MANAGING GOAT MANURE

Goat farms in Sarawak include mostly small farms and one commercial farm which breeds Jamnapari’s. Most of the people who raise Goats (and a very small number raise sheep) do so for the sale of live animals meant mostly for supplying the local Sarawak market demands in religious obligations like Aqiqah and Korban.

In all cases it is important to consider manure management and the potential for fly, odor, and water-pollution problems. Sometimes a few animals cause more difficulties than a large commercial flock or especially when animals are confined in goat sheds or small lots. If there is an insufficient area on which to spread the manure, stockpiling of manure may result. This can and will increase fly, odor, and rodent problems as well as the likelihood of water pollution from run off and excessive soil nutrients.

Goats may be kept on pasture with minimal shelter, housed in sheds with large exercise areas or pastures, or kept inside confined goat houses with small yards. Goat housing may contain bedded pens, stalls, or slotted floors. Regardless of housing type, goat manure is normally handled as a solid because it usually does not liquify well and is unsuitable for traditional liquid manure-handling systems.

Farmers should plan housing and manure management carefully to avoid problems with neighbors and health officials. Flies and odors are the most common complaints. Regular cleaning and removal of the manure and soiled bedding to a fly-tight container, storage facility, or field for spreading are a requirement for any successful manure management plan. If only a few animals are kept, a covered box, covered garbage cans, a fly-tight concrete or pressure-treated post and plank shed, or a pile covered with black plastic may be adequate for manure storage. Our practice on our farm is to remove and burn the manure with any other material from on site the farm, materials like broken twigs, branches and fallen leaves more so when we get hit by a storm which is regular during the monsoon season. Our goat houses sit over bare earth and we let the manure settle to about 3 inches deep before we remove it for burning.

You should also make sure that there is no water that runs into the manure. It will be great if you could have a concrete floor for your raised goat houses which make removal and cleaning much easier. However animals on pasture distribute their manure during the grazing process. But you will have problems result from stocking too many animals on too small an area. You will find goats may congregate along watering areas, around feed troughs or in the case of temperate countries the hay racks and in shady spots. If there are more animals than the vegetation in such areas can maintain, soil erosion and excess manure deposition are bound to happen. Reducing your stocking density, moving feeding areas, and paving areas around waterers can reduce these problems. If there is a stream in the pasture, it may be necessary to develop other watering locations or fence the animals out of stream-bank areas.

Management of manure is not all that a dirty job. You must realize that it is also a source of income. Goat manure in Sarawak has been turned into a very important component of organic fertilizer. Imagine the quantity of organic fertilizer you can produce? Our usual practice is to gather whatever from our fire pit ever so often and use it directly as an organic fertilizer. We also have farmer who use a recipe of composted manure that has been stockpiled for a few months. They let nature do its work and as long as the manure is kept dry the pellet breaks down into a loose powdery form and can be used directly. Packed into 1kg packs they make a quick sale for any surplus.

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