Goats: Friendly Animals That Can Be Cared for by Children


I'm Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Goats have provided meat and milk for people longer than sheep or cows have. There are several hundred million goats in the world. Each year they provide millions of tons of meat and milk. Also, the hair from goats can be made into wool for clothing and blankets.

More people use milk products from goats than from cows. Goats' milk improves the diet of many families around the world. Cheese made from goats' milk is very tasty. In addition, goats are friendly animals. They can be cared for by children.

There are several ways to help goats produce more and better milk. One way is to give the animals high-protein plants like alfalfa, groundnut grasses and vegetable leaves to eat. The covering from rice is also high in protein. Providing a special diet for goats is better than letting the animals find their own food all the time.

Goats with horns seem to survive better in the heat than goats without horns. But all goats should have covered shelters where they can escape the rain and extremely hot or cold weather. If the goat shelter has a metal roof, it should be painted white to reflect heat from the sun. There should be plenty of fresh air inside the shelter.

Goats enjoy exercise and need to move around. When goats are inside a shelter, each adult animal should have at least two-and-a-half square meters of space. When they are outside, a fenced-off area should allow about forty square meters for each animal.

Fences should be about one-and-a-half meters to two meters high. Some wire fences can be dangerous for young goats. Their horns can become trapped. So make sure the wire fence is the right height for young goats.

Many of the same methods used to keep cows healthy can also be used with goats. In fact, sometimes young cows cannot drink a lot of their mother's milk because they get sick. Instead, they are given goat's milk to drink.

You can get more information about raising milk-producing goats from a publication offered for sale on the Web. It is listed at enterpriseworks.org. Click on the link for VITA publications.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary Garriott. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at WWW.51VOA.COM. And if you have a general question about agriculture, send it to special@voanews.com. I'm Steve Ember.