The topic is interesting. We always think of milk as coming from cows. Goats can equally give us good milk if we look at them very well and with the intention of using them as dairy animals. Dairy means to do with milk. Dairy goats can be very ideal for some of our small livestock farmers as long as certain practices are followed.

Domestic goats can be classified to origin as well as ear shape and length and function. However, each of these criteria has its special merits and limitations.

In developing countries goats are traditionally kept under more or less extensive management systems, with little attention to the individual animal. Under these conditions the goats are usually converting otherwise useless browse plants into meat and some milk. Goats are good at this than any other domestic animal. In such conditions breeding takes place throughout the year because the males are permanently with the female flock.

Here it can equally be said that the level of production is low because nutritional management is poor and because mortality is high due to diseases and parasites. In Zambia as of now the demand for goat meat is rising every week. Since, the demand is rising we should also look at milk production from these same goats by improving their level. Therefore, to increase the goat population will mean more meat on the market, and to do this that is the increase in meat supply the farmer has to look at feeding and management which can and which must be improved.

Coming to the dairy goat for milk production. The main characteristics to consider are the rate of growth, reproductive performance and milk yield of the females. This requires record keeping and controlled breeding. Crossing the local breed which have a low rate of growth with faster growing breeds. The aim should be to improve the genetic ability for meat production as well as for higher milk production of the females. An additional advantage of local selection is that the so important hardiness of the local breed is not lost. Through selection within the existing local breeds it is through this that the establishment of an improved local breed can be made.

Why goat milk?

Goat milk has certain qualities that are of particular significance in human nutrition. Both the fat and casein of goat milk are easily digested and therefore, it is very good for infants and sick persons. It is equally suitable alternative for those people who cannot stand cow milk. Tubercular bacilli are not entertained in goat milk this an added advantage. Goat milk has its own taste which is different from that of the cow.Crossing the local breeds with imported dairy goats would help to upgrade our local goats and to this we can say that correct material is available when it comes to improving the goat flock.

For farmers taking up dairy goat milk production can choose from the systems available and this has to do with management. What should also be known is that good milk yielding dairy goats require a great deal of attention and therefore their use can be advocated to farmers who can provide a high level of management.

The improved milking goat is by far not as hardy as her local mates, she requires a different approach and it is wrong to let her browse like the local goat. It is as with high yielding dairy cows: if you want maximum profit you must give the animals maximum attention. Large herds cannot be encouraged at this moment. Keeping goats is a good alternative for the farmer who has not got enough land to support more than one cow. For that reason, the management system will be based on small flocks. The systems are – Zero grazing and Partly grazing

Zero grazing is a system in which the goats are kept or are under permanent confinement and feed is taken to the animals. It is a good system for small family flocks especially where the land is intensively cultivated.

Advantages of this system:

1) Creep feeds such as crops, industrial and kitchen wastes can be utilized *(but not to feed decaying feeds).

2) Complete control over the feeding of the goats

3) Fewer problems with parasites particularly worms

4) No investment in fencing paddocks

5) Manure can easily be collected and supplied elsewhere


1) Strict hoof care is required

2) Higher capital investment (buildings)

3) Feeding and cleaning are rather labor-demanding

Partial grazing- this involves letting the animals to be on some pasture browsing, in fact this is controlled sort of grazing allowing the goats to nimble from the natural vegetation after some time then confined again. Here a sizeable paddock is constructed for the sake of excisizing as opposed to total confinement

Once these are taken into consideration our farmer can now choose depending on his financial capability. Where we are going the land is getting less for farming activities, small areas have to be utilized people have to eat anyway.


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