Whether on range or confined feeding, housing provisions are necessary. A goat house or shed must be built to provide shelter. Goats are afraid of rain and wetness as these make them prone to pneumonia. They also prefer sleeping in elevated platforms like a stair type arrangement. It must be well ventilated and drained, and easy to clean.
Feeding racks (silage, water, mineral and concentrate) should be accessible to both animals and caretaker, preferably in the front of the aisle. Flooring should be provided and elevated at least 15 degrees to facilitate cleaning and drainage.
Separate pens should be provided for lactating and dry does, kids, growers and bucks. The buck pen should be visible to breeding does yet far enough to avoid transfer of the typical goat smell especially to lactating does when milk is to be sold.
Space Requirement for Goats: Flooring (sqm) | Feeding (linear cm)
- Does/Bucks/Adults = 0.75-1.50 | 15.24-25.40
- Growing = 0.50-0.75 | 10.16-15.24
- Kids = 0.20-0.50 | 7.62-12. 70
A fenced loafing area beside the goat house must be provided (100 to 150 m2/50 hd. ), complete with feeding racks and water troughs, to allow animals to loaf freely. Flooring of the area must be cemented to facilitate drying. Cogon and nipa as roof materials are preferred in hot and humid areas.
Ventilation is of utmost importance. Majority of pneumonia cases can be traced to excessively warm anQ humid interior and sudden changes in temperature. Allow a 0.5 to 1 ft clearance between floor to wall and wall to beam to create an adequate circulation and to lower draft. It is desirable to maintain an interior temperature of 28 to 30°C. It has been established that above 30°C ruminants are inhibited from eating.
Lighting may also be provided in the barns during the night. Goats consume up to 30% of the day’s intake during the night when light is provided.
Nine-eye hog wire is the cheapest and most effective fencing available locally. Posts must be staked every 2 meters. Goats are fond of pounding their feet and scraping their bodies on the fences so it must be sturdily built. Barbwire fencing requires a minimum of four strands so it becomes more costly besides making goats prone to wounds.
A well developed/improved pasture can carry up to 15 head/ha. When a combine grazing confinement method is observed, provision of a developed 3 ha./50 heads. Pasture divided into 9 paddocks will be desirable. Separate pasture paddocks should be provided for the dry doe, buck kids and growers. Pasturing during the cool times of the day is commonly due.
D. Care of Dry and Pregnant Doe
If the doe is being milked, dry (stop milking) at least 1 & 1/2 to 2 months before kidding date. This will give her enough reserve for the next lactation. Put all dry does in one compartment. One week before kidding, place her in a separate kidding pen. This can be predicted by swelling and discharge from the vulva, engorgement and waxing of the teats and constant lying down of the doe. Avoid any form of noise in the kidding area. Sometimes it is necessary to help the pregnant doe during the kidding, especially to native does bred with pure bucks because the kids are bigger. Dystocia, or difficult delivery, is common in these cases.
Be sure that the presentation is right before attempting to pullout the kid. In anterior presentation, both front legs and head are presented and in posterior presentation, both hind limbs come out at the same time. Oversized kids should be pulled out with an even, continuous pressure. In difficult cases, it is best to see a practicing veterinarian.
E. Care of the Lactating Doe and Newborn Kids
Immediately after delivery, wipe the kid’s mouth, nose and body with a clean, dry cloth and massage the thoracic area to initiate breathing.
Normally, the mother does this, but sometimes the mother is too weak to do it. Be sure no mucus is clogging the airways. The kids must be able to suck within one hour. For very weak kids, feeding collostrum through a stomach tube usually produces dramatic results.
First time mother sometime are reluctant to suckle their young due to udder pain caused by over engorgement of milk. Restraining the doe for the first suckling will usually relieve udder pain. If colostrum in the udder is not fully consumed by the kid, stripping (manually milking out excess) will be necessary to prevent mastitis. The placenta must come out within 24 hours from expulsion of the fetus.
Tie the umbilical cord with a sterile string and apply disinfectant. Allow the kids to suckle for the first 4 to. S days. If the doe is to be milked, separate the kids from the mother and start feeding using a baby bottle (8 oz. Size), (refer to feeding guide for dosage). If the doe is not to be milked, the doe can be taken out of the pen for feeding and returned to the kid three times a day and the whole night. This method will ensure greater livability to the kid by not exposing it to the elements, and proper feeding of the doe. Does weaned early (4 to 5 days) usually return to heat after 1 to 2 months.
When the doe comes into heat, introduce it to the buck, not vice-versa. Two services a day for two days is an optimum. If the doe does not conceive, heat may return in 8 to 12 days. Higher conception is accomplished in the secondary heat. If breeding is successful, milk production drops after one month and the right side of the abdomen starts to fill up.
Milking periods must be established and strictly adhered. If milking is done twice a day, e.g. 6 AM and 6 PM, the process should not be delayed or advanced. Possibly, same personnel should be used. Goats can withhold milk, so unnecessary changes in the routine should be avoided.
E2. Milk Quickly and Continuously
Milk let down can be initiated by washing the udder with lukewarm water and wiping with a clean towel. All milking utensils, especially the milkers’ hands, must be thoroughly cleaned.
E3. Feed Concentrates During Milking
This serves as incentive to the goats for them to enjoy and look forward.
Contrary to popular belief, properly drawn and processed goat milk have no offending smell. During milking, the buck should not be near the doe to avoid transfer of the typical goat smell to the milk.
F. Care of Weanling and Growing Kids
Place all weaned kids in a separate pen, and if possible, according to size. If male kids are to be raised for meat, castrate as early as possible, preferably within the first month. If female are to be raised for milking, check for excess teats and have them removed. Horn buds usually appear within the first to third month. De-horn when buds reach the size of a fingernail. Separate males from females at the age of four months. Goats sometimes reach puberty at this age.
Start breeding females at 8 to 10 months. Bucks can start breeding at the same age.
G. Care of the Breeding Buck
The breeding buck must always be confined separately but always visible to the does. The buck is the source of the typical goat smell such that direct contact with the doe must be avoided. Provide a loafing area. One to two years old buck can make 25 to 50 doe services a year, an older buck more.
Does reach puberty from 4 to 18 months. Best breeding age will be 10 to 12 months, depending on desired weight. Limit yearling buck services to 25 doe services/year. Older bucks can cover up to 75/year.
Buck to doe ratio is 1 :25.
H1. Reproductive Characteristics of Goats
- Age of puberty = 4- 8 months
- Cycle of type = Polyestrus
- Cycle length = 18 -21 days
- Duration of heat = 2- 3 days (secondary Heat: 8- 12 days after)
- Gestation period = 150 (+/-) 5 days
- Best breeding time = Daily during estrus
H2. Signs of Heat or Estrus:
- Mucus discharge from the vulva, causing matting of tail hair.
- Uneasiness, constant urination, lack of appetite and bleating.
- Seeks out or stays near the buck and lets herself be mounted.
When breeding, always introduce the doe to the buck, not to the doe herd. Particularly when bucks have not been used for a long time, it will be dangerous to mix it with a herd of pregnant does for d1ey will breed indiscriminately. Two to four breedings during the heat period will suffice.
It is highly impractical if not economical to raise pure breed goats, unless the main purpose is to sell breeders. The preferred method will be to upgrade local native or grade does with pure bucks. Crossbreeds usually perform better than pure ones under local conditions. Infusion of two or more bloodlines into the native doe will elicit a better product due to hybrid vigor. Three-way crosses between the native, any of three Occidental breeds and the Nubian has produced a greatly superior animal than any of the three under our conditions.
Higher milk production should be the main consideration for it will not only mean bigger kid but also more milk for human consumption. A maximum infusion of75% foreign bloodline must be observed to retain the natural resistance of the native. Never practice inbreeding unless fully knowledgeable in breeding techniques. On the other hand, intensive culling, especially in milking herds, will largely be beneficial.
Dystocia is very common in crossing natives with large pure breeds due to the invariably large size of the unborn kids. Crossbreed birth weights of up to four kilos for multiple births and up to six kilos for single births have been observed while native birth weights reach only 2 and 4 kilos for multiple and single births, respectively. Thus, in crossbreeding, large native does with a minimum weight of25 kilos or more and those that have given birth at least once, should be used.
Providing human assistance during birth will also be of help in saving kids, but this should be done only when necessary.
Anestrus, or failure to come in heat, is a common problem most particularly with high-producing does. Vitamin, mineral and other nutrient deficiencies, infections of the genital tract and hormone deficiencies are some of the various causes. Several hormones, like prostaglandin, progesterone sponges and implants and pregnant mare serum (PMS) have been used with varying rates of success.
Routine administration of oxytocin right after kidding and before weaning (5 days) aids in faster expulsion of the placenta, uterine fluids and in the rapid regression of the uterus. Routine Vitamin A, D & E injections to breeding herds also contribute to reproductive well being.
Fifty percent of breeding problems can be traced to the buck used. Routine check up of the bucks’ health condition, especially of the , genito-urinary tract, should be done. Preputial scraping, blood tests and, sperm motility tests are some very useful procedures to follow in , successful buck management.
Always consult a trained veterinarian to do these tests.