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Raising Goats


Part 1 of a practical guide to raising goats in the Philippines.

Goats have gone a long way from being just poor man’s cows. These animals have proven to be more than just four-legged mammals that generate milk and meat. They survive in almost any kind of environment that’s dry and where feed resources are available, making their potential as one of the main sources of farm income.

This is one reason behind the goat revolution that’s presently going on nationwide. Raising goats, nowadays, is common for small farmers and backyard raisers. In fact, at present, the goat population in the Philippines is estimated at 3.3 million despite the indefinite shifts in diet preference of these animals and the growing demand for goat meat in the market. Backyard farms, most especially, keep 99.3% of that figure on the rise and support from other sectors improve the goat industry’s marketability. Indeed, raising goats has become serious business.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) picked up on this renewed interest on goats and is now laying various science and technology (S&T) initiatives to continue coming up with better quality stocks, promote goat reproduction techniques and encourage new and fresh approaches to manage goats and the business of raising them.
Along with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFDA), PCARRD initiated trainings on effective goat management to further promote its competence. After analyzing the cost and returns of raising goats, they proved that it is a low-risk profitable livelihood. Assuming a goat raiser has five (5) does at P2,5oo each, an initial investment of P32,000 can mean extra income of at least P14,800 in sales of goat stock after two business years. Additionally, PCARRD has initiated its iooo-goat farms program that aims to launch
1,000 smallholder farmers into full-time commercial goat raisers to continue the wave of effect that goat raising has started.

In the end, even with problems on seasonality of demand, fluctuating prices of goats and breeders, high costs of feed, wavering veterinary services and high taxes and business permits to start with, raising goats will continue to flourish and find its optimum potential in the future.

Goat breeds
Sixty-three percent of the world’s total meat consumption can be credited to goat meat. According to, people-from Mideasterners and African to Latin American and Arabs prefer goat meat than any other veal-like meat around the world. In fact, most of these groups would even trade their money just to have their hands on these various breeds of goats-both for their milk and meat. But here in the Philippines, we only have six breeds:


>>Alpine – At mature age, it weighs 70 kilograms and could produce 1.5 liters of milk everyday. It’s a European breed that has upright ears, a straight face and colors that vary from black, red and off-white.


Anglo Nubian

>> Anglo Nubians – A tropical breed known for its floppy pendulous pair of ears and a mix of brown and black-or sometimes just brown-hair. It weighs 70-90 kilos at mature age and can produce 1-2 liters of milk daily.


>> Boer – Boers are known for their high-quality meat and excellent productive qualities. Compared to other local goats, they are fairly larger in size and are double-muscled. They are easy to raise, have mild temperaments, are affectionate, require no milking, no special care, shearing or fancy fences. Not only that, they can also graze in the coldest of weathers.


>> Native – This breed’s colors range from red, white, black or a combination of the three; and at mature age, can weigh up to 30 kilograms. Its milk production, however, can just be enough for its young.


>> Saanen – Its weight that can go up to an average of 7o kilograms helps on its being the highest milk producer among other breeds, which can tote up to 1.8 liters daily. This breed originated from Switzerland and boasts of its pure white to off-white color.


>> Toggenburg – Also from Switzerland, toggenburgs are easy to spot. They have white markings on their face and erect ears like Saanens’. At mature age, their milk production can amount up to 1.5 liters everyday.

Native or grated does (female goats) should not be less than 25 kilograms and should be palpated for size, detection of lumps and other abnormalities they may have. To make sure they possess good appetite, alert senses, well-formed pupils and the right size for easy milking, make it a point to purchase them from a locality or area with similar climatic conditions. On the other hand, acquired bucks (male goats) should be accompanied by pedigree and farm records to be guaranteed of its good producing line. Bucks should be ready to copulate with does that are in heat, so it’s best to purchase ready-to-perform bucks.
One-year-old bucks or breeders that have successfully mated once are extremely advisable.

Raising goats in the Philippines
Evgn with the shift in diet preferences and the growing demand and interest for goat meat in the local market, the goat population in the country at present is estimated at 3.3 million. As the number of goats continues to rise, more and more backyard raisers are turning to bigtime entrepreneurs. Currently, in fact, a surge in demand for breeder goats is ringing in the air and prices have gone up.

A six-month old native female at 10-12 kilograms now costs P2,500. Meanwhile a
four-month old mestizo weanling costs P4,ooo and bucks for breeding are now at Pii,ooo – 20,00o a piece.

During a recent six-month training, PCARRD, along with ILRI and IFAD, proved why this doesn’t stop raisers and breeders from dipping their hands on this low-risk profitable livelihood, that even with the increasing demand for chevon, goat meat and milk, goats continue to be good business. They stressed goats adapt well to any existing farming systems and feed on forages and

other farm by-products although goat raisers also use feed concentrates. An eight-month-old doe can have a kid in five months and it can triple your number of herd in two years’ time.

Part 2 of a practical guide to raising goats in the Philippines.

Although costs are unaffordable to some ordinary farmers, Vincent Garcia, AC Garcia Corp.’s managing director said in a recent MARID Agribusiness Digest interview, “It’s still a good investment.” Goats, especially boers, have superior potential to become a high-generating business in the future. Boer bucks could sire native females, where better offsprings, if fathered by a native male goat, could be produced. He also predicted that commercial goat raising would become a billion-peso industry in the years to come, which in turn, will cause relevant employment opportunities.

In this light, integrated goat managements have been conducted all over the country to fulfill this objective. Farmers continue to discover the improved competence in raising goats.

Goat feeding
Goats, like other livestock, require proper nutrition. Although not as critical, they need proper doses of water, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates and protein to survive. Goats have bacteria and protozoa in their rumen, which enable them to manufacture nutrients from such as feeds as hay-soilage, silage and other feedstuffs. Paragrass, stargrass, napier grass and centrosema grass are few of the many tropical grasses and legumes that goats indulge in.

As ruminants, goats also have a feeding program that should be based on the type and quality of roughage available, which determines both the quality and amount of concentrates needed to supplement their diet.

To lower the cost of feeding and maintenance, the herd should be pastured more often than usual and must be provided with sufficient space for grazing. If the herd must be moved from another pasture to another, make sure it’s been grazed for some time, to keep a pasture from being polluted or heavily infested by parasites. Breeding goats, on the other hand, can survive on pasture feeds.

Though a little picky in grazing, goats enjoy feeding on a large variety of plants. Bush land, together with the common pasture grasses, make a good combination. Remember that they eat only what’s suitable for them so do not feed them weeds. Also, keep the goats in the barn when it’s raining. If the weather is humid and cold, provide them with cheap grain feeds like rice bran.

Confined goats, especially those who are lactating, should be provided with good amount of forage, vitamin-mineral and salt.

Pregnant dry does should be adequately fed as well, with quality feeds to stock them with reserves for lactation and to nourish their fetuses. They should also be provided with abundant amount of forage and roughage, vitamin-mineral plus concentrates depending on their body condition.

The young goats, four months old and above, must be fed properly for maintenance and continuous growth. A good supply of food generally is made up of quality forage and roughage plus half a kilo of concentrates daily.

Bucks should also be maintained on good pasture when not breeding. Provide them with enough supply of vitamin-mineral mix, water and about half a kilo of concentrates two weeks before and during the breeding season.

Pasture grasses and roughages
Among the concentrates, corn grains are the most advisable for goats, with its 84.2% of total digestible nutrients (TDN). Corn gluten feed has 74.9%; copra meal has 78.5%; rice bran (cono) has 69.1%; wheat pollard has 73.1%; soybean oil meal has 76%; cane molasses has 53% and corn bran has 71.1% TDN.

Green roughages, which include napier grass, contain a good amount of crude protein as well, making it recommendable for these animals. Paragrass and guinea grass that vary on TDN contents during wet and dry seasons are also advisable. Tree leaves and browse plants you can provide your herd also include: acacia, bamboo, gumamela, camachile, caimito, santan, ipil-ipil, kakawati and banana.

Feeding programs also depend on the type and quality of roughage available, and the age of the goats.

The herd also needs clean water and salt that must be provided to them 3 to 5 times a day. A watering trough in the pen where goats can drink any time of the day could come in very handy. Salt is also important for them to sustain a good appetite, so a mineralized salt block which the animals can lick whenever they want will really help.

Housing the herd
Like other herds, goats require a few provisions. First and foremost, remember that goat houses’ primary objective is to provide the animals shelter, so make sure it prevents rain and wetness from coming in. Goats, after all, are very prone to pneumonia. They also like elevated platforms that take a form of stairs. Their shelter and feeding racks must be well-ventilated and drained, and easy to clean. Make it a point that it’s also accessible not only to the animals, but to the caretaker as well. It’ll help if you provide abundant flooring elevation of up to 15 degrees to facilitate proper cleaning and drainage.

Flooring for does, bucks and adults range from .75 to 1.50 square meters and 15.24 to 25.40 linear centimeters for their feeding space. Growing goats require .50 to .75 square meters of flooring space and 10.16 to 15.24 linear centimeters feeding space, while kids require just half as much.

Ventilation is also important, so allow one (1) foot clearance between floor to wall and wall to beam to provide adequate air circulation. Maintaining an interior temperature of not more than 30°C but not less than 27°C is advised. Goats consume up to 30% of the day’s intake during night time so lighting should also be provided in the barns during night.

When it comes to building fences, make sure to keep the place water-tight to keep the goats in. If the barn isn’t overcrowded, goats are usually respectful of fences. You run into problems when the other side of the fence looks better to eat than what you have inside it. The bigger problem is keeping them from getting stuck in the fence. A hot wire about a foot or 18 inches long off the ground 8-12 inches inside the fence might be effective in keeping the goats from sticking their head through the fence or rubbing on it.

For fence sections that will separate rutting bucks from one another or from does in heat, two hot wires will help-one a foot to i8 inches of the ground, and the other about a foot above the first on both sides. This prevents the bucks from damaging the fence in those areas.

Many properties use 4 to 5 strands of barbed wires to fence their herds. By using those as ground wires and adding steel high tensile connected to a charger between them mounted to insulator posts, this type of fence will both be economical and functional. Do not use aluminum wire as it tends to stretch and sag and be easily broken.

Age Feeds
3 days and below Colostrums
4 days to 2 weeks Whole milk(goat/cow’s milk) Vitamin-mineral Water
2 to 16 weeks Whole milk or mil replacer Grass-legumes hay or
quality fresh forage Vitamin-mineral mixWaterStarter
4 months – kidding Forage, vitamin-mineral mixWaterConcentrates
Dry, Pregnant Bucks Forage, vitamin-mineral mixWaterConcentrates
Lactating Forage, vitamin-mineral mixWaterConcentrates

Part 3 of a practical guide to raising goats in the Philippines.

Keeping the herd healthy

Sanitation plays a vital role in keeping your goat healthy and in perfect shape. Make sure you do the following: clean the pens daily and wash it at least three times a week; disinfect at least twice a month; provide a pit or lagoon to store the goats’ accumulated feces and urine to prevent giving disease-causing micro-organisms a breeding ground; provide separate pens for diseased goats; and train your personnel to observe proper sanitation processes and methods. It’s also advised to limit visitor animals in the farm, and quarantine newly-arrived stocks for at least a month before mixing them with the rest of the herd.

High mortality rate of goats are also attributed to parasites. Next to pnemnonia, parasites rank Number 2 on the top goat killers list. Some of them are tapeworms, protozoa-like coccidian and amoeba. To prevent this, have your goats checked regularly for worm loads and schedule them for regular deworming. But before doing so, distinguish what parasite you’re dealing first.

The rainy season, most especially, is the peak season of diseases for livestock, most notable of which is parasite infection. Worms consider the wet season the best time to infect your livestock.

However, use of anthelmintics, though risky, will help. Without proper and prior knowledge about its use can lead to parasite resistance development. Thus, to minimize expenses and achieve the best results, carefully plan the deworming processes.

Lice and ticks can also be a problem. If this happens, mix powder-form chemicals with 7-10 parts of starch or flour, or apply acaricide against the parasites. Never use the liquid or spray form chemicals.

Effective worm control Dewormers may be given once or twice only a year for goats that have been completely confined for a year or during the rainy season only. However, strategic deworming applies to goats that are stalled on wet months but were allowed to freely graze on the pasture when the grasses are dry or 1-2 days after the rain had stopped.

Animals that have been given their first deworming dose a month before the rainy season, with the second dose given at the peak of the rainy months. Though optional, three doses, too, are usually enough for two years.

These strategies work best with a holistic approach to worm control which includes the following: providing the herd with a proper pen, accompanying them with tree leaves and shrubs that’ll ensure better nutrition and minimize parasitism, and delaying grazing for partially confined animals until the sun has totally dried the grasses.

Other management practices
Aside from the abovementioned, there are few management procedures one must do to properly manage the herd. Experts advice goat raisers to disinfect their pens at least twice a month.

Identifying your herd.
To denote ownership of the goats, one must identify his herd. Due to its legal significance, branding with hot iron comes as first choice to some. Branding your goats helps in keeping a record of your animals. Tattooing or ear notching, though may be a little costly, are also two of the most common practices to properly identify your herd. Never use plastic tags- goats can easily destroy them.

Castration of unwanted male goats should take place within the first month of age, where their testicles at the time are still undeveloped. It is during this time that there’ll be less stress and bleeding. Castration is done for males for them to grow faster.

Dehorning your goats is also critical, especially in milking herds. Aside from making them more docile, dehorning helps lessen wounds during goat fights. Dehorn (luring the first two to four months using hot iron cautery.

Hoove trimming.

Same goes with trimming goats’ hooves. Use a rose pruner and a small curved knife to cut excess hooves. If left untrimmed, the hooves might cause lameness and make your herd prone to foot rot.

Keeping records.

Keeping individual records of your herd will provide you a good breeding herd program. They’re practically useful in management decisions that include proper selection of who and who not to breed. Keep a record with the following information: goat name, sire, dam, sex, method of disposal, date of birth, birth-weight, color, littermates, weight at disposal, as well as breeding information like date of breeding, date of kidding, lactation days and others.

Producing good breeds

Female goats reach puberty in 4 to 18 months but breeding is best done during its first 10 to 12 months, given their desirable weight. Does are in heat with the following signs: if mucus starts discharging from their vulva, matting the hair in their tails; if they stay near bucks and willingly let them mount them; and if they constantly urinate, feel uneasy and have lost their appetite.

It is advised by experts to keep the ratio of bucks to does in 1:25, thus limiting yearling bucks to 25 does a year. However, older bucks can cover up to 75 doe services.

In the beginning, introduce the doe to the buck and not to the doe herd. It will be dangerous to mix bucks with a herd of pregnant does for they might breed indiscriminately. Does’ failure to come in heat is another problem that you might encounter. This can be caused by mineral, vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies, infection of the genital tract and other hormone deficiencies.

Although, also check your buck’s health condition before breeding, especially their genitor-urinary tract. Preputial scraping, blood and sperm tests are also some useful procedures that can help you to better manage your bucks. Always consult a vet before during these tests.

Free mating may cause breeding of immature females that could impede their growth, shrink their vigor and produce offsprings of low birth, weaning and mature weights. Control in breeding can also reduce chances of parasitism in your herd and increase profits. A new technology option-which others call `controlled mating’adopts a change in the management of free-grazed goats.

Mating can be done during April to December, where kidding will fall towards the end of the rainy season the year after. Proper timing is everything.

Embryo technology and artificial insemination
Though not yet as common as other breeding techniques in the country, Embryo Technology contributes to a faster pace of genetic improvement and more reasonable costs. All one needs is to surgically transfer the embryo of a boer, even to native goats. The developed fetus of the boer will not inherit whatever traits the host goat has, but instead preserve the integrity of the boer quality.

Artificial Insemination (AI), another breeding procedure used even to humans is done by collecting semen and then introducing it into the uterus with sexual interaction. It is used in animals to propagate desirable characteristics of one male to many females or overcome breeding problems, particularly in the cases of animals such as pigs, dogs, horses, cattle and even honeybees. Process includes collecting the Semen, extending, and then cooling or freezing it. It can then be used on site or shipped to the female’s location through a small plastic tube holding the frozen semen referred to as a “straw”. For the sperm to remain viable before and after it is frozen, the semen is then mixed with a solution containing either glycerol or other cryoprotectants. A solution that allows the semen from a donor to impregnate more females by making insemination possible with fewer sperm is then used. Antibiotics like streptomycin are sometimes added to the sperm to control some venereal diseases that the offspring might inherit if the insemination is successful.

One must follow the following guidelines to ensure successful breeding procedure: Since goat semen is very sensitive, always keep it warm. If a heated facility is unavailable, use a heating pad or hot water to keep the semen and other related equipment at proper temperature. Deposit the semen deep intracervically and very slowly. Rapid expulsion can damage sperm cells and cause irritation of the doe’s reproductive tract. Most inseminators agree that conception is most successful when breeding is done during the later third of standing heat. For best results, inseminate does that have regular recurring heats and no history of breeding or kidding problems. Never attempt to inseminate a doe on her first heat cycle of the season.

Also, keep a detailed record of your At breedings, noting factors like color, consistency of cervical mucus, difficulties in cervical penetration and other important information.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 01/26/2013 12:46 AM

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, however before end I am reading this fantastic paragraph to improve my experience.

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