7.0 HUSBANDRY PRACTICES
|At the end of this session farmers should be able to: Know the different housing systems for goats and their attributes Construct appropriate goat housing structures Use dentition to determine the age of the goats so as to influence management decisions|
The main reasons why goats are housed:
- To make management easier
- To reduce kid/adult mortalities
- To reduce predation/theft
Goats should be housed to protect them from bad weather for example rain, sun and. Wind. Each adult goat should be allowed a floor space of 1.5 square metres. For example if one has 10 goats then the house/pen should be 1.5*10 which is 15 square metres.
Types of housing
(a). Walled and Roofed
- The wall is usually up to one metre high.
- Well ventilated
- Protects animals from wetness during the rainy season
- Easy to clean
- It is warm
*In some cases the wall could be made from pole and dagga and the roof from thatch grass or stover. This can be designed to accommodate different flock sizes.
(b) Raised floor with wooden walls, flat roof and a feeding area
- Warm and easy to clean
- Animals can be fed at the pens
- Floor is well drained resulting in reduced foot rot incidences
This is usually ideal for small to medium size flocks
(c) Poles only with no roof
- Well ventilated
- Floors get wet and increase foot rot cases
- Cheap to construct
- Expose animals to rain, heat, cold and draughts.
These structures can be upgraded.
Dentition is often used to determine the ages of goats. Goats have no teeth in the upper jaw but have eight front teeth (incisors) in the lower jaw. Towards the back of the mouth goats have large teeth called molars used for chewing.
- In animals less than one year the front teeth are small and sharp. This is the milk tooth stage
- At one year the centre pair of teeth drops out and two large ones replace them. This is the two tooth stage.
- At about two years to the next two small teeth (one on each side of the first centre pair) drop out and two large ones emerge. This is the four tooth stage
- At 3-4 years the next set drops out and two large ones emerge; this is the six tooth stage
- At 4-5 years the last two milk teeth drop and two large ones emerge, the goat will now be having eight permanent teeth. This is called the full mouth stage.
- As the animal grows older (from six years onwards) the teeth start to wear off, spread apart become loose and finally drop out.
At two tooth to six tooth the castrates can be marketed. Start culling at broken mouth stage for does and bucks.