FIVE MAJOR WAYS TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY GOATS
Goats’ farming is a very lucrative business, no doubt about that. I can advise any farmer to join goat farming due to the fact that keeping them is less expensive, than keeping larger or buying larger animals like a cow.
One calf bought for the purpose of cow fattening or another purpose can get you about 6 to 7 goats depending on the size and weight of the goats.
And goats can multiply geometrically if you do the right thing as explained below.
What they need and what they don’t, how to keep them healthy throughout the rearing period. Feeding them the right kind of feed etc.:
GOATS DON’T LIKE IT WET
For you to have healthy goats, you need to provide a well-ventilated environment and shade that is dry and free from moisture and dirt.
You will further complicate their problem when their movement is restricted within a poorly ventilated house or shade that is wet.
Such an environment would only breed harmful parasites, bacteria’s and diseases that could be inimical to the survival of your goats.
Irrespective of the season either raining season or dry season particularly in Africa (West Africa), winter or summer in Europe or America.
Goats love it when it is dry, with plenty of ventilation around them. It’s one of the prerequisites to guarantee healthy goats.
GOATS LOVE FREEDOM
Apart from the facts that goats are social animals meaning they like moving in groups and in the company of one another.
Healthy goats love freedom, jumping and hopping from one place to another provided they have access to food and water.
This is true when you see them in rural and semi-urban areas browsing for food.
One of their unique characteristics is that they are excellent browsers as against grazers. They select what is best and healthy for themselves.
They like feeding on different varieties of shrubs, leaves, bark of trees, picking dry matters of leaves and grass.
Most times they don’t like to be told what to do, sometimes people refer to them as stubborn animals, but they are not, that is their nature they love freedom.
READ ALSO: 4 THINGS FARMERS GET WRONG IN GOAT FARMING
Though healthy goats can also be reared in a restricted environment that is a semi-intensive or intensive system of farming.
As earlier mention, they would always require a dry environment, plenty of space, and ventilation to thrive. when they have all that they require they will pay you back by staying healthy and thrive within the shortest possible time.
PROTECTING YOUR GOATS FROM PREDATORS
There are different types of predators out there waiting to bounce on your goat, at the slightest opportunity. particularly if you allow your goats to roam about freely, without providing adequate fencing and security.
Predators such as Coyotes, Foxes, bears, Mountain Lion, etc. are all threats to the survival or existence of your goat at any time.
Having healthy goats involves investing in their safety and security.
The following ways will help you keep them safe and healthy:
Provision of bright security lights particularly at night to keep thieves and nocturnal predators and nightcrawlers at bay. For easy identification and protection of goats particularly at night, you can provide these lights in and around where your goats rest at night.
Provision of guard’s dogs to protects the goats at all times. It is very important to raise the dogs together with them So that they can be familiar with each other and work as a family. The guard dogs should be properly trained for the sole purpose of protecting your goats and warding off predators from attacking your goats.
Another way to protect your farm and your goats from predators or petty thieves is to provide a fence around the entire farm. With a good and reliable material preferable electric fence that will always ward off predators, and keep them away.
To have healthy goats, provide adequate shelter from the adverse weather condition. And always make sure the entire area is always secured by ensuring that the door or gate to your farm is always locked particularly when no one is around. This is to prevent your goat from wandering around. Because goats are great escapists, they can easily escape when giving the slightest opportunity. These can easily expose them to danger out there.
Making sure it is properly locked and kept that way particularly at night, no one gets in without your knowledge and permission.
WHAT TO FEED, TO HAVE HEALTHY GOATS
Goats are excellent browsers and prefer browsing for their feed rather than grazing, though they are also grazers.
One good quality about goats is that they are able to digest a large variety of fiber and roughage’s which keeps them going and healthy.
Goats have one very important attribute among other ruminants. They can stubbornly consume virtually every food within their reach, or at least attempt to test it without given or inviting them.
It’s a good attribute provided what they are eating is not poisonous to them. If you are planning on going into livestock farming particularly ruminants I suggest you go into the goats farming business.
For the fact that they can consume virtually most food that does not mean they should be fed less quality feed or allowed to browse for feed aimlessly.
If you are to maintain healthy goats.
Though goats love it when you allow them to roam about or fend for themselves. Notwithstanding to have healthy goats, you should endeavor to provide them additional feed supplements.
Most especially if their movement is restricted within a given area. The following basic feed will help in guarantying healthy goats.
Pasture Grass and Hay
Goats do very well on dry hay with excellent quality particularly the hay made from legumes or beans that is green and dry.
This type of hay is good for maintaining healthy goats. And is basically obtainable in mostly agrarian communities in West Africa particularly Nigeria immediately after harvests.
It usually constitutes the bulk of their diets.
Though pellets should not be their main source of food but is also a very important part of their diets if you want to maintain healthy goats.
Most pellets are formulated together with some vital minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to goats
Minerals and Vitamins
These can be administered to goats from time to time to help them feed well and also increase their appetites and in case of any deficiencies in minerals and vitamins needed by the goats.
It is very important you supplement minerals and vitamins once in a while under the recommendation of a qualified veterinary doctor in order to maintain healthy goats.
Minerals such as calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and electrolyte are all very important when given to goats from time to time.
Grains, wheat offal, maize brands can be given to goats from time to time mix with hay but not too much to supplement their feeding.
However be careful not to feed your goat too much grain, because it might present them with some health issues such as bloating.
In addition to the type of feeds given to the goat above. The following precaution is to be taken in order to maintain healthy goats, and to avoid unnecessary healthy issues:
To maintain healthy goats, the grains provided should be free from mold, and should be of high quality, properly
Always provide your goat with clean clear drinking water at all times.
The bulk of their food should constitute high-quality hay and forage.
In having healthy goats, avoid moisture and wetness will help in reducing the incidence of diseases.
ESSENTIAL MEDICATION TO HAVE AT HOME TO KEEP HEALTHY GOATS
Though it is very wrong to provide the services of a veterinary doctor yourself. If you are not a trained and licensed veterinary doctor.
There are some basic drugs and multivitamins you are supposed to have at home as a goat farmer in order to have healthy goats.
It should be administered with the advice and supervision of a vet.
Some of the basic medications include:
Antibacterial: Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as L.A oxytetracycline, tylosin, etc.
Anthelmintics for both internal and external parasites and dewormers: Such as albendazole, ivermectin, levamisole, etc depending on your region, it comes with different brand names.
Mineral and multivitamins as explained above are essential and should be given at intervals. It will always help in keeping healthy goats.
It is also important to have disinfectant. This is to keep the environment clean and free from bacterial infections. There are different brands of disinfectants in the markets, just choose a good disinfectant whenever you are in need of one.
In Addition to all the medication above it is very important you vaccinate your goat against the major disease that might be endemic in your area. In this regards it is very important you consult with your local veterinary doctor for more knowledge on the vaccination schedule available or relevant in your country or community for maintaining healthy goats.