Zero-grazing goat farming is a system of goat production in which goats are kept in a confined space and are not allowed to graze freely.
In other words, goats are kept in a shed or a small enclosure and their feed and water are brought to them.
Key Aspects of Zero-Grazing Goat Farming
The goats are kept in a shelter that is designed to protect them from harsh weather conditions, predators and parasites.
The housing should be well-ventilated and have enough space for the goats to move around.
A full-grown goat requires a space of 0.5 to 0.75 square meters on average.
The housing must also be damp-proof and should not have a leaking roof.
Plus, it should be free from pests and sharp objects.
The goats are fed a balanced diet consisting of foder (Napier grass and green leaves).
They’re also given protein supplements, such as sweet potato vines, calliandra leaves, dairy meal, pulses, wheat bran, fish meal, and cotton seed cake.
Additionally, they’re given salt to lick. MACLIK MINERAL BRICK is the best salt for goats.
The feed is provided to them in troughs or on the floor of the enclosure.
The feeding schedule should be consistent and the goats should have access to clean water at all times.
The goats should be regularly vaccinated and treated for parasites and diseases. This helps cushion them from highly contagious diseases, such as PPR, goat pox, tetanus and goat pneumonia.
The vaccination should be done after two weeks or monthly depending on the veterinary specialist’s instructions.
Also, deworm goats after 2- 3 months. The best dewormer is NILVERM available at Cooper K-brands.
Also, control ticks by washing your flock with water containing acaricide or you can walk them through a foot bath that contains 5% copper sulfate.
The breeding of goats in zero-grazing systems is usually done through artificial insemination to ensure that the best genetics are passed on to the next generation.
While zero-grazing goat farming is not commonly used for milk production, goats are good sources of milk.
Milking is done by hand or with a machine, and the milk is stored and transported in clean, sanitized containers.
Related: Where to Sell Goat Milk in Kenya
What Are The Costs Associated With Zero-Grazing Goat Farming?
Here are some of the main costs associated with zero-grazing goat farming:
Building a goat shelter can be costly. The type of housing required will depend on the number of goats and the climate in the area.
A simple shed that holds 100 goats may cost you approximately Ksh 100, 000.
A more elaborate structure with ventilation and insulation that holds 300 goats could cost you more than Ksh 250,000.
The cost of foder can vary depending on the quality and availability in the area.
Most farmers in Kenya grow their own foder. But those who don’t have to buy.
When you add the cost of foder and supplements, it costs between Ksh 1500 to Ksh 2000 to feed one goat per month.
The cost of labour will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of zero grazing goat farming being undertaken, the number of goats being kept, and the specific needs of the goats (such as feed or shelter).
For 100 goats, the cost of labour averages Ksh 10, 000.
This cost may include the salaries of the farmer(s), the costs associated with feeding and caring for the goats, and any additional costs associated with maintaining the farm (such as fencing or shelter).
The cost of vaccinations, treatments for parasites and diseases, and regular veterinary care can also add up over time.
You’ll need between Ksh 2000 to Ksh 5000 for the health management of 100 goats per month.
Zero grazing vs. Extensive systems
Benefits of Zero-Grazing Goat Farming over extensive systems
- Better control over the environment: In zero-grazing systems, the goats are kept in a confined space and the environment can be closely controlled. This allows for better management of the goats’ health and well-being and reduces their exposure to predators and diseases. In extensive systems, goats are allowed to wander, which makes it hard to control them.
- Higher milk production: Zero-grazing systems are generally associated with higher milk production compared to extensive systems. This is because the goats are fed a balanced diet and have consistent access to feed and water.
- Higher quality milk: Because the goats in zero-grazing systems are fed a consistent diet and are kept in a clean environment, the milk they produce is generally of higher quality compared to milk from goats in extensive systems.
- Lower risk of predation and theft: Because the goats are kept in a secure environment, there is a lower risk of predation by wild animals or theft by humans.
Disadvantages of zero grazing goats compared to an extensive system
Here are some of the challenges of zero-grazing goat farming compared to extensive systems:
- Higher startup costs: Zero-grazing systems generally require higher capital investment compared to extensive systems due to the cost of constructing or renovating a shelter, purchasing feeding and watering equipment, and other infrastructure.
- Higher feed costs: In zero-grazing systems, the goats rely entirely on purchased feed and are not able to graze on natural vegetation. This can result in higher feed costs compared to extensive systems, where goats are able to obtain much of their food from natural sources.
- Increased labor requirements: In zero-grazing systems, the goats require more intensive care and management, including regular feeding, cleaning, and monitoring. This can result in increased labor requirements compared to extensive systems.
- Increased risk of disease and parasite infestations: Because the goats are kept in a confined space, there is an increased risk of disease and parasite infestations in zero-grazing systems. This requires careful monitoring and management to prevent outbreaks and maintain the health of the herd.
- Reduced genetic diversity: In zero-grazing systems, the breeding of goats is often done through artificial insemination, which can result in reduced genetic diversity in the herd. This can make the herd more susceptible to disease and reduce its overall productivity.
- Limited social interaction: In zero-grazing systems, the goats are kept in a confined space and have limited social interaction with other goats. This can result in behavioral problems and reduced well-being for the animals.
Is Zero-Grazing Goat Farming Profitable?
Whether zero-grazing goat farming is profitable depends on a variety of factors, such as market demand, pricing, production costs, and management practices.
However, with proper management, zero-grazing goat farming can be profitable.
If you can achieve high milk yields, better quality milk, and reduce labor costs and lower the risk of theft and predation, then you can get a decent return from zero grazing goat farming investment.
For instance, a mature, healthy goat that weighs 35 to 40 kilograms can fetch up to Ksh 7000.
You can also sell other goat by-products, such as hides and skin, fibers, and manure to boost your income.
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