The Common Management Systems in Goat Production
Based on the purpose of production and ecological zone, there are different systems to raise or manage goats. These management systems include:
- Intensive system or zero grazing
- Semi-intensive system
- Extensive system
I. Intensive system of raising goats
In this system, the farmer confines the goat to a pen or shed, and they are fed inside the shed. The bucks are separated from the does to avoid indiscriminate mating, while the kids are kept in another pen as based on age and sex. The intensive system is the most suitable for dairy goats (for milk production). Mating is controlled in this system and the animals are fed with fodder crops, grasses and crop residues from pasture or roadsides.
Advantages of intensive system
- It keeps goats from damaging crops and prevents traffic accidents.
- Goats can make efficient use of crop residues, kitchen waste/peelings, and agricultural by-products.
- It is well suited to productive animals, exotic breeds and their crosses which are more susceptible to diseases.
- It reduces burden of internal and external parasites.
- It allows for close observation (heat detection, health, feed/water availability).
Disadvantages of intensive system
- It is costlier
- Diseases spread faster under poor management
Tethering in goat production is a system in which goats are tethered around their pen or environs of their pen in the daytime and are kept in their pens or sheds in the nighttime. This is feasible where the number or population of the goats is very low. The adult goats are tethered, and the young ones are left untethered, but they are provided with feed and water. Since the bucks are not separated from the does, mating between the male and female is uncontrolled.
There are two methods of tethering goats
- Tied to one peg. One to three goats are tied to a peg or tree by a rope of 3-5 meters length. By shifting the peg or choosing a different tree or post, the goats are offered a fresh grazing/browsing area (see image 1).
- Tied to a ring on a wire between two pegs. A rope of about 2-3 meters long is tied to a ring which slides on a wire about 3-5 meters long (see image 2).
The farmer must be careful enough not to let the goats get entangled or even strangled, and the area should be free from predators that could attack the goats. The area must also offer some shade from hot sun.
III. Semi-intensive system of raising goats
In this system, the goats are restricted to move in the night and certain part of the day. They are allowed to graze at a certain time of the day, in the company of a herdsman. In the semi-intensive system, the goats are opportune to supplement their diet as well as do some selective feeding to overcome dietary deficiencies. Stall feeding is done when the goats are confined. The kids are left in the pen while the adults are taken out to graze. Additionally, uncontrolled mating is common because the separation of bucks and does is not common. Another option under this system is allowing the goats to graze in fenced paddocks.
IV. Extensive production system of raising goats
In this system, the goats are allowed to browse and graze large areas of land that are marginal in nature and/or are not suitable for other agricultural purposes. This is a common system in regions with arid and semi-arid climates. This is the production system used for meat goats but rarely for dairy goats. The extensive system is also common in Nigeria. Little management is done except allowing the animals to graze during the day, and they are locked up in the pens or yards in the night. The goats usually roam about looking for food or water themselves, and they can be fed with crop residues and weeds after harvest. Their droppings are also collected and used as manure.