How to Succeed in Goat Farming – One of the most successful goat farms in the country today is the 16-hectare Alaminos Goat Farm in Alaminos, Laguna, run by Rene Almeda and his two sons, Art and Toti. The farm boasts of more than 300 Boer purebreds and upgrades. The farm also imported about 100 breeders of Saanen goats for milking from Australia last year, which now have virtually doubled in number.
Alaminos Goat Farm is probably the biggest producer of goat milk in the country today. For the moment, they have 40 goats on milkline producing 92 liters on a particular day. The goats are milked in the morning and another time at five o’clock in the afternoon. Milking is fast because the Almedas have milking machine. The 40 animals could be milked in two hours. The farm’s milk is sold as fresh pasteurized milk in bottles of one liter and 250 ml sizes. One liter is sold at P125 while 250 ml is sold at P40.
The Almedas emphasize the importance of genetics, i.e. the breeders should be of the highest quality. Also equally important is proper nutrition so the breeders will produce more kids per head that are fast growing. A goat needs a certain amount to maintain its body weight. For animals to produce, it has to be given more energy and minerals.
In the case of milkers, superior genes and complete nutrition will produce more milk and more kids, too. Comfortable housing also contributes much to the success in a goat farm. Many of the animals are raised in confinement, especially the breeders and milkers, for more convenient management. Some, however, are under pasture.
Proper nutrition is the major key in successful goat farming. Here is the advice of Rene Almeda to start-up goat farmers:
In feeding the goat, one has to be observant on the peculiarities of the goat to be able to give adequate nutrition. For instance, during the hot months, the goat will not eat much because of the heat. To solve this, feed the animals during the cooler parts of the day, early morning and late in the afternoon up to evening.
To avoid wastage, stagger the placement of feeds. If animal requires one kilo of concentrates, don’t dump the whole amount alls at one time. Divide that into four servings. Two hundred fifty grams may be given early in the morning followed by a snack of grass an hour later. Another hour late, give the second serving of concentrates, and then grass and so on. In this way, almost everything of the concentrates will be consumed.
To supplement the concentrates, napier and other forage crops should be grown. These include napier, Centrosema (a vine legume), Indigofera (a leafy tree), ipil-ipil, Madre de Agua (a small tree with nutritious leaves much higher than those of the legumes), Rensonii and others. Indigofera is very fast growing and its leafy twigs are the favorite of Rene’s Saanen goats.
When planting napiers, Centrosema could be mixed with it so that they could be harvested at the same time. Centrosema is a viny legume rich in protein. Trichantera from South America is also relished by the animals. One good thing about it is that it will thrive even in shady areas. With the applications of manure, it grows very robust.