A goat is a ruminant animal whose scientific name is Capra Hircus a member of the Bovidae family mainly reared for meat, milk, hides and skins. A female goat is called a Doe or Nanny, the male is a Buck or Billy while young goats are referred to as kids.
An adult well looked after male weighs 25- 35kg and a female weighs 22kg.
Goats play an extremely strong role in the economy of especially the drier areas. They serve as banks when cash money is quickly needed.
They are also used as gifts to strengthen relationships and as sacrificial animals. They provide milk and meat which are of high grade. They are are known to be tougher than cattle and less costly.
- It should be noted that goat’s milk is easier to digest for humans than cow’s milk.
- Goat’s milk contains vitamin D, A1, B6, B12 and folic acid
- Goat meat contains fats, proteins, high values of iron, potassium and thiamine associated with low sodium level, all amino acids and calories.
- Goat’s meat is generally of high quality because it has less fat than say, sheep meat.
To select a good site for rearing goats, the following should be considered.
- Goats should be located on a raised dry ground closer home for easy monitoring, but at a good distance away from the main house.
- Avoid constructing goats’ pens very close to homes and plantations to avoid losses.
- The houses need to be protected from strong winds.
- The place must not be water logged
General guide lines
• Keep the goats houses clean all the time
• Provide enough ventilation to allow easy flow of air
• Separate goats according to sex and age. E.g. Males should be kept away from females
• Goats kept in house will need an area of space 1.5m – 2.25 square metre of floor space
• If 2 goats are kept in the same house, they need a space of 3m x 1.5m.
• Goats houses should be cleaned atleasr twice a day
TYPES OF HOUSES
It is recommended to use a raised house incase of big numbers of goats. In case it is used, it is built 7 feet away from the ground.
Advantages of raised houses
• Collection of wastes is easy
• It is easy to clean
• It accommodates more animals
• Easy to supervise eating habits
• Easy to detect sick animals
• Movement is limited and this helps to minimize parasites e.g. ticks, warms
• Destruction of other people’s crops is avoided
This system is mainly used by holders of small land with a few goats. Here goats are tied up in a shrub, tree or pegs. This is good for very small scale farmers.
• Since animals are tied, there is less destruction of people’s crops which results into losses and quarrels.
• It allows the animals to be tied any where as long as pastures exist
• Grazing is limited and animals are usually under fed
• Goats are rarely given water
• Wild animals and snakes may attack them
• Tethered goats go round and round in circles and crush the grass damaging the pasture
• Tethered goats have to be moved almost daily to find new pasture.
• It is more labour intensive than pure grazing.
This is an intensive system and Goats are permanently housed and feeds are provided. It is a system mainly practiced by diary goat farmers in highland areas like Kabale and Mbale where land area can be as low as 1 acre or less per household. The fodder can be grown on the farm or collected from communal areas.
• Goats are protected from harsh environment e.g. sunshine, rain and predators.
• The system allows farmers to do other activities at home since the goats are confined.
• Breeding is easily realized because supervision is easy.
Female goats mature sexually at 7months and males at 12 months. It is not advisable to let the goat give birth at a very late age as it may end up producing poor quality animals.
The speed of growth depends on the care given to them
QUALITIES OF A GOOD MALE
• It should be heavy (a mature one should weigh up to 35 kg)
• Have long legs
• A deep and wide chest
• Well placed and well developed sexual organs
• Short horns
• Should be able to produce more than one goat at a go
SIGNS OF HEAT
- Raised tail and shaking of the tail especially when you touch it on the loins
- Becomes hostile or restless, bleating and jumping on other goats
- Provocative and frequent urination in presence of a he goat
- clear mucous discharge
- Slightly red and swollen vulva
- Loss of appetite
- Chin resting
- Reduction in milk for lactating animals
- Standing near the outlet
The gestation period of a goat is 5months (21 weeks). Two months after giving birth, a goat is ready to conceive again. With in one and a half years, it is capable of producing two times.
CARE FOR THE PREGNANT GOAT
• It should not be mounted
• Protect it from the sun and rain fall
• Provide it with high value feeds
• Provide it with enough drinking water
• Stop milking it 8 weeks before birth
Prepare the place at least two weeks before giving birth. This can be done by adding dry grass to the sleeping area. To prepare for the birth, observe the goat. The vulva and the udder swell.
On the day of birth, the goat is restless, standing and lying down alternately. The udder is very tense and the goat will isolate herself and stand at a distance from other goats, say in the corner of the stall.
A vaginal secretion, hanging like a slimy thread out of the vagina. The goat normally lies down but may also remain standing. The goat keeper must watch it very closely for any assistance. Giving birth generally takes about two hours. When the birth is normal, the first two forelegs come out and the head becomes visible. Just have a clean environment.
- 4 – 5 goats need 1 acre of land with pastures
- Goats kept indoors should be given 4 to 6 kg of grass per day depending on size of the animal.
- It is recommended to allow goats’ access water all the time.
- The young ones (kids) should be allowed to breast feed at least twice a day and then given soft feeds like, maize grain, cotton seed any soy beans.
- Provide fresh clean grasses to adult goats such as elephant grass, Rhodes, star, and guinea grass.
- Give goats 4 times as much clean water in hygienic troughs for drinking as dry feeds .For diary goats, provide 1.3 liters of water per liter of milk produced.
- Feed pregnant animals with enough food, as hunger may lead to eating of newly born animals
- Provide mineral salts e.g. rock or kitchen salt for good bones, teeth, weight gain, appetite and improvement of hair coat. The young ones should be allowed to breast feed at least twice a day and given soft feeds. The feeds should contain the following nutrients: Minerals, vitamins, energy and water. Energy giving foods are from starches or fibre including maize grains, fats and protein foods like cotton seeds and Soya bean.
- The common type of grasses given to goats in Uganda include: Star grass (Cynodon dactylon)-oluchwamba, Rhodes grass, chloris gayana, elephant grass, ebisagazi (bibingo), guinea grass, (mukonzikkonzi), dogs tail,(kakirakambwa) –(obuterante )
- It must be clean to avoid contamination
- It is recommended that goats take four (4) times as much water as dry matter. Provide clean water all the time.
- An ideal water and feed through should be made of material that is easy to clean e.g. plastic or cemented troughs
- For diary goats, provide 1.3 litters of water per litter of milk produced.eg if it produces 3 liters that’s 1.3x3litres of water
- Goats need mineral salts for good bones and teeth; appetite and weight gain and improvement of the hair coat.
- Rock salt, should be provided in the goats’ house and a considerable amount of kitchen salt is recommended
- The pregnant goat shoould receive extra feed such as 0.5 constraints a day for some 3 -4 weeks before kidding. Also should not be fed on concetrates for 4 days after kidding as this will lead to milk fever.
- The goat should be put in a pen one week before kidding
- Always keep the house clean.
- Provide enough ventilation.
- Separate males from females, young from adults.
- While constructing feed and water points in the goats’ house allow a distance of 45cm width per goat.
- Practice maximum hygiene
- Provide animals with a variety of enough feeds and plenty of clean water for drinking.
- Isolate infected animals.
- Practice maximum hygiene.
- Provide the animals with enough food and drinks.
- Manage pastures well. This includes rotational grazing and grass legume mixes in the pasture.
- Carry out periodic health inspection (such as hoof, nose, ear, etc.)
- Be in constant touch with the area veterinary officer incase of emergency.
- Keep proper production records, such as milk production, birth, disease etc.
COMMON DISEASES: PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT
DISEASE 1: FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE (FMD)
Foot and mouth disease also known as hoof and mouth disease is a highly contagious, acute disease in cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and humans.
• Wounds in the mouth and foot.
• Rotting of the hooves.
• Saliva (drooping).
• High fever.
• Failure to eat.
• Drop-in milk production.
• Vaccinate animals on time (every after 6 months).
• Do not move infected animals
• Avoid contact with dung, meat, humans and contaminated equipment like vehicles.
• Crush ripe seeds of endod weed (omuhoko) put it in a clean cloth and apply on the wound for 2-3 days.
• Wash wounds with table salt Solution and apply some on wounds.
• Crush endod (omuhoko) leaves into powder, mix with jelly and rub the affected parts.
DISEASE 2: EAST COAST FEVER (ECF)
East coast fever is a protozoan parasite which is transmitted by brown ear ticks. Animals grazing in bushes + thick grass are at high risk.
Protozoa carried by brown ear ticks.
• Increase in temperatures
• High fever
• Loss of appetite
• Swollen lymph nodes below the ears and in front of the shoulders or the knees.
• Difficult in breathing and the animal coughs in advanced stages
• Saliva dropping
• Tears in the eyes
• Rough coat
• Drop in milk production.
• Failure to move
• Affected calves may stunt even after recovery
• On death froth appear from the nositils/nose
• Get 2 handfuls of tephrosia and crush in 3 liters of water. Spray regularly to control ticks.
• Paddocking animals to avoid
• Keep pasture in grazing fields short
• Clear bushes regularly to control ticks
• Seek advise from an extension worker
• Cut the affected lymph node and apply the sap of enkulukulu Runyankole,nandere Lusoga
• Get finger euphorbia (rukoni) sap and apply on the enlarged lymph nodes.
DISEASE 3: HELMINTHIASIS
Helminthiasis is infestation with one or more intestinal parasitic worms e.g. roundworms, tape worm or hookworms.
• Endo parasites
• Caused by eating contaminated pastures and water.
• Rough coat and standing hair
• Loss of weight
• Loss of appetite
• Saliva dripping
• Tears rolling from eyes
• Itching of the anus
• Rotational grazing
• De worm animals regularly (at least 3 times a year).
• Routine management e.g. cleaning water /feed troughs.
• Avoid mixing herds and grazing in swampy areas.
Get a hand full of asthma weed, add 1 litre of water and boil for 30 minute. Let it cool and give 1 cup two times a day, morning and evening for 3 days to adult animals.
DISEASE 4: ANAPLASMOSIS
Infectious disease caused by protozoa and transmitted mainly by the blue tick.
• High temp above 40C
• Loss of weight
• Constipation (Dry dung)
• Jaundice / John’s disease (enkaka) can be seen when eyelids turn yellow
• Gum and valve turns yellow
• Maintain sanitation in animal houses.
• Clear bushes surrounding the grazing areas.
• Avoid mixing animals from different areas.
DISEASE 5: ANTHRAX
It’s an acute bacterial disease which is dangerous to cattle and human. It’s usually contracted by animals grazing in contaminated areas.
• High fever followed by bowel swelling
• loss of appetite
• At death, blood comes out from anus, mouth and nose.
• Sudden death.
• To prevent, vaccinate livestock and continue once a year
• Quarantine sick animals.
• never open carcass that shows symptoms of anthrax
• Meat from sick animals SHOULD NOT BE EATEN
• Burn + bury the carcass / dead animals.
DISEASE 6: MASTITIS
Mastitis is a bacterial disease in milk producing animals.
• Poor milking
• High fever
• Loss of appetite
• Contaminated milk with pass. Warm breasts
• general body weakness
• Painful body
• Red skin
• Swollen udder
• Hard teats
• Reduced milk
• High temperatures
• Practice hygienic methods of milking.
• Avoid cattle injuries
• Milk at right intervals
• Apply right milking techniques. E.g. squeeze method
• Avoid over milking
• Milk affected cows last
• Get wild onions, mix with small stick broom omubuza (runyankore) / akeyeyo crush and smear on the udder. After 20-30 minutes smear with ash mixed with paraffin drops. Repeat until it heals
• Treat with antibiotics
DISEASE 7: FOOTROT
Foot rot is a disease that attacks animals staying or grazing in wet or muddy areas causing damage to the hooves. Foot rot is caused by bacteria of the fusiformis group and is more common during wet periods especially when animals graze in stagnant mud and water.
• Hooves + animal skin weaken making it easy for bacteria to penetrate due to injury.
• Swelling of the feet
• Reluctant to walk
• Mild fever
• Unclean smell
• Sores in the hooves
• Lameness mild to severe.
• Emits a strong bad smell.
• Animals are reluctant to walk.
• Ensure dry animal kraals / pens
• Proper manure disposal
• Routine trimming off and examination of feet
• Provide goats with foot bath every week. This is done by providing water mixed with a disinfectant like omo.
• Clean hooves with a brush and clean water
• Remove the affected part if rotten
• Isolate the animal
• Squeeze a handful of endod leaves and rub the affected area.
DISEASE 8: PNEUMONIA
It’s an infection of lungs which may be caused by bacteria or virus within dust particles. Stress like poor sanitation, overcrowding and build-up of irritating gases, dust or numerous other un hygienic conditions and microorganisms which cause lung tissue damage.
Bacteria or virus
• Difficulty in breathing
• Bronchioles condition
• High or low temperatures
• Reluctance to move
• The animal is sleepy and dull
• Nasal discharge (mucus out of the nose)
• Loss of appetite
To prevent, eradicate the causes by:
• Stress conditions
• Keep strict hygiene
• Treat early cases with anti biotic
• Provide soft feeds with enough water
• Disinfect the shelter
• Keep the animals in a warm shelter
DISEASE 9: COWDIOSIS / HEART WATER
Cowdriosis (heart water) is a bacterial disease common in cattle and goats spread by ticks.
Protozoa parasite transmitted by ticks
• Excess blood in the animal body causing high fever
• Hardness in breathing
• Crush muluku and mix with water then wash/ smear the animal to control ticks.
• Clear bushes around the grazing area.
Cut the ears in the middle so that the excess blood can ooze out.
DISEASE 10: BLOAT
• Bloat is a live stock stomach disorder resulting from poor eating habits such as feeding on grass with a lot of dew that leads to excess gas in the rumen. It is also common during dry periods when animals are fed on young fresh grass which has too much protein without enough roughage. Over feeding on young and current feeds.
• Feeding goats on cassava peeling or leaves
• Eating anything unsuitable such as wet grass pastures or raiding food bin.
Excess air in the rumen.
• Swelling of the stomach after meals.
• Difficulty in breathing.
• Trying to vomit but failing.
• Swelling of the stomach.
• Collapsing of the animal.
• general depression.
• Avoid early grazing when there is dew.
• Provide enough roughage to the animals
• Avoid over feeding on fresh grass after dry periods
• Provide 300 ml of vegetable cooking oil to drink.
• Mix 500gm of rock salt + 1 liter of water, stir well and give an adult cow 1 liter of the mixture.
• The animal should be walked very fast to reduce the gas
DISEASE 11: TUBERCLOSIS
Tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by bacteria and spread through sharing of feeds and communal grazing of the infected, healthy animals.
• Looses weight.
• Develops high temperatures and may die
• In milk producing animals, milk production is low.
• Always boil milk from cow before drinking to avoid getting TB
• Vaccinate animals to prevent TB
• Quarantine infected animals
• Burn and bury dead animals
DISEASE 13 ACIDOSIS
DISEASE: 14 TRYPANOSOMIASIS
Trypanosomiasis is an infectious disease of domestic like goats transmitted by the tsetse fl
• Loss of appetite
• Anaemia resulting in licking soil and emaciation.
• Swollen lymph nodes
• Running eyes which leads to blindness
• Death may occur after several weeks
• Vaccinate the animals one a year
• Consult a local Agriculture extension worker
• Bush clearing
• spraying and trapping the tsetseflies
COMMON PESTS: PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT
PEST 1: TICKS
A ticks is a small, round, parasitic pest that stick to an area of the host, insert its head under the skin sucking out blood. They are of different types e.g. The blue tick, brown ear tick, ambylomma, red legged tick.
• Cause itching and irritation, blood loss
• May spread east coast fever, heart water and red water diseases.
• Death especially with hybrids.
PREVENTION & CONTROL
• Maintain sanitation in animal houses
• Clear bushes surrounding the grazing areas
• Avoid mixing animals from different areas
• Avoid mixing infected animals with normal ones as this may lead to infection of others
Crush 500 grams of young, dried tephrosia leaves in 10 litres of water and, mix in 200g bar soap to make a spray against them. These help to break the life cycle of the ticks there by preventing more spread.
Dip or spray the animals at least once a week.
PEST 2: LICE
Lice are small, insect like soft bodied parasites that live mainly on the skin or hair of animals and humans sucking out blood. They may be black or white.
• Body itching and irritation.
• Skin rash.
PREVENTION & CONTROL
Keep the grazing areas clean all the time.
• Get a handful of ash, add 2 cups of water, filter and spray the animal.
• Get a handful of tephrosia add a match box size of ash and crush. Smear the animals once a week.
PEST 3: HELMITHIASIS
These include all internal parasites like lung and hook worms.
• Loss of weight.
PREVENTION & CONTROL
• Provide fresh clean feeds.
• Maintain hygiene around the animals.
Get a handful of fresh moringa leaves and mix with other animal feeds to deworm the animals.
PEST 4: TSE- TSE FLIES
A tsetse fly is a wild big fly that feeds on the blood of animals. They cause nagana in animals and sleeping sickness in humans. They are mainly found in bushes and humid areas. They are more active during morning and evening hours.
Very painful fly bites which causes jumping or running of the animal.
PREVENTION & CONTROL
• Clear the bush around grazing areas.
• Avoid grazing in the same area for a long time and clear thick bushes.
• Avoid grazing early morning or very late in the evening.
• Spray with tsetse fly pesticides
• Use tsetse fly traps.
• Seek advice from an extension worker.
GENERAL CONTROL OF DISEASES
• Isolate infected animals.
• Never make sudden feed changes.
• Avoid overcrowding and poor sanitation in intensive production systems which often lead to disease. Overcrowding is stressful to cattle. Also, the close proximity allows contagious diseases to be spread more quickly.
• Control movement of animals.
• Water, feed troughs and beddings should be always clean.
• Practice maximum hygiene.
• Provide the animals with enough food and drinks.
Diary cattle are ready for sale at the 7th calving. For beef producers, the animals are sold or slaughtered at 30 months.
Incase of milking cows, ensure proper milking hours. Milking should be done in the morning and evening hours. Wash hands and udder with warm water before milking.
For consumption: Boil milk in a clean source pan and take while still hot and undiluted or mix it with hot water and tea leaves to make tea. Serve while still hot or mix it with porridge and boil while stirring until it mixes evenly before serving.
Hides are flayed / skinned off the animals when mature. They are cleaned and dried before sale to traders for cultural purposes, crafts making and to the leather factories.
Flaying: This is the removal of the skin. It is best done with a sharp knife and immediately after slaughter of the animal. Where possible the hide should be pulled off instead of cutting off. To avoid contamination, remove the intestines and stomach after flaying.
Care of hides: Wash well in order to remove blood, dung and any other contaminations.
Fleshing is the removal of the remaining fats and meat from the hide. Spread the skin/hide on a clean surface and flesh by scrapping with a sharp curved knife.
Trimming is done to remove rough edges and un wanted parts e.g. the udder and tail borne.
• Air curing: This is done by hanging the hides on the ground under sunshine.
• Salting: Here salt is spread on the skin/hide.
Pests: These include; mice, rats and beetles which mainly cause damage to hide and skins in store.
Control: set traps in the store
Use of organic pesticides e.g. neem dry leaves to repel them out. These are scattered in the store.
These are fed to dogs and used for making plates, cups which are breakable
Legs (Emolokony) consumed for medicinal purposes e.g. hardening ligaments.
URINE AND DUNG
Get 2 cups of Cattle urine, is mix with a handful of crushed neem tree leaves and spray on crops to repel pests.
To keep away pests like mosquitoes, get cow dung, dry and place it on a hot charcoal stove. The smoke repels mosquitoes.
To protect seeds from pest attack, get the seeds and sock them in a paste made out of a mixture of cow dung and water for a day or two before planting.
• Keep records of activities carried out on the farm.
• Get milk for consumption and leave the young to sack from the mother.
• Don’t sale animals which are not in good health.
• Inspection should be done before slaughter.