Goat Rearing: An Overview
Authors: A.S.Gawali*, S.T.Waghmare, C.S.Nirghude
Email :a.s.gawali@kkwagh.edu.in
(Assistant Professor, K. K.Wagh College of Agricultural biotechnology, Nashik.)


In a developing country like India, livestock constitutes very valuable and renewable resources across all ecological zones and fulfill an important socio-economic role in the traditional farming systems. The striking feature about the distribution of goats in India is the activity of goat rearing sustained in many different kinds of environments – dry, hot, wet or cold and high mountains or low lying plains.

livestock enterprise has taken a shape of business especially when government has introduced many programmes for small/marginal farmers and agricultural laborers for their economic and social upliftment. Livestock business requires a contingent use of available inputs to achieve maximum productivity and profitability. Goat rearing has been recommended as the best choice for rural people in the developing countries, because of their wider adaptability, low investment, high fertility and fecundity, less feed and management needs, high feed conversion efficiency, quick return and low risk involved.

Goat is a poor man’s cow because of their immense contribution to the poor people’s economy. It supplies nutritious and easily digestible milk to their babies. It is regular source of additional income for landless or marginal farmers. Being small sized animal, the goats can easily be maintained as cheaply as one cow. In areas where fodder resources are limited and milch cattle do not thrive, goats can be successfully reared as they can thrive on that class of fodder on which other animals will starve to death. Goats are very resistant to diseases, especially to tuberculosis. The excreta and urine of the goat is richer in nitrogen, potash and phosphorus than cow dung (Banerjee, 1978).

The goat is a multipurpose animal to provide meat, hide, hair (fur) and manure for soil. In hilly areas goats are also used for hauling light load. Now in rural area, goat farming plays a vital role to solve unemployment. The economic returns from goats keeping are high, compared to other farming enterprises. Returns of capital up to 50 per cent and recovery of 70 per cent of retail price are possible in goat farming. Goat farming can be a profitable occupation of a farmer and can fit into mixed farming. (Prasad, 2000).

Efficient utilization of crop residues and agro-industrial byproducts, by the livestock sector has become significant in increasing the production of much needed animal products. Complete dependence of grazing or browsing may not be viable preposition in the near future, as more land is going under cultivation and to provide the shelter. Therefore, to boost the production, cheap and economic feed and feeding system needs to be evolved by using non-conventional materials, which abundantly available due to change in cropping pattern.

Important Factors for Goat Rearing

1. Feeding habitat:


Goats have fastidious eating habits. They will accept a wide variety of feed, appreciate it and thrive on it.Goats consumes wide varieties of feeds and vegetation than either sheep or cattle.It has been shown that goats can distinguish between bitter, sweet; salty and sour tastes and those goats have higher tolerance for bitter tastes than cattle.

Goats will consumes certain species at definite stages of maturity and reject them at other times.The rumen is not developed at birth, but young kids start picking at hay or grass at 2-3 weeks of age and by 3-4 months the rumen is fully functional.Unlike sheep, goats relish eating aromatic herbs in areas of sparse food supply, and hence can penetrate deep into the desert.

Browse (means eating of leaves of bush and trees) forms an important part of the diet of goats. It has been observed that when goats find opportunities to browse for about 8-9 hours a day the goats can take care of their maintenance and slow rate of growth.The practical rationing of goats should be based on cheap foods such as browse pasture, and agricultural and industrial waste. In rationing goats, it must be firmly borne in mind that they cannot compete with pigs and poultry in efficiency of conversion of concentrates to protein food, nor under most circumstances, can they compete with advanced dairy cattle in utilization of concentrates for milk production.

Goats are ruminants. They are very fond of leguminous fodders. They do not relish fodders like sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers) and maize (lea mays L.), silage or straw. Goats do not relish hay prepared from forest grasses, even if cut in early stages, but very much relish hay prepared from leguminous crops: Some of the common green roughages liked by the goats are: lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum Juslen.), Napier grass (Penniselum purpureum Schum.), greenarhar (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.), cowpea(Vigna sinensis (L.) Savi ex Hassk.), soybean(GIyCiflemax-(L.) Merr.), cabbage and cauliflowerleaves;shajtal. senji. methi; shrubs and weeds of different kinds; and leaves of trees such asbabul (Acacia arabica WilJd),neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), ber(Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk.), tamarind(Tamarindus indica L.) andpipa/ (Ficus re/igiosa L.).The common dry fodders liked by goats are straws ofarhar.urid(Phaseolus mungo Roxb.),mung(Phaseolus aureus Roxb.), gram (Cicer arietinum L.), dry leaves of trees, and lucerne or berseem hays. The last two are popular and constitute the main forage crops for milch goats.

2. Housing management:

  • Construct shed on dry and properly raised ground.
    Avoidwater-logging,marshy areas.
  • In low lying and heavy rainfall areas the floors should be preferably elevated.
  • Bucks shouldbe housed in individual pens.
  • Does can be housed in groups upto 60 per pen.
    Provide proper shade and cool drinking water in summer.
  • Dispose of dung and urine properly.
    Give adequate space for the animals.
  • Avoid over stocking or crowding.

3. Selection of breeding stock and it's management

Animals in good health and having good physical features must be purchased in consultation with Veterinarian/ Bank's technical officer.

Purchase animals which are ready to breed and in prime stage of production.

Identify the newly purchased animals by suitable identification mark.

Vaccinate the newly purchased animals against the diseases.

Keep the newly purchased animals under observation for about 15 days and then mix with the general flock. Unproductive animals should be culled promptly and should be replaced by the newly purchased animals or farm born one.

Animals are to be bred at the interval of 8-9 months for maximum productivity.

Cull the old animals at the age of 6 years and above.

Avoid the kidding during peak periods of summer and winter.

4. Breeding Care

It should be planned to obtain 3 kidding in 2 years period by adopting optimal management conditions. For every 25 does one buck should be provided in one breeding season. Breed the animals 12 hours after the onset of the first symptoms of heat for maximum conception. Unreadable animals must be examined thoroughly as directed by veterinary doctor for prompt elimination of causes for anoestrus or cull them if necessary.

5. Care during pregnancy:

In advanced stage of pregnancy the does must be transferred to either kidding pens or separately earmarked space for kidding with in the main shed after thoroughly disinfecting it. After kidding, the does should be provided with warm bran mash for two days.

6. Protection against diseases:

Be on the alert for signs of illness such as reduced feed intake, fever, abnormal discharge or unusual behavior.
Consult the nearest veterinary aid centre for help if illness is suspected.

Protect the animals against common diseases.

In case of outbreak of contagious diseases, immediately segregate the sick animals from healthy one and take necessary disease control measures.

Deworm the animals regularly.

Examine the faces of adult animals to detect eggs of internal parasites and treat the animals with suitable drugs.

Provide clean and uncontaminated feed and water for minimizing the health disorders.

Strictly follow the recommended vaccine schedule as given in Vaccination Program Section.


The marketable product of goat farming includes the fattened kids, manure, culled animals. Marketing avenues for the above products are slaughter houses and individual meat consuming customers and agriculture farms. Therefore availability of either slaughtering facilities or traders who will purchase live animals should be ensured to convert the fatteners into wholesome meat and meat products. Further, demand for manure from nearby agriculture farms must also be ensured.



Banarjee, G.C. (1978). “Animal Nutrition” IBH Publishing Company, Part-I, pp-369-372.

Prasad Jagdish, (2000). Goat, sheep and pig production and management. Kalyani Publication, New Delhi. pp. 10.

Dr.Achariya., Handbook of Animal Husbandry

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working as Asssistant professor at KKwagh college of agril biotech sarswatinagar nashik