Broadcast: April 22, 2003
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Goats have provided meat and milk for people longer than sheep or cows. More people use milk products from goats than from cows. There are more than four-hundred-sixty-million goats in the world. They produce more than four-million tons of milk and more than one-million tons of meat every year.
Goat milk improves the diet of many families around the world. 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 goats high-protein plants like alfalfa, groundnut grasses, and vegetable leaves to eat. The covering of 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.
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 so that heat from the sun is reflected.
There should be plenty of fresh air inside the shelter. Goats with horns seem to survive better in the heat than goats without horns.
Goats enjoy exercise and need to move around. When goats are inside a shelter, there should be at least two-and-one-half square meters of space for each adult animal. When they are outside, a fenced-off area should allow about forty square meters for each animal. Fences should be about one-and-one-half meters to two meters high.
Make sure the wire fence is the right height for young goats. Some wire fences can be dangerous for young goats because their horns can become trapped.
Many of the same methods used to keep cows healthy can also be used with goats.
In fact, sometimes young cows cannot drink too much 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 the group Volunteers in Technical Assistance. VITA is an organization based in the United States that helps people around the world use science and technology to solve problems. You can contact VITA through the Internet at its Web address, www.vita.org.
This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary Garriott.