How to use this book
The aim of this book is to assist owners of indigenous goats with extensive farming systems. It looks at ways to improve the productivity of their herds. It is designed to be shared with farmers in a way that allows them to understand how to find their way through the book and how to find the information that they need. It is best if the book is used as part of a capacity building programme being implemented by extension officers and field workers.
There are further training materials to support training farmers with this book. They are available at www.mdukatshani.com, www.hpsa.org.za or www.gapkzn.co.za. These are training modules linked to sections in the book and can be downloaded as pdfs for printing, or as PowerPoint presentations. These training materials reference this book’s sections and pages.
Part 1 – Basics of keeping goats: This section covers everything a communal goat farmer needs to keep their indigenous herd healthy and productive within its current limits. This part of the book follows these five steps to a healthy goat:
- Breed – breed is the most important part of having a healthy herd.
- Nutrition and stress – nutrition problems often link with stress to make a goat vulnerable to diseases and parasites.
- Management and identification – managing herd health, nutrition and stress give the farmer a cost-effective and efficient way of preventing disease and parasites in their herd.
- Protection and vaccination – giving an animal shelter can prevent disease and stress. Vaccination is only possible for certain diseases.
- Treatment – once an animal is sick, treating the disease quickly is important. Giving the right dose and the correct type of medicine or antibiotic is important.
Part 2 – Increasing productivity: This section is more focused on increasing productivity. It is for goat owners who want to invest more time and resources in managing their goats. This section covers some general management practices (including record keeping), housing and handling facilities, herd identification, nutrition and feeding, reproduction and kid rearing.
Part 3 – Commercialisation: This section is aimed at goat owners whose main aim is to market their goats. It looks at the economics of goat production, opportunities for marketing and value adding, and proper transportation of goats.
Part 4 – Value adding, tools and resources: This section covers the technical aspects of some of the interventions that have been mentioned in the rest of the book. This includes record sheet templates, the information to make your own goat weight belts, and sources of information (books and websites), as well as detailed economic analyses of various herd sizes and building instructions for dips and enclosures.