Raising Goats (Part 1)
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.
Sixty-three percent of the world’s total meat consumption can be credited to goat meat. According to www.boergoatshome.com, 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 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.
To be continued…