Goat Farming in Nigeria (Beginners Guide)

Picture of a goat looking at you

Goat farming is a lucrative business and it's still untapped in every way. 

Keyword : Goat, Farming, Nigeria.

1. Introduction 

Goat farming is a branch of Animal husbandry which has to do with the raising and breeding of domesticated goats (Cepra aegagrus hircus). These animals are herbivores in nature and are mostly breeded for their Meat, milk, Fibre and skin. 
Goat farming business is a very lucrative business and it's yearly demands are increasing. This is because goat meat are not discriminated by any religion or tradition. The beautiful thing about this animals is that they don't descrimate when it comes to feed quality. They also have a remarkable feed conversion rate making them one of the ideal Animals to domesticate. This set of animals do not require large area of land or pasture before being domesticated.

Goat breeds in Nigeria 

  • West African Dwarf 
  • Sokoto Maradi Red 
  • Sahel/Desert/West African long-legged goat. 

Other goat breeds around the world 

Toggenburg goat, Orobica, Murciana Goat, Barbari goat, Kaghani Goat, Angora goat, Black Bengal goat, Kamori, Damascus Goat, American Lamancha Goat, Zhongwei Goat, Beetal, Alpine goat, British Alpine, Spanish Goat, Changthangi,Verata goat, Blond Adamellan, Fainting Goat, Appenzell Goat, Booted Goat, Sable, SaanenKalahari Red, Girgentana, Anglo-Nubian goat, Pygmy goat, Sahelian Goat, Boer goat. 

2. 2008 goat population statistics 

According to the data fetched from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Wikipedia. Nigeria is the leading producers of goat in Africa with a total of 53.8 million livestock and 0.26 million Metric tonnes of goat meat as of 2008.

3. Why you should venture into Goat Farming 

AgroReader you might be asking yourself some amazing questions like why you should venture into goat farming what's the profit like and how will the market accommodate new goat farmers. This and many more questions can be overwhelming, although this article cannot cover that, but the next published article will give you a good business plan on the subject matter so stay tuned.
I am going to give you a quick profit overview of what to gain in venturing into goat farming business.

Let's make a rough Estimate ;

Adult goats can weigh anywhere between 100 to 350 pounds, this weight is highly dependent on their breed, health and nutritional status
Now let's say you have a breed of goat that is due for harvest and it weighs about 100 pounds (45.36 kg).
Goat prices are highly dependent on location you can sell at an average of 8000 to 12000 naira depending on the breed and weight of the goat. So now out of fairness let's take an average from this price 8000+12000= 20000/2 = 10000 Naira. 
Now your 100 pounds goat should sell at a starting price 10000 naira. Imagine you have 200 more goats to service the market we will be having 9000 x 200= 2,000,000 Naira. Let's take away 20% as production cost (rough estimation) . 20/100 x 2,000,000= 400,000 naira/ year of pure profit. 
Disclaimer: the calculation and profit estimation is based on the assumption that you passed the 2-3 years of livestock breeding. 

4. Guide in setting up a goat farm 

1. Species Selection 

AgroReaders, I always like starting my point with either varietal or species selection, it's no mistake from my end it's just experience. You need to know the type of species or breed of goat you are going to raise before thinking of housing or any other related point. Because most times the species has an influence in housing so my advice is for you to settle on a breed that is high in meat or in milk depending on your intended need.
Hint :
When you are choosing a kid for the main purpose of milking and cheese make sure to examine her mother’s udder, this will give you a preview of what’s to come.

2. Site selection

Site selection is very important if you are to start any agricultural enterprise. Carry out a feasibility study of the location you intend setting your goat house. Some factors should be considered when choosing a site;
  • The land most be motor able and it most be close to the market
  • The land is to be close to clean source of water with a landscape of pasture. This can help easy grazing
  • The site you intend to use should be close to a vertinary service. 
  • You most check the area for any related farm land in case of airborne diseases from the other farms ( sorry to derail but I had my white maize pollinated by a yellow maize because of poor feasibility. Story for another day).

3. Fencing

This is an essential part of any animal farmer who is willing to go commercial. For you to keep your livestock from wandering off you need to fence your farm parameters. A good fencing material such as mahogony wood or even barbed wire fencing are a good choice of fencing. This helps prevent predators from attacking your livestock and even prevent theft. The fence should be between 1.2 to 1.5m tall.

4. Housing

My recommendation will be based on what you aim to do with the goats that you want to breed, are they meant for homemade consumption or for commercial consumption. If the former is the case then there would be no need in building a separate pen for them all you need do is to incorporate your goats with your sheep's if there are any but avoid overcrowding them.
For commercial use
Build pen that is well ventilated, free of diseases and rodents, make sure the pen is free of dampness and the hay or straw are free from mold and fungus infection. The pen should be build in a way that it allows rays of sunlight into it. Adequate fencing should be made to keep external predators from attacking them.
One goat require at least 250 sq ft of space. So 200 goats x 250 sq ft = 50,000 (0.46 ha) sq ft of space. 

Goat house design (click image to enlarge) 

5. Pasture

Better pasture area equals to reduced cost and increase in productivity. Grazing place also helps to keep your goats healthy.

6. Feeding

You need to feed your livestock with high quality feed that is fresh and free of mold. Incorporate calcium in your feed formulation to aid better build up of bones and teeth for chewing. Practice hydroponics if you have the funds it will help you in the long run, when done right you can even sell to other livestock farmers. For better milk production and enhanced growth, feed goat with feed containing 15 to 20 % protein content. You can plant grasses on open field, this will save cost. But most importantly feed your livestock with high quality feed and clean water and since goats are good feed converters you will see immediate improvement in them.

7. Veterinary Service

Yes even goats needs doctors and most times they need them more than you do. Always seek for professional advice from vets and at least have a common knowledge of some common symptoms exhibited by your livestock this can save you money and will let you better understand them.

8. Marketing

Marketing is key and a good marketing plan lands you a good profit. Most farmers makes mistakes by waiting till harvest before letting people know they have livestock, this is a no for me. Go out and let people know that you are breeding goats for commercial purpose. Build links and get contact,this is key to any business that is just starting.
A good farm manager is a happy farmer, see your farm as a business and your Farm will give you back profit. 

Something to add ; 

Don't just wake up one morning and say you want to start a goat business, you need to research about it, you reading this rather lengthy article is a step in the right direction. 
The more knowledge you obtain from a business the lesser your chances of failure. 
Please feel free to SHARE this article. 

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