Goats can be kept in extensive, semi-intensive or intensive production systems depending on the availability of land.
Extensive Production System
Under this system goats are allowed to browse (free range) freely. This system is suited for areas where browsing fields are not a problem. To be effective for dairy goats the flock should have a stockman (herdsman) and the males should be separated from the does to control random mating. Kids should also be separated from the does to avoid suckling while in the field. The goats should be supplemented with concentrate feeds and mineral salts. The goats should be provided with housing (night sheds) with 1m2 for each goat (for instance 10m x 3m housing will hold 30 goats) Good goat housing should be dry, well ventilated and provide kids, does, and bucks a healthy comfortable condition. The housing should also provide security from predators.
This system is suited for areas where browsing fields are limited.
It’s suited for a small size of flock and where land is limited. It involves confinement of the goats. The goats are stall-fed (zero-grazed) exclusively and mating is controlled. Does, bucks and kids are housed separately.
Housing under zero grazing system
Good goat housing should be dry, well ventilated and provide kids, does, and bucks a healthy comfortable condition. The housing should also provide security from predators and thieves.
Siting of the house
Goats shed should be constructed on the leeward side of the residential house to avoid smell.
Types of housing
- Raised floor and slatted raised floor.
- Raised and sloped floor
- It’s easy to build as it requires local materials as enclosures. The floor should be raised 1 foot above level ground and sloped to one side. This allows water and urine to run off. Therefore easy to clean
Parts of a Dairy Goat’s zero grazing unit
Raised slated floor
The shed is constructed with local material but the floor is fitted with slats placed at a gap of index finger apart (1 inch).
The manure drops to the ground, therefore easy to clean.
Ensures ventilation in the shed.
This system combines the intensive and extensive systems. Goats are allowed to browse but are also stall fed to complement browsing. In addition the goats should be supplemented with concentrates and mineral salts. Water should be availed all the time. Mating is controlled by separating the buck and does by housing the buck and does separately. In most cases the bucks are completely stall-fed and females on heat are brought to the buck for mating. This is important as it helps to control the off-flavour in milk and inbreeding.