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Dairy Goat Farming in Kenya

goat grazing in kenya

Why goat farming in Kenya ?

Goats can produce well In different environments Goats are widely distributed in diverse habitats

Lush tropics Goats can live even when there are:

Why Goats survive in the tropics;

How goats feed



saanen goat breed

 Has a lot of milk up to 7 litres of milk per day

- Whitish in colour

 - Large 63.77kg for females and Males weigh 80-100kg live body weight

 - Short fur , No horns

 - Has high prolificacy

- 2 kids per birth

 - Does not prefer hot areas


toggenburg goat breed

 From Toggenburg valley

 - Brown in colour

 - White line on the face, legs and tail

- Male weigh between 70-110kgs while female weigh 60-70kg live body weight Produces up to 5 litres of milk per day

- Has a little bit higher butterfat content


nubian goat breed

A cross breed of Nubian (sudan) and English goats.

 - White and dropping ears

 - Male weighs between 70-110 kgs live body weight

- Females weigh 60-70 kgs Eve body weight

- Its milk has a high butterfat content

- Produces up to 5 litres milk per day

- Its milk is good for making cheese due to high butter fat content

 - Has long dropping ears

German Alpine/British Alpines

alpine goat breed

- Black in colour

 - Produces up to 3 litres per day

- Shorter than Toggenburg


- Brownish in colour

 - Gives up to 3 litres per day


Goats milk is good, Goats meat is tasty!

Make more money

Goats are good for the shamba

can go for quite a long time without water in very dry times

Important for Social events

Do not need to work so hard!


goat housing

A good goat house will make keeping goats easier.

A good goat house should be;

Types of Houses

When you start you may not have a lot of money to make a house. But as it is very important to have a house. you can make the first one with local materials.

Mud houses

This is the cheapest house to build because it uses local materials:

“Off cuts” houses

This house costs a little more but it will last longer


Goat house construction

goat house design

There are two main areas of the house, the sleeping area and feeding area.

Sleeping area

Feeding area

The house parts


Feed Trough

Water Trough

Kid Pen

Hay Barn/Store;

Mineral Trough


How does a goat like to eat?

A goat does not like to graze on the ground like a sheep or cow Goats like feeding at knee height up to head height So they like to feed above the ground often standing on their hind legs and resting their fore legs up on the bush or goat house wall. Goats need to be able to drink fresh water at all times

Advantages of stall feeding

What do they eat?

The best way to feed goats

leucenea, it can poison the goats\

3.3. Feeding different goats

Remember all goats must have fresh water whenever they need it

Feeding sick goats

Feeding mature goats

Feeding the buck

Feeding does

The doe needs careful feeding in order to:

Feeding the breeding and lactating doe

Feeding during pregnancy

First 3 months of pregnancy

The last two months of pregnancy

During first 2 months after Kids birth and giving milk

Feeding kids

Feeding the newborn up till 3 months

Feeding young stock

What kind of feed should the goat be given?

The dairy goat gives as much milk as it is given the right food!! There are many feeds the goat likes. Here are some good feeds that can be used.

Sweet potato vines


nappier fodder for goats

Fodder trees and legumes


While maize is grown for farmer’s food, there is a lot of fodder which can be used for feeding the goat which will not stop the farmer getting a good maize yield


Goat Husbandry

Once the kid is born there are a number of things to be done

5.1. Disbudding


Rubber rings A2



goat identification by tagging

Farmers need to be able to identify their animals so they can keep records and easily know the age, breeding and usefulness of each animal

Done through

Other managerial practices

Weaning - removing kids from its mother

Hoof trimming


Keeping milk clean

The most important thing to do is keep yourself, your hands and buckets, clean.

Also carefully clean the doe’s udder.

Milking shed

Human infectious diseases

Washing hands

Wash Udder

Cut out bacteria

Hand milking

The squeeze method of milking

Other important dairy goat precautions during milking;

After milking tips


What type of goats are available

- Farmers keep local goats. They have been keeping these goats for many years. These goats however do not produce enough milk for their kids and extra for human consumption.

- Goats can be classified as dairy or meat type.

- The local goats are mainly meat types, East African and Galla.

- The local goats can survive and thrive in the hot climate, low quality forages and fodder and to some extent resistant to common diseases.

- This makes them produce very little milk.

- The dairy types include the following Toggenburg, Saanen, Alpine, Anglo-Nubian.

- Dairy type goats produce a lot of milk but do not adapt very well.

- These dairy goats are normally mated to local goats to get a goat that is

“A better milk producer than the local goats but which are easier to raise than the pure dairy types. The mating of two different type breeds of animals is called crossbreeding.

What can be done to improve the productivity of the local goats?

- Feed them properly with different grasses and shrub browses

- Keep them in a properly built goat house

- Give them good husbandry, treatment

- Cross breed them with improved goat breeds like Toggenburg

- Keep records to help you in knowing and managing your goats

Why should farmers keep dairy goats

- Farms are becoming smaller as each new generation inherits land

- Goats can be kept on small pieces of land

- Goats can be fed on farm by products

Why breed your goats

- Breeding helps the farmer to have more animals

- With good breeding you get more and better animals

Good breeding means a farmer has to know his animals and taking good care of them

- A farmer can know his / her animals by keeping records on his / her animals and the events taking place.

- Animals of different ages need different attention

- Does, bucks and kids should all be given good care appropriately

Taking good care of dairy goats

- Well fed and health parents, good offspring

- Both does and buck must be well fed and cared for before becoming parents

- Keep does and bucks apart

- Allow mating to occur at the right time

- Keep a record of dates

- A doeling come into heat at 4 to 5 months of age therefore must be raised apart from bucks from 4 months

- You should mate your doe when it is over 1 year old

- To get good results a farmer must control his goats

- First mating will depend on age and condition of the goat

- Mating before one year should only be allowed provided before and during pregnancy

- It is recommended that a doe should be bred when she each 75% to 80% of its mature weight

- For milking does they should be bred after the third month of kidding

When should you breed your does?

A goat can only be bred when she is ready. This condition is referred to as “the goat is on heat”

What are heat signs

- The goats becomes restless and mount each other

- Cries loudly and sometimes bleating

- The vulva may became swollen

- The goat wags the tail

- Frequent urination

- Lasts 2 - 3 days

When to mate

- A doe should be mated 12 to 24 hrs after you have seen her on heat

- Heat signs in the afternoon, the goat should be mated the next morning

- Heat signs in the morning should be mated in the evening

Avoid mating goats that are related.

When goats that are related are mated this is called inbreeding.

- Inbreeding should be avoided in animal production

- Inbreeding results in weak offspring, decreased productivity e.g milk and even death

- Bucks should therefore be rotated or moved from their stations after one and half years

- Keeping good records will help a farmer to know which animals are related and which ones are not.

Keeping Records

Why keep records

- Helps you to know your goats

- Recording increases animal values and therefore sales income

- Recording promotes increased milk yields

- Recording promotes improved genetic merit

- Helps you to manage your animals well

Which records to keep

A farmer should keep simple records of

- Birth dates

- Birth weights

- Sire and dam

- Milk records

- Treatment records

- Service dates

Good record on service date will help you calculate the expected date of birth after breeding. You can know the expected date by counting 5 months from the date of service and take off three days

How can you know your goat is pregnant after mating?

- 3 weeks later doe not on heat

- 8 weeks later the vulva shows an enlargement

- 12 weeks later the abdomen enlarges noticeably

Abortions in goats are not common, but can be avoided by protecting the doe against difficult situations keeping the does well fed and disease free.

A pregnant doe should be dried up three months into its pregnancy

Signs of approaching birth

- A few days before there will be discharge for the vulva

- On the day of kidding, the doe bleats, paws the bedding and becomes restless

- With proper feeding and management, goats normally give multiple births

Goat health

Sick goat: How to identify


The death of kids before they are weaned is perhaps the single biggest cause of loss experienced by goat farmers.

Diseases to watch out for in kids some of the disease could also affect Adult goats










-Give plenty of clean water (oral fluids)




Colostrum deprivation







Internal Parasites




This is an infection of the udder.



-Use tinture ofiodine to dip teats.


(Pneumonia) Pasteurellosis