Need some advice and information on small stock farming? Look no further, we compiled all of the sheep and goat articles produced on Africanfarming.com so far in this one post, so you as a farmer can have all the information in one place.
Goats are important small stock animals in the sub-Saharan region. Tough and resilient, they reproduce fairly effortlessly, and are relatively easy to transport and, therefore, to market.
This comprehensive digital textbook is called the Goat Production Handbook and was compiled by Mdukatshani, Heifer International South Africa and the KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and rural development
It’s that time of the year when the air is filled with the sound of young goats bleating for their mothers. Lambing season comes with extra work for the stockman who needs to keep his eyes on the flock and his mortalities down.
In large parts of the central interior available grazing material is scare on veld (natural pasture). Prospects for improvement of the poor grazing conditions in the remaining part of summer and winter are not favourable.
Why do so many emerging livestock farmers fail to break free of the subsistence model?
The arrival of spring comes with a surge in feed for browsing and grazing livestock as the grass begins to flush and the canopy layer leafs up. A sudden increase in available forage of better quality makes small stock vulnerable to pulpy kidney
Vaccination programmes and dipping and dosing of small stock is not the total solution to keeping your flocks healthy and your goats disease free. Healthy animals are stronger and less susceptible to disease; so stockmen must manage and feed as a primary health care measure.
Vaccine programmes differ from area to area and even from farm to farm, depending on temperature, rainfall, season, local disease outbreaks, farm specific resistance and resilience and of course – management.
There is no room for inefficient livestock farming if we are to become food secure on the continent. For this to happen there must be transfer of health care knowledge through extension services in the livestock industry.
To prevent problems with foot rot, it is necessary to dip his sheep regularly or get them to walk through a foot bath. An old drinking trough lying around on the farm was just the solution Zeiss needed to provide preventative treatment for his animals.
Costa writes: “I vaccinated and dosed my goats with Multivax, Fluxacur and Ivermex. The mothers look healthy and have not been short of food but now they are giving birth to very weak kids or dead kids, most of them twins. What could be the problem?
Dr Pierre Jansen van Vuuren, of MSD Animal Health, presents a useful video on good practices for medicating smallstock.
Keep your worm and tick loads down by following a few of the steps in the article.
If you’re not really on track with flock health and management, make a paradigm shift right now and start taking a proactive approach so that you are managing and acting to stop pathogen infections, before they destroy your profit margin.
The last six weeks if a ewe’s pregnancy is the time when farmers should pay extra attention to nutrition so that they get a good crop of healthy lambs and improve their margins.
In this article we discuss minerals and vaccines for ewes in late pregnancy.
Sheep scab is caused by a psoroptic mite active in autumn and winter. It is a permanent parasite of sheep but it can survive briefly, on goats. Mange in the ears, on the legs and the fetlocks is more common in goats.
In the previous article we looked at the symptoms of sheep scab and mange on goats. In this article we look at solutions, medication and dips.
African farmers are constantly aware that ticks and tick-borne diseases can cause major problems in their herds. Ticks have a profound and negative impact on profitable animal production, causing enormous losses, both economical and physical.
Calls to reduce the use of antibiotics are becoming more frequent. The aim is not to prevent the use of antibiotics, but to use antibiotics rationally and carefully, so that we can prolong the useful lives of current antibiotics, and comply with residue regulations.
Animal admin is part of farm management and keeping flock records up to date helps the stockfarmer with forward planning.
If you have a serious interest in your animals, and in making a profit, you must measure and record. These are essential livestock management tools.
Farm records play an important part in farm management, says Michael Cordes, Africanfarming.com’s experienced farm consultant. “Farm records can easily get out of hand if not controlled properly,” says Mike.
There are times when a small-stock farmer needs to confine or contain animals even when they are veld ranging like many of Africa’s goats. Shelters for small-stock need not be expensive to be effective.
Although the southern African dairy goat industry is still in its infancy, breeders have the potential to become world leaders in their field.
Goat’s milk is good business for farmers who supply niche markets. But with the right marketing, and more interest from small-stock farmers, the goat milk market has excellent prospects.
Up to 1200 sheep an hour can be dipped with minimal labour using this dip sprayer, developed by a Eastern Cape South African farmer and his son.
Dave Midgley shares ideas on how to construct your own water troughs based on what he has seen over many years of visiting farms.
Some of the equipment that a sheep farmer from Caledon in South Africa made for himself. Many other farmers are now also using it to save their backs and knees.
Up to 300 sheep can be dipped or vaccinated within an hour using just four scrubbing brushes and a locking mechanism mounted onto this immobilising clamp.
Roughly half as many workers are required to manage goats or sheep with this ingenious U-shaped handling facility or kraal, with an alley, crush, and various sorting pens. In addition, most of the kraal was built from scrap.
Everything on Dirk du Plessis’ farm near Koppies in the Free State province of South Africa is focused on saving labour – one of the plans he has made is to build a feeder that can be automatically refilled.
Eddie Steenkamp who farms sheep, near Hopefield in South Africa, needed a feeding system that could be operated without help over weekends. He prefers to use pelleted, nutritionally balanced feed to finish sheep and get them ready for the market.
With a bit of ingenuity and lots of determination, this handyman has designed several useful items using scrap materials lying around on the farm.
Apie Richter of the farm Panorama made a mobile loading crush from two standard gates and scrap metal to move his flock of merino sheep. It can be mounted almost anywhere behind a truck or trailer.
This farmer in die Karoo-desert in South Africa has developed reliable, low-maintenance water troughs from recycled materials for his sheep. He’s also devised a way to prevent livestock from damaging the float valve.
Farmers are known for their ability to give old diesel tanks many new guises in a variety of innovative ways. Mr Hannes Esterhuyse has done just that, making water troughs using rings cut from an old diesel tank.
CA van Niekerk, from the Northern Cape in South Africa, came up with this clever plan to easily and effectively feed his lambs without worrying about the ewes stealing the lambs’ feed. He used blue PVC pipes and transformed them into feed troughs that are specially adapted for the lambs.
Mr Greg Miles from Bare Acres, Stutterheim, has applied this farmer patent on his farm. This farmer patent designed by CA van Niekerk from the farm Ratelfontein near Calvinia has been adapted in various ways and has been used in various forms
The conventional feeder made from car tyres had too many challenges, according to Mr Hannes Esterhuyse. With a bit of brainpower he designed a handy, affordable self-feeder in 2008. It was so popular that he’s since made hundreds of them, selling them to other farmers.
Supplements in sheep and goat diets help to boost low quality roughage in available grazing, correct nutrient deficiencies and improve flock production. Weigh up the options, look at your available forage and make a sound decision that benefits your flock and consequently your pocket.
Using old tyres and corrugated sheets, a farmer assembled a handy feeding trough.
Dr . Dave Midgley, stock health expert and farmer, shares inventive, practical ideas for designing feeding troughs, which he has seen over many years of visiting farms.
Poor pasture management and overgrazing can seriously damage a farm’s profit margins. Here is some tips to ensure optimal pasture and veld production.
Louis and Gerhard Lourens farm indigenous goats on a smallholding in Waterval, in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
Makasa Musonda, 43, of Lusaka is doing very well out of his goat farming business, although it hasn’t always been that way.
Etienne van Wyk (30) has just started farming on Spes Bona, a stock farm in the Marydale region. The farm is being leased to him as part of a new government plan to give land to black farmers who have agricultural training.
This Namibian farmer, however, planned his farm meticulously to maximise its potential and has built up a large enterprise consisting of two studs, commercial livestock and a game farm.
Carole keeps her farming business going in hard times by combining a talent for business with shrewd management skills and a diverse, multi-layered, enterprise mix.