For efficient production in dairy goats, good health and comfort to the animal is a must. To achieve this, housing of goats is important. The house should protect the goats from sun, rain and cold nights. To prevent water logging the floor of the pen should be raised by about 1 to 1.5 meters from the ground floor. Slotted floors help in easy collection of manure and urine.
To protect the goats from cold air a wall of at least 1.5 meter high should be built. If the floor is made of clay it should be compact and sloppy towards one corner.
Goats come originally from the open mountains and do not like being closely confined. They like plenty of fresh air and love a clean and dry sleeping place. Under village conditions, goats generally do not require any special housing. They should, however, be protected against bad weather and wild animals. Under farm and city conditions, it is economical to provide special housing for goats. Several pens may be made according to the number of goats.
In case of milky goats, separate pens for lambs should be constructed at the very adjacent of the dam’s pen. The partition between the mother and the kids should be such that both can see each other. The buck should be housed away from the milking goats. The house should have plenty of fresh air, sunshine and well drained. The materials for constructing goat’s house may be of anything like bamboo, wooden or pukka.
Efficient Goat Shelter for Hot Zones
Scientists at the Central Institute for Research on goats (CIRG) at Farah near Mathura have designed an effective and low-cost housing for goats. The high-roof shed covered with fire-proof material has been found to be cooler than housings made using conventional reeds, hay thatches and asbestos sheet.
The scientists have established that a shed with its main axis running east-west provides a cooler environment underneath, and it was the best for hot-arid conditions. The open type shed has an advantage over the closed ones. The width and size of the shelter vary with the animal size, and for goats and sheep the optimum has been determined to be five to six meters. The length will depend on the strength of the flock or herd.
The height of the shelter in the hot regions should be between three and five meters, and a height less than this will result in poor ventilation. The heat loss through radiation to cool sky is also curtailed in low roof shelter. The shape of the roof can either be flat, sloped or ‘A’ shaped. The A-type roof has definite advantages over the rest in the hot region, as one side of the roof will save the other half from direct solar radiation by casting its shadow. This helps in cutting down heat gain from the roof of the shelter.
Of the different materials used for the roof, the fire-proof tar-coated type has been found quite effective. Shelter surroundings should be kept as green as possible to avoid heating up of the shed. For good ventilation and to protect the animals from the direct hit of hot winds, the eastern and western sides of the sheds should be covered up to a meter height. The roof and eastern and western sides of the sheds should be covered up to a meter height. The roof and walls should be white outside and colored inside. Painting the sidewalls white outside reduces the surface temperature inside by 12 to 22 Degree Centigrade when compared to unpainted walls in places where temperatures remain above 37 degree centigrade.
Water can be sprayed on the floor and roof of shelters periodically to reduce heat load on the animals during peak summer. The scientists have also prepared the details of shed under loose housing system. Adult breeding goats or nannies are to be housed in groups of 60 to 80 goats. Milch goats should not be allowed to run together in their house for getting roughages and concentrates. They should be fed in separate stalls or in a group of eight to ten does.
Goats in an advanced stage of pregnancy, at least four to seven days before kidding, must be housed individually. Kids from one week after birth to sub-adult stages should be kept at the rate of 20 to 25 per shed. By making suitable partitions in a larger shed, unweaned, weaned but immature and near-matured kids can be housed separately. Drought-free small rooms to house 15 to 20 newly born kids are essential to raise a good breeding stock. The bucks should be kept away from the milking goats, in small groups of 10 or 15, Isolation sheds to keep sick and diseased animals must be provided far away from the rest of the sheds.
Besides housing, other facilities to store concentrate feed, medicine, dipping tanks and related material ought to be provided. Feeding and water troughs should be included within the housing shelters and care taken to ensure feed and water supply all the time.