Goats can be reared anywhere in Uganda. The total goat population of Uganda is estimated at 12.5 million goats.
Breeds of goats
The following are three breeds of goat that can rear for meat:
- The Small East African Sea which weigh between 20-25 kg. It is mainly found in extensively Northern and Eastern short savannah ecological areas and the drier areas of Buganda in the areas of Luwero, Buruli. Bulemezi and Bugegere.
- The Mubende Goat, a large animal of 30-35 kg live weight renowned for its popular skin on the international market. Its skin is called the Kampala Skin in trade circles. The breed is concentrated in Mubende District.
- The Kigezi goat which weighs between 25-30 kg. It’s typical ecological niche is in the areas Kabale, Kisoro and Rukungiri
- The Boer Goat is from South Africa and a mature female weighs about 60-75 kg live weight and the mature male weighs about 90-100 kg live weight. The goat has a cream-white body with a reddish-brown head. The breed has a high milk yield and adapts well to semi-arid conditions. Its carcass dressing percentage is relatively high and its skin has excellent quality for leather manufacture.
The advantages of Goats farming
The advantages of goat farming in Uganda are summarised as follows:
- The human population is growing steadily creating a significant and increasing demand for Goat meat in Uganda and in the Arab world.
- The capital investment for the farmer is relatively low, the reproductive turnover is high and managing Goats is not labour intensive.
- The genetic potential of the local Goats is improved by selection and cross-breeding and if this is combined with improved feeding and health, overall production gains could be considerable.
- In ranching areas Goats can become very useful animals in bush clearing and they can be used as pasture improvers.
Products from goats
- Goats are a source of meat
- Goats provide milk
All breeds, sexes and ages of goats require the following basic nutrients for maintenance, growth, gestation, lactation, and fattening.
- The goats need mineral salts for good bones and teeth; appetite and weight gain and improve the hair coat appearance.
- The amount of water needed by a Goat varies with the Breed, Climate, the type of Feed eaten and the purpose for which the Goat needs water e.g. for Milk and Growth
Feeding of goats
Goats are good feeders, in that they will eat anything on offer.
- They require a mixed diet (grasses, legumes, shrubs, tree leaves, crop residues and weeds) in order for them to receive a balanced diet and to reduce the effects of poisonous plants should there be any in the feed.
- Goats prefer clean, fresh or well-conserved forage.
- Goats will not eat dirty, wet or rotting feed.
- Give little feed at a time to avoid wastage.
- Goats are browsers and will prefer to feed on small trees and shrubs as their basic diet.
- If Goats are housed, tie feed on pegs, side poles, and roof or on horizontal beams from which branches are tied.
- Goats are selective and will always prefer to eat the better parts of the feed. Young shoots and fleshy leaves are preferred.
- Goats are able to eat and utilize certain plants that are not utilized by other livestock species, like sheep and cattle.
- Goat feed is made up of 74% tree and shrub leaves and 26% grass.
Supplementary feeds for goats
- Sweet potato vines
- Banana peelings
- Protein supplements
- Sunflower, cotton seed cake, soya meal and bone meal.
When is supplementary feeding a must
Supplementary feeding is a must in the following circumstances:
- All Goats during periods of pasture shortage/dry season
- Sick animals.
- Pregnant animals in the last six weeks of pregnancy
- Mothers after kidding in the first 4 weeks of lactation
- Kids before weaning and up to 5 weeks after weaning
- Goats being prepared for the market
FORAGE SUPPLEMENTS FOR GOATS
When planning for forage supplementation, it is prudent to always remember that a goat enterprise generates cash income from the sale of surplus kids and cull adults. To be economically viable, meat/milk Goats must get most of their required nutrients from forages.
- Protein supplementation may take many forms
- Fresh legume fodders e.g. lablab, leucaena, calliandra, gliricidia.etc
- Legume hays e.g. all dried forms of lablab, leucaena, calliandra, gliricidia
- High protein supplemental agro-industrial by-products such as cottonseed and soybean meal.
- Adequate energy is important for good conception rates, milk flow, and kid growth rates. High-energy supplements include
- Maize, Rice or Wheat Bran
- Goat Pellets.
Common grazing systems in Uganda
Goats are reared under four systems:
- Tethering System
- Extensive Grazing System
- Zero Grazing
- Semi-Intensive System
Areas that rear goats in Uganda
- Kasese Districts
- Bushenyi Districts
- Kabale District
- Kisoro District
- Rukungiri In Kigezi District
- Mubende District.
- Luwero District
- Mukono Districts (Buruli, Bulemezi and Bugerere)