Example of 5 month old Jamnapari Kids at The Kebun.
Today we are saying goodbye to our chicken pens. Space is getting to be a bit tight and we are dismantling the pens to use it instead for a new paddock for the Goats. Dividing the herd for their daily outdoor romp into bachelors, pregnant and unbred does and the growing kids will be much more easier with 4 dedicated paddocks.
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.
Some of these will not be as simple as they appear and you will need more research in some areas. But you can refer to past postings like `Can You Make Money Goat Farming` and `For The Newbie Farmer` for more information and a clearer explanation. Visiting similar farms and asking questions is a very good exercise as with joining any related organisations, clubs or associations in your immediate area. The internet is of course a good option but there is nothing better than speaking and learning one on one. Try and work closely with an established farmer who has a good record. Calling your local agricultural department will be helpful as they will be also able to offer some advice.
GOAT FARMER SKILLS
- Applying ID Tags
- Breed Knowledge
- Medication Application (Shots With Needle + Deworming)
- Delivering Kids
- Handling & Moving (Behavioral Knowledge, Aggresion + Birthing)
- Shelter Needs
- Manure Handling
There are a few related postings here like ‘How To Tattoo Your Goat’, ‘Goat Injection Sites’, ‘Buck Housing and Management’, ’5 Mistakes Sarawak Farmers Make’, ‘Basic Physiological and Biological Norms’, and ‘How To Ear Tag Your Goat’, but i encourage you to go onto the field and find out hand on the kind of information you will need for your particular kind of set up. Another post, ‘Can You Make Money Goat Farming?might also be useful if you are considering going into this as a business. Good Luck!
‘Boer goats will soon dot the fields of animal husbandry farms all over the country with the success of a high-technology Boer goat breeding project by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.‘ Read the rest here .
Its fantastic that there is such a facility on mainland, Peninsular Malaysia. But the information available very sketchy when Googled. Looking through the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development, MARDI website ( the people who are supposed to be running it ) came up with a blank with nothing. You wonder when and if the benefits of such projects will ever filter down to East Malaysia for Sarawakian and Sabahan farmers.
Before anything else you need to do some serious homework. Look at it from a businessman point of view. What capital outlay is needed to start off initially, the running costs and what kind of returns are we looking at?
The most important factor (for me) is to look at market demand. Is it live goats that the market demands be it to fulfill religious obligations (like here in Sarawak, Malaysia) or is the market looking for breeder stock? Is goat milk in demand in your area? Or is processed goat meat needed to supply in your immediate area? There are so many questions that need answered, factors that need consideration related to whatever the sector of this goat business you are venturing into.
Once you have figured out what is your best option based on the market demand and your facilities available then you have to look at the costing. For example if you have found that the demand is in for live goats (taking into consideration the local market price), then its time to first look at what you have in terms of your farm facilities.
Do you already have a farm? Or are you intending to purchase one or start from scratch? How much capital do you need to set the business up? Are you in an area that requires simple fencing and shelter or do you need to also invest into building a goat barn like here in Sarawak? Is electricity and water connection an issue?
Then look at the breeds available to you in your immediate area and work your way out to the possibility to import from overseas. For example many Sarawakian farmers have imported goats from Australia at very high costs (freight is an issue as the numbers are usually too small to take advantage of any savings versus importing in high numbers) and find that the offspring (in this example Boers) are only worth on average 1/3rd to 1/5th of the breeding stock initial costs. Please take into account that a gestation period of 5 months minimum not counting the time for the kid to grow which can be up to an additional 6-9 months before being ready for the market.
One of the high costing considerations is the feed. Does your farm have an area big enough to sustain the goats numbers you intend to have? Or are you going to practice cut and carry for most of the time? Is feeding goat pellets economical for you? What is the price of grain (and what type of grain) in your area? Do you need to invest into vehicles and machinery like a shredding or mulching machine to process the cut grass/forage? Do you need to build a vermin proof shed to store the grain and pellets? Are supplements, medication and other associated items an issue for you to source?
Manpower is also a very important factor. Are you living on the property and are fantasizing looking at this goat business as an addition to supplement your farm’s income? Or are you going to employ labor which automatically means extra costing. If the latter is needed then housing your workers is also another expense not to mention wages. Then insurance and workman compensation has to be factored in.
Once you have got all this basic information in hand, list down your initial setup costs. Remember that you need to first decide on what breed and the numbers you are looking at based on you and your farms capabilities. No sense in projecting for 200 goats when your farm is only 1 hectare! Be sensible. Then figure out your running costs on a weekly/monthly basis. By then you will already have the numbers of the goats you will have so work out now on the potential income from the kid sales or in the case of diary goats the milk sales and so forth. In the case of meat goats you can work out on average your kidding numbers for example giving out a pessimistic figure of 1.5 per year per breeding doe. So you will have for every 10 does an estimate of 15 kids every season. You should be smart enough able to do the sums on your own here and see if you have the potential can generate an income from this business.
SETUP COST + RUNNING COST – PROJECTED INCOME = FUTURE
Prevention is better than cure. Take every step possible to ensure you don’t introduce diseases to your goat herd. Observe high standards of husbandry and hygiene to maintain good health and productivity of your herd.
Many goat herds are afflicted with diseases that are costly to control and undermine the profitability of the herd. Examples include foot rot, internal parasites (particularly those resistant to many commonly used drenches) and viruses. In many cases these diseases are brought in with purchased goats. When purchasing goats to upgrade the herd, to introduce new genetic material, or just to increase numbers, follow these steps to help prevent the entry or spread of disease.
Step 1. Before Purchase – Goats that look (and can look) perfectly healthy can still be carrying unwanted infections or parasites. Try your best to check the complete history of the goats you intend to buy and the herd from which they originate. Information like this can also be verified from the local agricultural departments who usually keep tabs on farmers and their herds. You need to know:
- Any previous episodes of illness in the herd?
- Details of previous illnesses in the individual goats you intend to buy.
- The history of drench usage in the herd. Ask what products have been used, how often, and what the dose rates were?
- The vaccination status of the goats. Ask whether they are due for a booster ?
- The precise reasons the goats are being sold .
- Results (if any) from any veterinary examinations or blood tests.
- What diseases are common or likely to affect goats in your area and the area from which the goats originate.
Don’t Buy Someone’s Discarded Problems.
Step 2. At Purchase – thorough examination. Thoroughly examine the goats you intend to buy. Pick up and inspect closely every foot of every goat you are buying. With larger herds, check a representative group at least. Look for overgrown horn tissue which may need trimming, inflamed skin around the hoof or between the toes, and any tender areas in the lower legs.
- Check the condition of the coat. It should be shiny and smooth.
- Closely examine the skin for general health and for any marks or lumps. In particular, check for lumps under the skin of the jaw (they could be abscesses in the lymph glands – ‘cheesy gland’), in front of the shoulder and in the flank.
- Check to see that the gums and the conjunctiva of the eyes are moist and pink.
- Check for evidence of recent scours.
- Check teeth to determine the age. With older animals, check the state of the teeth as a guide to general condition.
- In does that have kidded, check the udder for any hard lumps or other indications of chronic mastitis. This is especially important in dairy goats.
- Palpate the testicles of bucks to ensure that there are in fact two. They must be symmetrical and firm, and have no soft spots or lumps.
- Inspect goats’ feet thoroughly to detect signs of foot rot.
Step 3. After purchase – on-farm quarantine. Be sure to keep all new goats in isolation for about 4 to 6 weeks after purchase. Even though the foregoing checks may have been done thoroughly, a period of on-farm isolation is a further safety measure.
- Keep all introduced goats in a paddock on their own – the ‘admission area’. This area should be separated by at least two metres, or by a double fence line, from other paddocks with goats.
- Administer any necessary vaccines or drenches immediately after unloading the new stock.
- Carry out preventive measures against coccidiosis as soon as goats enter your property.
- Regularly observe goats for the first 4 to 6 weeks after purchase to see that they are settling in, feeding well, and showing no signs of illness. After this time, you will have a better idea of their general health.
- While newly purchased goats are still in the admission area, i suggest you consult your veterinarian to arrange for any examination and testing you might want done.
- Clean the admission area after each batch. Disinfect the sheds and the feed and water troughs in preparation for further new arrivals/purchases.
There is a risk of introducing disease when visitors enter the property, unless you take special precautions to ensure that footwear and other clothing, especially that of other goat owners, veterinarians and farm advisers, is clean. When moving backward and forward between the admission area and the rest of the farm yourself, take similar precautions so as not to jeopardise your on-farm quarantine measures. As well as following these three steps when purchasing new stock, you will need to observe good management practices (commonsense routine procedures) to safeguard the health of your herd at all times.
Goats are ruminant animals. Their digestive tracts (which are similar to those of cattle, sheep and deer) consist of the mouth, oesophagus (the oesophagus is a muscular tube in the chest that connects the mouth and throat to the stomach), four stomach compartments, small intestine and large intestine.
Like other ruminant animals, goats have no upper teeth. Goats depend on the dental pad in front of the hard palate, lower incisor teeth, lips and tongue to take food into their mouths.
The Four Chambered Stomach Explained!
Rumen: This is the largest of the four stomach compartments of ruminant animals. The capacity of the rumen of goats ranges from 3 to 6 gallons depending on the type of feed. This compartment, also known as the ‘paunch’, contains many microorganisms (bacteria and protozoa) that supply enzymes to breakdown fibre and other food that the goat eats. The conversion of the cellulose of feeds to volatile fatty acids (acetic, propionic, and butyric acids) is the result of microbiological activities in the rumen. These volatile fatty acids are absorbed through the rumen wall and provide up to 80 percent of the total energy requirements of the animal. Microbial digestion in the rumen is the basic reason why ruminant animals effectively utilize fibrous feeds and are maintained primarily on roughages.
Rumen microorganisms also convert components of the feed to useful products such as the essential amino acids, the B complex vitamins, and vitamin K. Finally, the microorganisms themselves are digested further in the digestive tract.
Reticulum: This compartment, also known as the ‘hardware stomach’ or ‘honeycomb’, is located just below the entrance of the oesophagus into the stomach. The reticulum is part of the rumen separated only by an overflow connection, the ‘rumino-reticular fold’. The capacity of the reticulum of goats ranges from 1 – 2 litres.
Omasum: This compartment, also known as the ‘manyplies’, consists of many folds or layers of tissue that grind up feed ingesta and remove some of the water from the feed. The capacity of the omasum in goats is approximately 1 litre.
Abomasum: This compartment is more often considered the ‘true stomach’ of ruminant animals. It functions similarly to human stomachs. It contains hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes that breakdown food particles before they enter the small intestine. The capacity of the abomasum of goats is approximately 4 litres.
As partially digested feed enters the small intestine, enzymes produced and secreted by the pancreas and small intestinal mucosa further breakdown feed nutrients into simple compounds that are absorbed into the bloodstream. Undigested feed and unabsorbed nutrients leaving the small intestine pass into the large intestine. The functions of the large intestine include absorption of water and further digestion of feed materials by the microorganisms present in this area. The 30 meter long intestinal canal of goats has a capacity to hold 12 litres.
When a goat kid is born, the rumen is small and the abomasum is the largest of the four stomach compartments. The rumen of a goat kid represents about 30 percent of the total stomach area, while the abomasum represents about 70 percent. Hence, digestion in the goat kid is like that of a monogastric animal. In the suckling goat kid, closure of the oesophageal groove ensures that milk is channeled directly to the abomasum, instead of entering the rumen, reticulum, and omasum. When the suckling goat kid starts to eat vegetation (first or second week of life), the rumen, reticulum and omasum gradually develop in size and function.
Goats are very particular about what they eat, they will not consume food of poor quality or food that is dirty or has been trampled on, unless you have have been putting them on a starvation diet. Goats require the best quality grass, green stuffs and concentrates. However goats will eat a wide range of food, preferring more fibrous food to lush grass. Goats will eat young thistles and brambles, as well as twigs, they also like bark from trees. Goats are inquisitive and will nibble and investigate most items, however, they are selective about what they actually eat.
The Saanen is a Swiss breed which originated in the Saane Valley. It is now the most popular dairy goat breed in many countries. Saanens, the first of the improved dairy goat breeds to be brought into Australia, were first imported in 1913 by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture. Two bucks and ten does from France and Switzerland were brought in for the Department’s Nyngan Experimental Farm. A further two bucks were imported from Canada by the Department in 1929, also for the Nyngan farm which was eventually disbanded in 1933. However, Nyngan Saanens have had a profound influence on the breed in Australia.
After World War II, the Department brought in a further five bucks and six does for its stud which was at Condobolin and several private breeders also imported Saanens. Imports since the War have been of the British Saanen type. Australian-bred Saanens are of world standard and have set many milk producing records. Saanens have been used in many parts of the world in grading-up local breeds including Malaysia. Sarawak itself has a very very limited Saanen goats.
Saanen does are heavy milk producers and usually yield between 3% and 4% fat.The Saanen is a typical dairy-type animal, it has a dished or straight facial line and a wedge-shaped body. Saanens are of medium height when compared with the other Alpine breeds in Australia. Does weigh at least 64 kg. The average height measured at the withers, is about 81 cm for does and 94 cm for bucks.
The coat is all white or all cream and the hair is generally short and fairly fine although some may have longer hair along the spine, hindquarters, or both. Horns may or may not be present at birth. The ears are generally pointed and erect and the head is usually lightly structured. The breed is sensitive to excessive sunlight and performs best in cooler conditions. The provision of shade is essential, and tan skin is preferable. Saanens are usually very docile animals and like to keep to a routine so are well-suited to machine milking. They respond quickly to affection.
The high-producing Saanen doe should also be an efficient reproducer. She should have a docile nature, and appear alert and feminine. The udder should be well developed not fleshy, and have a collapsed appearance and a soft texture after milking. It should be round or globular, and not pendulous or ‘split’ between the halves. A fairly flat udder sole is preferable. The udder should be carried high and well under the body. Good udder attachment is particularly important. The teats should be distinct from the udder and moderately sized. They should be squarely placed and point slightly forward. Does with abnormal teats and udders may prove difficult to milk and should not be used for breeding replacements.
The jaw should be square (not overshot or undershot) and the teeth should be sound. The muzzle and nostrils should be wide, the lips broad and the eyes set well apart. The neck should be long, slim, of good depth and connect evenly with the withers and shoulders. The body should be wedge-shaped, well developed and have good height and depth. The chest should be wide and deep. The ribs should be well sprung. There should be no marked dip behind the withers or shoulders. The back should be level from the shoulders to the hips and drop slightly to the tail. The Saanen doe should stand and walk without dropping at the pasterns. The legs should be clean, long and straight and placed squarely under the body. They should not be cow-hocked. The thighs should be thin, allowing adequate room for the udder.
The Saanen buck’s ability should be gauged by his reproductive performance and the quality and performance of his offspring. The buck should have good conformation and depth of body, be masculine but not coarse in appearance and have vigour. The testicles should be of good size, well balanced and firm. The scrotum should be well placed, not divided and allow the testes to hang away from the body (not excessively).
Polled bucks are not generally used in breeding programs as offspring resulting from matings with polled does may be born as either inter sex females or sterile males. If polled bucks are used, they should only be mated with horned does.