The content of the goat is within the power of any private household, including a novice. Forage for a goat is required at times less than a cow, and on the table there will be milk every day. If you seriously engage in the cultivation of goats, you can get good income from the sale of meat, milk, wool, down and skins. The following are the basics of breeding and keeping goats for beginners.
Before buying a goat, you need to decide on priority products. Among the goat breeds, there are three main areas:
Private household owners most often raise goats for milk. Goat milk is very healthy, tasty and fatty (4-6%). For unpretentiousness and profitability, goats in past centuries began to be called "cows of the poor."
In the world there are about two hundred officially registered breeds of goats, and their subspecies are even greater. In addition to the three main breeds of goats, several more types of goats are distinguished:
Beginning goat breeders, as a rule, raise goats of milk direction.
Choosing a milking breed, inspect the exterior of the goat. External signs by which to distinguish a female with good milk yield:
- the head is small, light and graceful;
- the skeleton is well formed;
- the back is straight and the chest is wide;
- legs are flat, set wide;
- the udder is spherical or pear-shaped, with well-developed nipples.
A large udder does not mean that the goat is high milk. If the udder does not subside after milking, it means there is a lot of adipose tissue in it.
Among dairy breeds, in addition to high milk yield, they also appreciate:
- taste and nutritional characteristics of milk;
- early maturation of goats;
The most popular dairy breeds in Russia are mixed breeds - dairy-meat and dairy-wool. Our goats breeders especially appreciate the breeds:
Having gained experience with dairy goats, you can try to breed downy breeds. Exterior of downy breeds:
- impressive dimensions - the larger the dimensions, the greater the down productivity;
- the line of the back and sacrum is even;
- large chest circumference;
- legs are straight and powerful;
- the head is small;
- the body is uniformly overgrown;
- the hair on the head is not stiff, drooping of the hair over the eyes is welcome.
Buy down goats before shearing and combing wool. Down goat breeders prefer these breeds:
- mountain Altai;
- black down;
- Soviet woolen.
Cashmere, Volgograd and Turkmen down goats are slightly less bred.
During the season, one down goat gives up to 700 g of down. In addition, breeders get the skin, which goes to the manufacture of gloves, shoes, warm clothes.
Goat meat tastes like lamb, but is considered healthier than it. In the countries of the Middle East, goat meat is used for therapeutic nutrition - it is eaten for diseases of the circulatory, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, for diabetes and gastrointestinal tract problems. Popular meat breeds:
In Russia, goat meat is not particularly valued, therefore, meat goat breeding is not developed. In Russia, these animals are bred mainly for milk and fluff.
Descriptions of popular dairy, down and meat breeds are in table 1.
|Low milk production. High palatability of meat. It tastes like veal. There is no specific goat smell.|
|Fat milk. Small annual milk yield - 500 l. An adult female weighs about 50 kg, a male - 60 kg. Maximum - 75 kg.|
|The famous Swiss breed. Color - snow-white. Very large goats, males reach 100 kg, females - 90 kg. Annual milk yield - 1000 liters of milk. Record holders give up to 2000 liters. Thick milk with a delicate creamy taste. It makes excellent cheese, butter, cottage cheese.|
|Bred in Switzerland. The suit is brown, on the face are white stripes. A little less than Saanen, males weigh 60 kg, females - 50 kg.|
|The annual milk yield is only 250 liters. The weight of males and females is 60 and 45 kg, respectively. Down is gray, short, thin. Rarely white. Annual fleece - 300 g. Record holders give up to 800 g. Light and elegant things are knitted from Orenburg fluff.|
|Goats are medium sized. Adapted to the steppe. Males give more fluff than females - up to 1000 g. Fluff combed in winter and autumn is especially good.|
Where does breeding start?
In order to breed goats, you need to get kids or a pregnant goat. When buying a female expecting a litter, specify when the mating took place. This is necessary to know in order to prepare for lambing. Goat breeders are advised to take goats or a goat from the uterus, which has established itself as a highly milking individual with a high quality rune - these features are inherited from the mother.
Different-sex kids are kept apart. The first mating of goats is organized at one and a half year old. The optimal age of the goat is 2-5 years. There should not be close family ties between the goat and the goat. The goat's mother should be a high-milk goat, then the future offspring will be productive in milk.
Criteria for choosing and buying kids
If you decide to buy kids for divorce, take young animals 2-4 weeks old. When choosing kids, you need to pay attention to the following points:
- Motor abilities. The chances of becoming a productive goat are higher in motile kids. Muscle development has a positive effect on the development of the respiratory system. It activates the metabolism, promotes rapid growth and development.
- Setting the legs - rear and front. The limbs should have a wide formulation - this is the key to a good development of the chest. Widely spaced hind legs will fit a large udder.
- Head. Should not be too narrow. Animals with narrow heads spend a lot of energy chewing roughage. Because of this, the development of narrow-headed kids will be inhibited.
- Earrings. Some goat growers claim that earrings are a sign of milk production. However, there is no scientific evidence for this. But there are plenty of problems with earrings. If a kid hurt the earrings by sticking his head somewhere, he will be very hurt - there are so many nerve endings in them. Pain will interfere with nutrition and growth. In an adult goat that has damaged earrings, milk yield may fall from the pain.
- The back . The ideal option is a flat line. There should be no humpiness or slack. As they grow older, these shortcomings will manifest themselves more and more.
- Nose and eyes. There should not be any highlight. Otherwise, you need to find out their cause.
- Mechanics of movements. You need to look at the kid in motion. His legs should move freely, without stiffness. The legs should flex freely in the joints. If the movements resemble an automatic robot, something is wrong.
After evaluating the kid by all the above criteria, it remains to conduct a visual assessment of the entire exterior. Consider the following points:
- An animal with high milk productivity has an elongated body.
- A short neck indicates a meat type of breed. Short-necked goats quickly tire on pastures - it is difficult for them to tilt their heads for a long time to eat grass. This feature will negatively affect milk productivity in the future.
When buying a kid, ask the seller - how and in what mode the animal is fed. Kids are fed in two ways - from a bowl or from a nipple. It is important to transfer the baby to a new diet gradually - so that there is no stress. Together with the kid, grab some milk with which he was fed - this will reduce stress and the risk that the baby will get sick due to moving.
Male kids are developing faster than females. They are larger, taller, more weight. But their character is more calm, they are not averse to lie down, eat more.
The age of the kids is easy to determine by weight - if you know the dynamics of weight gain. Table 2 shows the age dependence of the weight of the Saanen breed kids.
Goat House Equipment
The goathouse is equipped with stalls. Each animal has a separate stall. Separate them with wooden racks. The size of the "cell" is 2x1 m. Young goats can be put in two in one stall. But at the same time, the area is increased - 2x2 m. What else should be taken into account when equipping the goat house:
- The goats are kept away from the goats - in a separate stall.
- The kids are equipped with a separate room.
- Drinkers are installed in the stall.
In the goathouse it is recommended to equip the attic - for storing hay, feed and tools.
Conditions of detention
Goats are unpretentious and easily adapt to any climatic conditions. The optimal content at which they achieve the highest productivity is a stall-pasture. In summer, animals graze on pastures, and with the onset of cold weather they are transferred to the premises. Requirements for the premises in which the goats are kept:
- For one animal should be 4 square meters. m
- Goats do not tolerate polluted air - it is necessary to equip high-quality ventilation in the goat house.
- In the northern regions, goatlings are insulated, and in frosts they are heated.
- The floors in the room where the goats are kept are made with a slight bias.
- Goats do not like high humidity. It is necessary to ensure normal humidity conditions.
- The optimum temperature in the goat house is from +18 to + 20 ° С. The minimum temperature is + 8 ° C. In the room for kids the temperature should not fall below + 12 ° С.
- They make windows in the shed - for natural lighting. Milk productivity depends on the length of daylight hours.
- A manger filled with hay is installed in the room, and feeders are installed above them.
- The floors are covered with dry straw, hay or sawdust. Thanks to the litter, additional heat is generated, which reduces heating costs.
- Near the barn equip a paddock. Make a canopy and set the carbs.
- Goats like to sleep on a small hill. For them they equip sleeping places - couches from dies. You can do it easier - put on the floor boards, animals will be happy to sleep on them.
In the following video you can see an example of conditions for keeping goats:
Goats are not recommended to be kept in stalls on a leash. Restrictions on movement negatively affect milk yield.
Maintenance in the warm season
With the onset of heat, the goat is cleaned with special care. While the room is cleaned, the goats are moved under a canopy.
- Straw litter replacement.
- Washing walls, floors, stalls. Wash the goat with a warm solution of soda. They also use laundry soap. After washing - airing and drying the room.
- Whitewashing the walls with lime.
In warm weather, while the weather is favorable, goats graze for days on pasture. Goats are driven out after the dew has dried. The pasture season begins when the grass cover has taken root. Before releasing to the pasture:
- in goats, hair is cut near the eyes - if necessary;
- plenty of water - so as not to drink dirty water from puddles;
- give hay in front of the pasture - so as not to overeat.
When goats get used to grazing grass, hay top dressing can be stopped. In the morning, animals are sent to the pasture worse, and then transferred to areas with more succulent grass.
Goats do not like heat. The sun can even cause them to heat stroke. That is why the herd is driven to graze as early as possible - at dawn. When heat comes, animals must hide in the shade. It is recommended to pause grazing at such intervals:
- from 10 to 11 hours;
- from 14 to 16 hours.
When the heat leaves, the animals return to the pasture, where they feed until dark. Young growth can also be grazed, but if it is cool outside, they should be looked after so that they do not lie on the ground.
Goats are not recommended to be grazed in the rain and before the rain - these animals are too sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure. If the animal grazes alone, it must be tied - a collar is put on the neck.
With the onset of autumn cool goats are transferred to stalls. The transition occurs gradually - within 7-10 days. The rate of hay is gradually increased, and the time spent in the pasture is reduced.
While being kept in stalls, they take care of maintaining the health of animals - they fight with helminths and other parasites, which, weakening the immunity of animals, provoke various diseases.
Goat keeping in winter
With the onset of cold weather, goats are not only transferred to the winter diet, but also provide them with comfort. The winter period of the goat is carried out indoors. At night, in the goathouse they turn on the light - this helps to maintain high milk yield. The optimum temperature in the goat house is + 18 ... + 20 ° С. The minimum allowable is + 6 ... + 8 ° С.
In winter, cattle should be on the street every day for 3-4 hours, no less. If you limit the goats in motion, they feel worse, milk yield falls, and reproductive function suffers. Walking is especially important for downy breeds - they are not afraid of cold, especially if the weather is not windy. Down goats walk longer than other breeds. Goats are fed and sung on the street - in the pen, in a stable, feeding is arranged unless in snowfall or rain.
The regimen and diet of feeding
It is not difficult to feed goats; these are unpretentious animals in nutrition. They are happy to eat any food, so it’s easy to keep them. In order for the milk yield to be at its best and the offspring to be healthy, it is important to provide the goats with a complete diet. In summer, the main food of the goat tribe is green grass, in winter - hay. The grass should be succulent and the hay must be of good quality. To milk goat gave 8 liters of milk per day, you need to feed it generously and correctly.
- The first meal is given in 6-7 hours.
- The second - at 12-13 hours.
- The third is at 18-19 hours.
Milking goats are given more feed. Water should be freely available.
It is forbidden to feed goats:
- potatoes green in the sun;
- sour silage;
- rotten vegetables and fruits;
- grain with insects.
Grazing on pastures, the goat eats about 7 kg of grass during the day. However, for good yields, this is not enough. To get 8 liters of milk per day, you need to introduce concentrates into the diet of goats. This is especially important in the hot period when the grass loses its juiciness and burns out.
Two types of concentrates are given to goats - legumes and grains. Animals are given them in a crushed state. The daily norm for one goat is 500 g. Also in the summer diet should be present:
- leftovers from the kitchen;
- salt - give 15-20 g per day;
- chalk - 12 g;
- bone meal - 12 g.
Summer daily routine is in table 3.
Times of Day
|Morning||Give compound feed. They get it. They drive for grazing.|
|Day||Goats graze in the pasture.|
|Evening||They give table scraps, cabbage, potatoes, fruits, juicy food. Give feed again.|
|For the night||Lay hay in a day nursery.|
A dairy goat should receive 6 liters of water daily, a dead goat receives half as much - 3 liters.
Examples of a daily diet that will suit any type of goat:
- meadow grass - 6-8 kg, alfalfa hay - 1 kg, haylage - 2.5 kg;
- oats - 4 kg, meadow hay - 1 kg;
- walking on a pasture - here goats eat as much grass as they want, green oats - 4 kg.
In winter, the feed is made up of roughage - hay and straw. Hay is considered more nutritious, deciduous is especially appreciated. The approximate diet is 3 kg per goat.
To spend less hay, goats are given brooms harvested from the summer. Use the calculation formula - instead of 1 kg of hay give about 2 kg of brooms. Also in winter they give juicy feed:
- Vegetables. You can give dried, raw, boiled. Before feeding, they are washed and ground.
- Fruits. This is a treat and a vitamin supplement. It can be given in any form.
- Silage. The main juicy food in the winter. Harvested from the summer, warehousing garden tops. Positive effect on milk yield.
- Food waste. Combined feed, chalk and bone meal are added to them.
Compound feed is more profitable to buy ready-made. To cook it yourself, you still need to buy a grain mill, and observe the proportions.
Goats are given lick salt. On the day of the milking goat, 8 g of salt is enough, pregnant - 25 g.
Winter meals are shown in table 4.
Times of Day
|Morning||Vegetables or food waste give with 1/2 daily feed rate. Add hay and brooms.|
|Day||Hay, brooms and vegetables|
|Evening||Hay, succulent feed and the remaining feed.|
Feed is always given at the same time. Feed delivery - three times a day. Feed delivery sequence:
- Feed is given first. It is not given in its pure form, but as a thick porridge or swill.
- Juicy feed.
When preparing a swill from a compound feed, boiling water cannot be used - it will destroy part of the nutrient components.
Examples of winter rations:
- hay from clover - 2 kg, crushed beets - 2 kg, ground oats - 400 g;
- meadow hay - 2 kg, forage cabbage - 3 kg;
- alfalfa hay - 1.5 kg, meadow grass hay - 0.5 kg, a mixture of ground oats and carrots - 2.5 kg.
During pregnancy, goats require enhanced nutrition. From three months, the need for nutrients doubles. But you can’t overfeed the goat, otherwise there will be a threat of miscarriage. After lambing, the digestive system of the goat is weakened - rehabilitation is needed. Over the course of a week, the goat that has been nourished is fed only light, quickly digestible food.
Suitable products are:
- finely chopped vegetables;
- hay from legumes.
When the week after lambing passes, the animal is transferred to the classic diet. During the feeding period, the goat is fed mainly with fresh hay and root crops - 3-4 kg each.
Brooms for the winter are harvested from June 5-10. Suitable trees for harvesting are birch, willow, maple, ash, mountain ash. At the cut, the thickness of the branches should not exceed 1.5 cm. The best time for cutting branches is evening and early morning, at which time they grow, therefore they are most nutritious.
The cut branches are laid on the ground and dried for several hours - so that under the influence of the sun vitamin D is formed. After twisting the branches, they are tied with twine or twine. You can finish the brooms in the attic or in the barn. Brooms can be harvested and herbal - from nettles or corn stalks. While the brooms are dried, you need to turn them over, stir them up, it is important that they do not mold.
Mandatory drinking rules:
- The water is given clean and warm. Or at least room temperature. In winter, the water should also be warm.
- Water is given at each feeding. But it is better that the animal has access to water, and can drink when it wants.
- It is forbidden to give water to hot goats - in order to avoid a cold.
- Goats should not drink from puddles, swamps - here you can become infected with infectious diseases and parasites.
Goat maintenance without grazing
The best option for keeping goats is a stall-pasture. But not always the goat owner has the opportunity to graze animals. This content is commonly used in harsh regions. The content of goats without grazing is similar to the stall period with a stall-pasture system.
Stall maintenance does not mean that goats are constantly in the stalls. They can go outside - for them equip a fenced corral. Walking time depends on the weather. Where the climate is harsh, goats are taken for a walk in warm weather, and in severe frosts and rains are not released. Also, goats are not recommended to be hatched when the thickness of the snow cover is more than 10-15 cm. If desired, the problem is solved - the pen is cleared of snow.
They feed goats devoid of grazing with hay, grass and concentrated feed. Vitamin supplements are necessarily introduced into the diet. Bean hay is recommended - it has a lot of protein. The most important thing when keeping goats without grazing is a balanced diet.
Breeding and lambing
Goats live 10 years or more. Their reproductive period depends on the conditions of detention. If the goats are well looked after, they bring 2-5 kids a year. Maturity occurs at 6 months. Females are ready to mate in 8-9 months. Goat hunting does not depend on the season and can occur at any time. But more often, insemination happens in the fall. Then lambing occurs in February-March - this is the strongest and most healthy offspring.
For goats to be milked in winter, many goats breeders mate animals in spring.
There are several ways of mating, from which the optimal one is chosen. Experienced goat farmers use 3 variants of mating:
The most reliable method of fertilization is to get a goat-producer. Confirmation of pregnancy can be obtained after 2 months. The goat is fattening, the udder increases slightly, the animal itself becomes more calm and prudent.
Inbreeding - closely related mating, not allowed. It worsens breed characteristics, reduces productivity, leads to high incidence of young animals.
The duration of pregnancy in goats is 145-155 days. Succose females are intensely nourished by adding legumes to the diet. Milking during the formation of the fetus fall. If this does not happen, the goats are launched - they reduce the frequency of milking, and also reduce the amount of green and juicy food. When lactation ceases, resume the usual diet. The main thing is to maintain balance - the goat should eat fully, but not fatten. Obesity leads to heavy lambing.
2 weeks before giving birth, they clean the goatskin, insulate windows and doors. If the goat is healthy, labor will last 1-3 hours. Human intervention is not required. The placenta leaves 2 hours after lambing.
When a pregnant goat licks a newborn kid, it can be fed. They feed the baby directly from the udder or from a bottle with a pacifier - having previously expressed the milk of a goat.
The room where the kids are kept must be warm, the minimum temperature is + 15 ° C. If the barn is not heated, the kids need to be taken to the house.
There are two ways to grow young animals:
- Under the uterus. The goats fed by the goat mother become stronger and healthier. If the goat grows a full herd, he refuses milk in favor of young offspring.
- Without a uterus. The kids are eaten from the nipples - they are given milk for 10 days. Then they begin to feed with hay and green grass.
Weaning from milk is carried out in three months. Young growth is transferred completely to an adult diet.
How to milk a goat?
In order to quickly milk the goat, their holders equip a special device. A platform is being built - a goat is placed there, the head is placed in a latch. The latter is placed a feeder - so that during milking the goat had something to do.
Useful facts about milking goats:
- After lambing, lactation in dairy goats lasts a little less than a year, in other breeds - about six months.
- You can milk the animal immediately after lambing. The frequency of milking is twice a day. You need to milk at the same time.
- During milking, you need to behave quietly, not to scream not an animal. Goats scream milk.
- It is necessary to completely give out milk - so that mastitis does not appear.
How to milk a goat manually:
- You need to sit on the side of the goat.
- Wash the udder and wipe it dry.
- Massage the udder and nipples.
- Grabbing the nipple with your fingers - thumb and forefinger, squeeze it, pushing the milk.
- The first portion should be poured into a separate bowl - it is not drunk.
- Having milked the goat, massage the udder and wipe it with a towel.
Disease and Prevention
Goats are distinguished by good health, but they also suffer from various diseases - non-infectious, infectious, invasive, parasitic. The most common goat diseases are in table 5.
|Acute scar tympany||Flatulence, belching disorder, bloating, loss of appetite, death is possible.||Removal of gases from the scar, restoration of belching.||A sharp change in diet can provoke.|
|Infectious mastitis||An increase in the udder, it becomes hot, painful. Milkness drops, then milk disappears.||Adequate treatment. Prevention - a warm room, good nutrition.||It affects nursing females. There is an acute and chronic form.|
|Foot and mouth disease||Damage to the oral cavity, udder, hooves, fever.||Temporary isolation, washing with disinfectants.||The duration of the disease is a week. The kids have a high mortality rate. The milk of sick goats is boiled.|
|Listeriosis||Damage to the nervous system. Loss of balance, cramps. Head turned to one side.||Antibiotics. Vaccination. Disinfection of premises.||Death occurs in 10 days. The meat is cooked for two hours.|
|Leptospirosis||Temperature rise. Lethargy or agitation, convulsions, frequent urination. Urine takes on a reddish hue.||Contact to the veterinarian.||Animals usually die within 2 days. Even if they can be cured, they are not suitable for farming, so they are slaughtered for meat.|
|Fascioliasis||Parasitic disease. Fasciol larvae cause. The source of infection is pastures and standing water bodies. The liver is affected, the metabolism is upset.||Treated with carbon tetrachloride.||They carry out preventive measures.|
|Echinococcosis||Infection with parasites - sexually mature cystodes. Parasites live in internal organs.||Antiparasitic measures.||When slaughtered, organs are destroyed.|
Diseases in goats are different, but the symptoms are about the same. If the animals have the symptoms listed below, contact your veterinarian immediately:
- the temperature increased to 41-42 ° C;
- changes in behavior - depression, rapid pulse, frequent breathing;
- discharge from the ears, nose, eyes;
- swelling of the eyelids;
- plaque on the gums;
- lack of appetite and decreased milk yield.
The charm of a goat in its unpretentiousness. Without extra effort, you can easily get every day a few liters of valuable goat milk. The content of goats is even for a beginner. And if you take the matter seriously, raising goats can be a profitable business.