Goat Farming in India – Breed selection, Housing, and Marketing

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Goat farming in India dates back to many centuries. Farmers in India are well equipped with information about Goat farming. Many farmers in India, do hold at least an average of  5 to 20 goats in their small piece of land.

The most sustainable farming practice is Goat farming. It is easy to maintain a couple of goats when compared to cows and other livestock. In any drought condition, the goats can sustain. Goat farming in India is always a profitable business.

1. Choosing the Right Goat Breed

Buying a goat starts with choosing a breed that fits with your goals: meat or milk. If it is for the milk, choose a milch breed and if for meat, then a locally available meat breed is best. It is inadvisable to bring a breed from afar; rather choose one from the breeding tract of the breed selected. Normally, goats purchased for breeding stock are one to two year old.

Goat breeds distributed across India and their characteristics


Breed

Breeding tract

Important features

Attapady Black

Palakkad (Kerala)

Well adapted to Attapady and maintained mainly on grazing.

Barbari

Bharatpur (Rajastan); Aigarh, Mathura, Agra, Etawah, Hathras (Uttar Pradesh)

Prolific and non-seasonal breed well suited for rearing under restrained and stall feeding conditions.

Berari

Akola, Amravati, Wardha, Nagpur (Maharashtra)

The breed does well in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra where the temperature is extremely high in the summer.

Gohilwadi

Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot, Porbandar (Gujarat)

Adapted to the hot semi-arid climate. Has slightly twisted horns, a convex noseline and coarse long hair.

Jakhrana

Alwar (Rajasthan)

Has a straight faceline and narrow and slightly bulging forehead. Large udder with conical teats.

Jamunapari

Etawah (Uttar Pradesh)

The best dairy breed in South-East Asia and the tallest breed in India.

Kanni Adu

Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar/ Kamarajar, Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu)

Has white stripes on both sides of the face extending from the base of the horn to the corner of the muzzle. Also has a white patch or line on either side of the neck.

Kodi Adu

Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu)

Adapted to cover long distances during browsing and reared primarily for meat. Possesses white coat with black or reddish brown splashes.

Kutchi

Banas Kantha, Mehsana, Kuchchh, Patan (Gujarat)

Predominantly reared for meat and milk. Has predominantly black long coat with coarse hair, slightly roman nose, and corkscrew type horns.

Marwari

Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Pali (Rajasthan)

The breed is well adapted to the inhospitable agro-climatic conditions of the hot arid region.

Mehsana

Ahmedabad, Banas Kantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Sabar Kantha, Patan (Gujarat)

Well adapted to inhospitable agro-climatic conditions of the region. Possess black ears with a white base; a few are reddish brown with a white ear base.

Osmanabadi

Osmanabad, Latur, Ahmadnagar, Solapur, Parbhani (Maharashtra)

The breed is known for its early maturity, prolificacy and good dressing percentage.

Salem Black

Salem, Dharmapuri, Erode, Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu)

Well adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of North-western Tamil Nadu. Its meat is very tasty compared to that of other goats.

Sangamneri

Nashik, Pune, Ahmadnagar (Maharashtra)

Its white coat is extensively coarse and short, and sometimes mixed with black and brown colour. Horns are thin, pointed, directed backwards and upwards.

Sirohi

Ajmer, Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Sirohi, Udaipur, Rajsamand (Rajasthan)

A hardy animal adapted to the harsh agro-climatic conditions of Rajasthan.

Surti

Vadodara, Bharuch, Valsad, Surat, Narmada, Navsari (Gujarat)

Good milch animals with milk production ranging from 1.5 – 4 litres/ day. They are good breeders and possess 50-60% twinning percentage but rarely (5%) are triplets born. They are suited to stall feeding or complete confinement.

Zalawadi

Rajkot, Surendranagar (Gujarat)

Well adapted to harsh climatic conditions and wider range of vegetation in the region. Possess long, wide, leaf-like droopy ears and well developed udder with distinctly placed long, cylindrical-shaped teat.
Goat breeds distributed across India

Read more on List of Indian Goat breeds

Goat Farming in India

2. Housing

Goat housing is simple. The semi-intensive (grazing and closed enclosure) system of rearing is suitable for the semi-arid tropics compared to the extensive (grazing) and intensive (zero grazing) systems.

Lately, raised platforms or elevated housing systems have gained popularity compared to open housing to prevent foot rot and also to enable the farmer to collect pellets. The floor may be elevated with bamboo or wooden slats about 1.0 to 1.5 metres high. Commercial farmers may use fibre sheets or slats as a platform.

The space required for goats in intensive/stall feeding.


Category of goats

Average space (Sq m) required per goat

Kids

0.5

Adult females (doe)

1.0

Pregnant and lactating

1.5-2.0

Adult male (buck)

3.0-4.0

3. Feeding

• Goat diet must include approximately 60-70% of green fodder, 20-30% of dry fodder and 5-10% of concentrate/supplementary feed, providing it about 16-20% of Crude Protein (CP) and 65% of Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN). Additional concentrate/ supplementary feed must be provided to pregnant and lactating animals and breeding bucks.
• Green fodder should include legumes (guar, berseem, cowpea, lucerne, stylosanthes); non-legumes/cereals (maize, pearl millet, sorghum, oat); grasses (hybrid napier, guinea grass, anjan grass), and fodder trees (Subabul, Sesbania, glyricidia, etc.)
• Concentrate/supplementary feed may be prepared using a combination of maize/soybean/green gram/cereals (broken/ground/mashed) (30-40%), any oilcake (20-30%), husk/bran (30-40%) and mineral mixture and salt (1-2%).
• Goats can also be fed low grade roughage/residues which are treated in the following methods: physical and mechanical (soaking, chopping, grinding, pelleting, steaming and irradiation); chemical (sodium hydroxide, urea/ammonia, etc.); and biological (fungi).
• Ensure a minimum 250 grams of concentrate and 5 grams each of common salt and mineral mixture in the daily diet of the goat.

1. First Combination

Nutrient composition and feed formulation of supplementary feed (concentrate mixture) for goat


Ingredients

Quantity for 100 kg

Maize
30

Groundnut cake
5

Soybean
5

Green gram chuni
10

Rice polish
5

Wheat bran
40

Limestone
2

Mineral mixture
1

Salt
2

Total
100
First combination
Goat Farming india

2. Second Combination

Nutrient composition and feed formulation of supplementary feed (concentrate mixture) for goat


Ingredients

Quantity for 100 kg

Maize/soybean/ green gram/cereal (broken/ground) mash

30-40

Any oilcake

20-30

Husk/bran

30-40

Mineral mixture and salt

01-02
Total100
Second combination

Goats should be fed about 250-400 gms daily based on their growth stage.

Major raw materials and their sources used in making supplementary/concentrate feed.


Raw materials

Sources

Cereals and millets

Sorghum (jowar), maize, pearl millet (bajra), finger millet (ragi), rice, oats, wheat, etc.

Oilseed cake

Soybean meal, groundnut cake, cotton seed cake, sunflower cake, silkworm pupae meal, coconut cake

Agro-industrial by-products

Rice bran, wheat bran, rice polish, deoiled rice bran, chuni

Mineral and vitamin mixture

Calcite grit, calcium carbonate, ground limestone, oyster shell, steamed bone meal, monosodium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, defluorinated rock phosphate, soft rock phosphate

4. Care and Management

When ill, goats need to be isolated. Symptoms of illness could be manifest in the form weakness, lagging behind in the flock, reduced feed and water consumption, etc.

Vaccination and deworming are the best options for farmers to keep their goats healthy. Hygienic living conditions on the farm and keeping them free of parasitic infestations is important. Dipping may be followed under the local veterinarian’s guidance.

Common goat diseases and vaccination schedules.


Disease

Age at vaccination

Periodicity of vaccination

Enterotoxaemia

> 4 months

Biannual
(January and July)

Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD)

> 4-6 months

Biannual (Feb/March and August/September)

Black quarter

> 4-6 months

Annually (March/April)

Hemorrhagic septicemia

> 4-6 months

Annually (April/May)

Anthrax

> 6 months

Annually (April/May or in affected areas)

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR)

> 4 months

Annually (June/July)

Blue tongue

> 4-6 months

Annually (August)

Pox

> 4 months

Annually (December)

Deworming Schedule

  • 15-20 days after birth
  • Every two months for the first year
  • Thrice a year (April, July and November)
  • Repeat deworming as required.

5. Caring for Kids

• Cut the umbilicus to 1.5-2.0 inches length and apply tincture of iodine.
• Clean the mucous from the nose, mouth, etc, with a clean cloth if the mother has not cleaned the kid.
• Feed the kid colostrum @ 1/10th of the kid’s body weight within half an hour of kidding.
• If the doe has given birth to twins or triplets, make sure there is sufficient milk either from the mother or from the foster mother. Reconstituted milk can also be fed if natural milk is not available.
• Allow kids to suckle from the foster mother if the mother has health issues.
• Record the weight of the kid at birth and every 15 days.

6. Reproductive Management

Most Indian goat breeds exhibit oestrus throughout the year. A few breeds are seasonally polyestrous with the extended breeding season.
• Under extensive conditions, rearing of bucks (males) with females leads to mating throughout the year.
• Goats usually come to heat between September and November and March and April.
• Depending on the body condition, flush them with 300-350 g of concentrate feed daily along with ample green fodder to improve body condition. Flushing around breeding increases the kid crop by 10-20%, increasing the number of twins born.
• During pregnancy, feed the doe about 300-400 g of concentrate daily during late gestation (2 months). This transition feeding should continue for 2 months after kidding.
• Transition feeding helps improve milk yield, nursing ability, health condition, birth weight of kids, reduces stillbirths, and improves twinning and triplet percentage.
• During pregnancy, an increase of about 10-12 kg body weight is desirable.
• A doe can be first bred after it attains 65-70% of adult body weight. The age at first kidding is 12-14 months and the gestation period of goats is 5 months and 5 days. Take steps to avoid inbreeding.
• Be watchful for a shiny udder, restlessness, sunken tail and hip, heavy breathing, and constant looking sideways, which are signs of approaching parturition .
• Post kidding, provide the doe a bucket of clean water. Keep the doe and kid in the same cubicle for 3-4 days. Thereafter, the doe may be allowed to graze with other goats.

7. Management of Breeding Bucks

• Breeding bucks or males contribute predominantly to production and reproduction potential.
• Semen production in males starts
at 6-8 months. Bucks for breeding should be selected on the basis
of 9-12 months of body weight. However, the optimum age of bucks for breeding is 2 years.
• The male to female ratio is very important in breeding. A ratio of 10 females to 1 male of one year and 20 females to 1 male of two years and above are ideal.
• The buck should have a good history/record, and should be shifted every 2 to 2.5 years from the flock to avoid inbreeding.
• Do not overfeed bucks. Do not allow them to run with the does. House the males and females apart.
• Avoid choosing a breeding buck from the same flock for several generations to avoid inbreeding.
• Feed bucks an extra concentrate @300-400 gm/day during the breeding season.
• Castration: Male kids not required for breeding can be castrated. This is known to increase the growth rate and feed utilization, and also believed to reduce the goat-like smell of meat, thereby increasing its acceptability.

Benefits of Goat Farming in India

If it’s a commercial Goat farm or domestic goat farm, always have benefits. Goat farming in India is a booming business for any young entrepreneur to take up. Below are a few advantages of Starting a profitable Goat farming business in India:

  1. The low initial investment needed for Goat farming when compared to other livestock farming.
  2. Goats are 2.5 times more economical than sheep on free-range grazing under semi-arid conditions.
  3. The goat is a multi-purpose animal producing meat, milk, hide, fiber, and manure.
  4. Goats are more tolerant to a hot climate(some places like Rajasthan, Tamilnadu) than other farm animals.
  5. In drought-prone areas in India risk of goat farming is very much less as compared to other livestock.
  6. Due to small body size and docile nature problems with goats are less.
  7. Goat farming can be a profitable occupation for a farmer and can fit well into mixed farming.
  8. Goats are friendly animals and enjoy being with the Human being.
  9.  Goats are prolific breeders and achieve sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months gestation period in goats is short and at the age of 15-16 months, it starts giving milk.
  10. Twinning is very common and triplets and quadruplets are rare.
  11. Unlike large animals in commercial farm conditions, both male and female goats have equal value.
  12. Goats are ideal for mixed species grazing. The animal can thrive well on a Wide Variety of thorny bushes, weeds, crop residues, agricultural by-products unsuitable for human consumption.
  13. Under proper management, goats can improve and maintain grazing land and reduce bush encroachment (biological control) without causing harm to the environment. A very good example of Regenerative farming.
  14. Goats give more production per unit of investment.
  15. No religious taboo against goat slaughter and meat consumption prevalent in the country.
  16. Slaughter and dressing operation and meat disposal can be carried without many environmental problems.
  17. The goat meat is leaner (low cholesterol) and relatively good for people who prefer low energy diet especially in summer and sometimes goat meat is preferred over mutton because of its “chewability.”
  18. Goat milk is used as an Ayurvedic medicine for personas ailing with asthma, cough, diabetes, etc.
  19. Goat hide is used for the manufacture of leather products including goatskin gloves.
  20. Goat milk is easy to digest than cow milk because of small fat globules and is Naturally homogenized. Goat milk is said to play a role in improving appetite and digestive efficiency. Goat milk is also nonallergic as compared to cow milk and it has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and can be used for treating urogenital diseases of fungal origin.
  21. Goat creates employment to the rural poor besides effectively utilizing unpaid Family labor. There is ample scope for establishing cottage industries based on Goat meat and milk products and value addition to skin and fiber.
  22. Goat manure is a rich fertilizer for your fields. An average goat produces over a ton of manure every year.
  23. Goat is termed as a walking refrigerator for the storage of milk and can be milked a number of times in a day.

Difficulties of Goat Farming in India

Due to a lack of knowledge, 70 percent of farmers in the category had difficulty in identifying pure breed animals. Difficulty in getting good quality breeding animals was a major constraint. The best animals (particularly males) from the traditional flocks were sold for slaughtering to traders/butchers. That resulted in the scarcity of good quality breeding animals.

Another major constraint was the realization of low prices for the surplus live goats. The trade of live goats, which is unorganized and is in the hands of a large number of middlemen, traders, and butchers, does not favor goat farmers.

The live goats were sold not on the basis of their body weight in the livestock markets; this resulted in under-estimation of the value of live animals. Before building the reputation as a producer of quality breeding goats, the farmers got a very low price for their animals.

High mortality in goats due to PPR, diarrhea, pneumonia, tetanus, etc. at the beginning of the project, was a major concern of the farmers. It resulted even in the closure of a number of farms in the beginning.

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