Stall-fed goats in intensive integrated farming

STALL-FED GOATS can ideally fit into the intensive integrated farming system (IIFS). The small animals are the most efficient converters of farm and crop residues into excellent organic manure. Several farmers have successfully run stall-fed goat farms, and they have found that such an integrated farming venture was more productive and profitable as well.

Goats relish the stalks and residues of most of the nutritious cereals, and they do well particularly when mixed with green fodder such as grasses and subabul. Special goat-feeds can be formulated using farm-grown millets and oilcakes. As the cost of the feed and also the labor gets distributed over other farming operations, the actual cost of raising the goats becomes minimal. The rich goat manure is ideal for fertilizing fishponds and all other crops. It is also a good base material for vermi-composting.

Goat farming needs less capital when compared with dairying, and the animals can be raised in small farms. The floor space requirement per adult animal is about one square meter. Stall-fed goat farming is an ideal occupation for the small, marginal and landless agricultural laborers. A properly fed and managed milky goat will yield at least as much milk (on average two liters per day) as low yielding desi cows. The she-goat will deliver 2-4 kids at each parturition after a short gestation period of 150 days.

A few exotic goats such as Saanen, Toggenburg, Angora, Anglo-Nubian, British Alpine, French Alpine have been found to be well adapted to Indian conditions, and they are crossed with superior Indian breeds to get good progeny. The popular Indian breeds are Sirohi, Jamnapari, Surti, Tellicherry, Beetal, Malabari, Barbari and Gujarati. The milky-type animals are ideal for integrated farming system.

A small shed with good cross ventilation is enough to keep a small herd. A deep-litter system with paddy husk and groundnut shell as bedding material is ideal for raising goats. The biological activity in the litter keeps the housing warm in winter and cool in summer. The bedding material will last for about six months, and after that it will have to be changed.

The bedding has to be turned periodically to remove the foul odour in the pen.

The bedding material collects all the dung and urine efficiently and it is found to be an enriched organic manure. An adult goat will add about a tone of rich manure to the farm every year.

Though the goats are robust animals and are resistant to many diseases, they need to be vaccinated against foot and mouth disease, rinder pest and tetanus regularly. The animals need to be dewormed at least twice a year to keep in good stead.

Goat farming with stall-feeding can be managed in small yards just like poultry, and it will prove to be an economical and rewarding enterprise for the small, marginal and landless farmers.

Exercise Paddock For Stall Fed Goats

When goats are reared in stall fed system it is of utmost importance to provide the exercise paddock. An enclosure measuring 12m x18 m is adequate for 100 to 125 goats. Some shade trees may be planted to provide adequate comfort in summer. The animals should be allowed to roam about in the enclosed area for some fixed period to have sufficient fresh air and exercise.