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.

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.
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How to start Goat Farming business in India?

Goats are the most adaptable livestock for any climate or any place. But there are few things to consider for a specific region. Goat farming in India is nothing new. Farmers in India had goats for generations but they were all in small quantities. For a commercial profitable Goat farming, there are few things to consider.

1. Housing for Goats

The location for raising Goats should be a major priority for any goat farmer. Most of the time the Goats spend here, the productivity will affect based on the housing conditions. A complete guide to Goat housing should be first understood, before building a shelter.

  • Goats love to stay in the dry region, they do not like a wetland and wet weather.
  • The sheds should be constructed in an elevated area to prevent water stagnation.
  • A three-sided enclosure better suits for all tropical regions, with good ventilation.
  • The enclosure can be of a certain height or covered with wire(shade) mesh to protect from the cold breeze.
  • Always preferable to have a large indoor space, which should be suitable for the kids.
  • For a comfortable house, east-west orientation with generous provision for ventilation /air movement to dry the floor will be suitable.
  • Gable roofing is generally preferred which will be suitable for all climatic conditions. Some of the Indian states have huge rainfall, with gable roofing water doesn’t stagnate or stay for a long time, keep the area dry.
  • The goats should be taken out for grazing during the day time and sheltered only during the night.
  • When the animals are housed intensively, the pen and run system of housing are suitable.
  • Should allow them to roam out freely in the day. Build a small fence around the shelter. Goats are intelligent to get inside the Shelter when it rains.
  • Fencing should be up to 5 ft or even more. Goats are excellent climbers, so better get a fence that has small gaps(holes). Fencing should be sturdy and tall, which will never give a chance to mix up your does and bucks.
  • There is no restriction for the length of the shelter, however, breadth of the shed should not exceed 12 meter and optimum breadth of shelter is 8 meter.
  • Avoid barb wired fencing, they may accidentally hurt the goats.
  • Keep kids and mom in a separate enclosure and it should be warm.
  • Always keep your does and bucks separately, as bucks get aggressive when in the rut and near females. If not this encourages unplanned breeding.
  • Keep each breed in a separate enclosure, do not mix the breeds unless you are planning for crossbreeding.
  • The location should be free from poisonous plants. Goats will eat everything and anything that is green. Weed out all plants which you think can cause harm. Though Goats are sturdy they do have a certain weakness with eating habits.

Recommended floor space requirements for Goat Farming in India

Age groupsCovered space(sq.m)Open space (sq.m)
Up to 3 months0.2-0.250.4-0.5
3 months to 6 months0.5-0.751.0-1.5
6 months to 12 months0.75-1.01.5-2.0
Adult animal1.53.0
Male, Pregnant or lactating ewe/ doe1.5-2.03.0- 4.0
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2. Goat breeds suitable in India

Choosing the Goat breed based on milk yield, meat production, and kidding. In India, Goat milk and Goat meat have a huge demand. The meat rate in India is going up each year, but the demand is even more.  Goat meat is lean and healthy, also it doesn’t have any religious taboo which makes go-to meat for all non-vegetarians in India.

a) Best for Meat and Milk production: Jamunapari Goat

Jumumanpari goat is a pure Indian breed. Name of the breed derived from the rivers the Yamuna, Jamuna (West Bengal and Bangladesh).

  • The bodyweight of an adult Buck and Doe varies from 65 to 86 kg and 45-61 respectively.
  • The newborn kid of Jamunapari goat weighs around 3kg.
  • The average growth rates of male and female kids were 59.4 and 48.2g/day
  • In just 12 months, the goat can gain around 21kg.
  • The average daily milk yield is 2.25 kg to 2.7 kg. The milk yield in a lactation period of 250 days, varies from 250 – 300 kg.
  • The milk of Jamunapari goat is very tasty and healthy. It contains about 5% of fat.
  • The age at sexual maturity in males varied from 9 to 12 months.
  • The average age of the first conception is 18 month
  • The kidding cycle is once in around 8 months. There can be 3 kidding cycles for 2 years.
  • Triplets and quadruplets are common.

b) Best for Meat production: Black Bengal and Tellicherry goats (Talacherry)

Tellicherry goats(Thalassery goat, Thalacheri, Malabari)

Tellicherry goats are one among the recognized breeds of goats in India and are widely distributed in the Malabar region of Kerala and also reared in different places of Tamil Nadu.

  1. Malabari(Tellicherry) goats are reared for milk and meat.
  2. Tellicherry’s skin is popular in the tanning(leather) industry.
  3. Yields excellent crossbreeds on crossing with Boer Buck and Jamunapari Buck.
  4. Have a high feed conversion ratio, which means gains weight very fast in less span of time. Around 25kg in 12 months(under normal diet).
  5. These goats can gain weight of 20 to 25 kg in 90 days, provided with a good feed.
  6. Twinning/Triple kidding Percentage: 80%
  7. The kids are sold for Rs 4,500 each at the age of 3 months.

Black Bengal Goat breed is native to India. Black Bengal goats reach around 12 kg in 12 months. The Black Bengal goats gain sexual maturity at an earlier age than most other breeds. Females also reach puberty at about 6 months of age. Two kids are common in Black Bengal.

  1. The Black Bengal goat’s meat is tastier and always in demand.
  2. Due to their small size, feed consumption is less.
  3. They require less space due to their small size. More Goats can be rared in a Goat Shed.
  4. Black Bengal goats mature sexually quite early, at 6-8 months of age, and breed around the year.
  5. They are reported to have resistance against common diseases.
  6. It can reproduce in a very low plane of nutrition and are well adapted to the local environment.
  7. They kid twice a year or more commonly thrice in two years.
  8. Meat and skin obtained from the Black Bengal are of excellent quality and fetch high prices.
  9. Twins and Triplets are common, so more profit in breeding Bengal Goats.

3. Goat feed in India

Goats are free-roaming animals, always prefer fresh pasture. Much of the nutrition of the grass is preserved in the hay and it makes great feed for goats.

Goats to increase their weight, the right amount of fodder with better nutrients should be available.

  • Tree fodders like Sesbania trees, Glyricidia,Leucaena leucocephala(subabul). The leaves of Sesbania trees are highly palatable and well-liked by goats.
  • Grass Fodders like Hybrid Napier, Guinea grass, Para Grass, Blue buffel grass.
  • Cereal Fodders like Fodder maize and Fodder sorghum.
  • Legume Fodders like Cowpea, Hedge Lucerne, Lucerne, Stylo, alfalfa.
  • Grains like wheat, maize, Sorghum, Broken rice, Jowar, Soya bean cake, Groundnut cake.

Clean drinking water should be available for goats.

If the availability of pasture is good there is no need to supplement concentrate mixture.

4. Goat Marketing in India

The rising demand for goat meat in India, both for the domestic and international markets. India is the largest goat meat producer after China. Despite a steady increase in supply, goat meat prices are continuously rising.

Although India’s current export of goat and sheep meat is 6.4 percent of the production, export is where demand is set to explode. Export of goat and sheep meat has, in fact, increased more than eight times in the past two years, while production has increased marginally. People in West Asia are shifting from Australian sheep to Indian goats because the meat of our goats is tastier and low on fat.

Goat production is like most other agricultural enterprises because producers must be able to find and/or develop their own marketing channels. The market should be very close to the farm.

A number of commercial farmers had made efforts to advertise and popularize their goat farms and the quality of their goats through several means. Farmers had created their own websites giving details of the farm and the type of goats available for sale.

A few of them were giving advertisements in the local newspapers, especially for the sale of males during the Eid festival. The other important modes of publicity and extension included the publication of pamphlets and organization of training for local farmers. The farmers felt that the advertisement and publicity had increased their visibility, resulting in increased demand and better prices for their goats.

The goat population is also high in disaster-prone areas, like parts of Bihar frequently ravaged by floods. In many ways, the goat has everything a poor or a person in emergency needs: low investment, high and consistent returns and near liquid monetary status.

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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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