mucous discharge, respiratory distress, pox lesion in unhairy parts such as lips, thigh, udder etc. Yearly vaccination (Optional)

Endo-parasitic diseases

Emaciation, reduced growth, fever, diarrhoea, anaemia, oedema in lower jaw, kid mortality. Control of snails, avoid grazing in early morning and late evening, deforming of animals periodically.

Ecto-parasitic infestation

Hair fall, severe itching, reduced growth, skin allergy and wound. Proper sanitation, periodical dipping with insecticides or acarisides.

Vaccination schedule of goat

Disease Dose Immunity Repetition Age
PPR(Peste Des Petits Ruminant) 1 ml 4 year 4 year Above 3 month
FMD(Foot and Mouth Disease) 2 ml 6 month /1 year 1 year Above 3 month
HS (Hemorrhagic Septicaemia) 2 ml 1 year 1 year Above 3 month
ET (Enterotoxemia) 2 ml 1 year 21 Days (Booster dose) 1 year after Booster Above 2 month
G.POX (Goat pox) 2 ml 1 year 1 year Above 3 month

* Dr Mangsatabam Norjit Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Assistant Professor, Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal.
This article was webcasted on November 05 2021.

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