It is early Saturday morning and all roads lead to the Golden Farm Seed Clinic organized at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Nakyesasa, Wakiso District.
Farmers were invited to learn about cattle and goat farming, and they came in large numbers using taxis, while others eagerly traveled in their private cars to learn.
Many farmers were interested in learning about goat breeding because they believed that goats were easy to raise because they were good forage browsers.
Experts who contacted the Seed of Gold company noted that a farmer who wants to raise goats should clearly define his farming goal. This can be meat, dairy and breeding stock production for other farmers.
If breeding is the goal, then management will focus on high-quality foundation stock, a detailed breeding plan, and a good registration system.
If the goal is to make a profit, management will focus on low-cost infrastructure, a simple management system, a small staff to reduce labor costs, and good financial management. Experts emphasized the importance of farmers observing the demand for goat products in the market before starting farming.
The role of the farmer
Dr Brian Martin Babigumira, Animal Husbandry and Senior Research Scientist at NaLIRRI, explained that goats are considered small animals that can be managed in large numbers in a small area.
They produce faster and breed so rapidly that in most cases a good female will produce twice a year. Usually two or three kids are born at one birth.
The shiny, straight hair of this breed is normally black or a mixture of black and white.
Its meat is also of high quality, and its skin is used as leather in the tanning industry. Males have folds on their skin and are usually hornless. Adult males weigh between 25 and 35 kilograms, while females weigh between 22 and 28 kilograms.
A large number of farmers in central Uganda raise these goats on a commercial scale.
Kigezi goat breeds
They are found mainly in south-western Uganda and are black, white or a mixture of white and black and have long hair.
The average weight of a live male goat is about 28.8 kilograms, the weight of the casted ones is up to 30 kilograms, and the weight of the females is up to 30.3 kilograms.
Small East African goat breed
It is a species of goat found in eastern Africa from Zimbabwe and Malawi south through Tanzania to a large part of Kenya and Uganda, mainly in the Karamoja region, the Teso region and the West Nile region.
They have different names such as Sahelian goats, Maradi or Red Sokoto, African Dwarf goats and Pygmy goats among others.
They grow slowly but have a heavy build and are resistant to diseases such as heartworm, endemic tick disease and worms. Skins provide quality skin.
A mature male goat that grows for about 18 months weighs 28.9 kilograms, a normal male weighs about 25 kilograms, and females weigh about 22.8 kilograms.
They originate from South Africa and are brown in color with rounded horns.
NaLIRRI scientists are currently breeding about 100 goats at their research center in Maruzi, Apac District, where they have imported them for DNA evaluation, profiling and further breeding.
Females can give birth to two to three cubs three times in two years.
The male, called an Aquarius, is usually larger than the females, the average weight of the Kalahari brown bull is about 115 kilograms, and the average weight is about 75 kilograms.
They are white in color and have good disease resistance. The Savannah goat is a large-framed, well-muscled breed used primarily for meat. However, their skin, horns and nails have black pigmentation to protect them from the sun. On average, they can weigh up to 60 kilograms, with males slightly higher when well-fed.
The Boer goat is a South African breed purposefully bred for meat. It has been bred in the Eastern Cape since about 1920, selected for its meat qualities and its ability to survive grazing in the region’s thorn belt. They are stout animals with white bodies and red heads, brown eyes, low-set ears, backward-curved horns, and strong, well-placed legs.
Adult males often weigh up to 160 kilograms, and females up to 110 kilograms.
Good goat breeding practices
Dr Babigumira says that after taking their goats for a walk during the day, the farmers are locked up at night. If possible, they should be kept in a shelter.
“Provide a clean environment by making sure their poop is always swept up and clean water is provided for them,” she advises.
The type of pasture they are given will depend on the region, but since goats are browsers, farmers can feed them legumes such as cowpea leaves, sorghum and corn stalks, which must be chopped and mixed with ingredients such as salt.
Others are turnips, brassica root crops that are used to fertilize goats, and caliandra tree leaves, which can then be plucked and placed high up for viewing.
There are also herbs such as bracharia and chloris gayana that can be chopped and dried as hay or made into shields with dressings as fodder. They can also be fed directly on the farm where such grasses are grown.
Supplemental feeds come from legumes such as vetiver using crushed seed that can be mixed with corn bran, molasses and salt. They should be given mineral seeps suspended in a place to seep.