Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya
Dairy goat farming in Kenya is emerging as a high-return option for Kenyan small-scale farmers, although it remains hobbled in some regions by marketing and distribution challenges, even as the sector soars in other nearby regions.
Promotion of Dairy goats in Kenya started way back in the 1950’s by white settlers but it was not until 1980’s that Germany sponsored an integrated small livestock project that scaled the activities around Mt. Kenya. As the project winded up in the year 1993, farmers came together through registered groups and formed the Dairy Goats Association of Kenya (DGAK) for sustainability of dairy goat projects. The project targeted small scale farmers with little sizes of land that could not sustain large stock and since then DGAK has spread over the country including western Kenya.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Ease of Dairy Goat Rearing
It is one of the easiest types of dairy farming and therefore good for farmers in the urban and peri-urban areas. Goats do not require one to own a big land to rear them and they are less expensive to buy as compared to cattle.The goat’s prices depend on the age, type and gender.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya -Types of Dairy Goats Reared
The common breeds of dairy goats reared in Kenya include:- Toggenburg, Boer, Saanen, British Alpine, German Alpine, Anglo Nubian, Angora, Oberhauzen.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Feeding
All goats require is good health for better yields.Ensure you are feeding sufficient forage and supplements for high level of milk production. Provide roughages such as Napier grass and supplements. Napier grass should be chopped into approximately 3-cm-long pieces. Energy supplements include molasses, cereals or milling by-products (bran, pollard). Protein supplements include cotton seed cake, Calliandra leaves, Leucaena leaves, sweet potato vines, Desmodium, fishmeal and dairy meal.
A simple supplement can be made at home. For every 6 scoops of whole cereal grains, add half a scoop of fishmeal or any of the following: cotton seed cake, Calliandra leaves, Leucaena leaves, sweet potato vines or Desmodium. Finally add a tablespoonful of mineral mixture. Mix well before feeding.
Increase supplement by ½ kg per day during the last month of pregnancy. When in milk, allow ½ kg of supplement for every 3 litres of milk produced.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Housing
Good housing keeps the goats healthy. It should have a raised floor to keep the goats dry and the roof not leaking. The feeding troughs should be easy to clean.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Parasites and Diseases
Worms:- Worms are the most common parasites on dairy goats. The symptoms of worms are worm eggs or even worms in the goat’s stool, poor health and low milk production, and a poor coat. Control:- De-worming.
Ticks, mites, Lice and fleas:- It is important to ensure that the goats are free from ticks,mites,lice and fleas. Goats rubbing themselves on structures or loosing their hair is an indicator, spray the goats using an acaricide.
Pneumonia:- This is the most common disease in dairy goats. Pneumonia is characterized by sneezing, coughing, heavy breathing and the goat tends to isolate itself from others.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Breeding of dairy goats
During breeding, identify a good breeding male goat which has no deformities, with two well-developed testicles, strong feet and legs, good body condition and high libido. Libido is observed by the ability of the male to vigorously detect and mate with females on heat. These qualities will ensure successful mating.
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One male is needed for every 25 females. This male can be communally owned provided sexually transmitted diseases and other communicable diseases such as brucellosis are controlled.
Mate females two months after kidding. Introduce a male and leave it with the female goats for 2 to 3 weeks. If possible mate all your female goats at the same time to ensure kids are born at the same time and therefore ease management.
Breed females when in good body condition. Select those with a soft udder, two functional teats and strong teeth and legs. Manage reproduction in goats ensuring that first mating should be about 16 months of age because breeding too early can result in weak kids and stunted females.
On average birth occurs 150 days after mating. Watch your goat closely one week before kidding in case of any problems.
Replace breeding animals at 9 years of age or earlier if they fail to become pregnant. Organize for a periodic male exchange program to prevent inbreeding.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Rearing the kids
Ensure the newborn kid suckles immediately after birth. The goat’s first milk helps protect the kid from diseases, gets its digestive system working and is especially nutritious. Disinfect the umbilical cord immediately after birth with iodine solution or diluted disinfectant to avoid infection. House both mother and kid in a dry, well-ventilated and secure house.
Allow half to one litre of milk per day for the kid, depending on size. Wean at 3 months.
Introduce kids to roughage (chopped Napier grass, maize stover) by the second week and supplements (0.25 kg per day) by the fourth week.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Vaccination
Vaccinate goats against the highly contagious disease goat pneumonia (CCPP), pregnant females against pulpy kidney and tetanus 2 to 3 weeks before kidding and vaccinate kids at 6 months of age. Vaccinate against orf (scabby mouth disease) at 2 months of age. Orf can affect goat handlers therefore wear protective clothing, such as overalls, when handling your goats and wash your hands well with soap and water afterwards.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Marketing goat milk
Local markets are readily available for goat’s milk. Obtain market information on demand for goat’s milk or create demand by telling people about benefits of goat’s milk. Try local hospitals, children’s homes and individual households. You can make added-value products such as cheese, maziwa mala or yoghurt.
You can also sell goats for profits which are currently very marketable and high in demand.
Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya – Benefits of Goat Milk
- Goats’ milk is considered more easily digestible.
- The fat globules in goat milk are smaller than those in the cow’s milk.
- The calcium content in goat milk are higher and iron contents lower.
- The goat’s milk is also richer in most vitamins than a cow’s milk.