Goat housing in India
Goat housing is important in intensive system of production infact one must ensure proper comfort of animals to gain maximum profits. It should be bear in mind that goats are living thing just like humans and their physiological requirements are also similar to us for growth and production.
|Figure 1:- Heating of shed is depend on air movement inside shed|
The main aim of housing is to protect animals from harsh, uneven climate as well as environmental stress. Physical surroundings of the animals form their environment. It could be micro environment which immediately surrounds the animal or macro environment which is broader area in which animal inhabits. Similarly climate is the unique combination of various metrological components which includes temperature, humidity, precipitation, winds and sunlight. Proper combination of all these components is necessary to provide needed comfort to animals.
In the era of changing climate and weird pattern of rainfall brought new diseases into the animal’s production system. Control housing could be the solution for these problems but its installation is expensive in present situation. Very less systematic study is being conducted on goat housing in India. So the basic idea is to adjust different meteorological components and bring them in the range in which goats feel pleasant and fine. For example in month of January farmer should provide heat convector or heaters inside the farms to increase the temperature and arrange coolers in summers.
|Figure 1:- Factors influencing animal production|
Basic requirements for housing
Where to locate animal housing/sheds
- On a well-drained area
- On a floor 1-1.5 ft above the ground should the area be waterlogged or prone to flooding
- keep in mind the possibility of expansion
- An appropriate flock development plan has to be made to anticipate future construction needs
|Figure 3a East West orientation recommended for tropical countries|
One can prevent the sun from heating up the stall too much by placing the longitudinal axis of the stall east - west. It is recommended in north Indian conditions.
|Figure 2b North South recommended for rainy areas|
Ventilation is of utmost importance to maintain a desirable interior temperature of 28 to 30°C. If the animals cannot get rid of heat because the surrounding temperature is too high (above 30°C), they eat less and therefore produce less.
Majority of pneumonia cases can be traced to excessively warm and humid interior and sudden changes in temperature. It is, therefore, necessary to make the shed sufficiently high and make sure there are openings for ventilation in the roof or walls.
Materials for building an animal barn
Solid brick wall along with galvanized wire net is most desirable in India conditions. Although it is expensive to make such durable building but its need is undeniable due to various reasons
|Figure 4a Movement of air in well ventilated barns|
|Figure 3b Air circulation in different seasons|
Asbestos roofing is essential in low height sheds and fiber shed could be used in high height sheds. Always avoid metal roofing because they easily heat up and cool down in summer and winter respectively. It is difficult to provide ideal environment inside the goat house in such conditions.
|Figure 4a Brick wall and Wire mesh in farm|
Walls of the goat house:Providing openings or short side walls of about 1 – 1.5 ft height will provide sufficient ventilation. A hedge can also fulfill this function. Outer walls are designed to protect animals from external influences and inner walls aid in animal management, such as controlling breeding. At a minimum, inner walls should create pens for:
- Females with young
- Females without young
Other pens to consider building are those for weaned young, young males of breeding age, young females of breeding age, and an isolation pen for sick animals. A paddock or yard alongside the shed where animals can exercise and be fed and watered can also be built.
|Figure 5b Asbestos roofing for goat house|
If the herd is large and space is available, additional pens should be constructed for:
- Weaned male lambs/kids of the same size should be kept together and not mixed with other animals to avoid competition for feed;
- Pregnant females close to parturition should be kept separately from nursing females, young females not bred yet and adult males;
- Whereas small barns may not need an aisle between pens, particularly in large barns, a center aisle makes many management practices easer; such as sorting animals, feeding, monitoring breeding, etc. It also facilitates movement of workers in the barn.
Floor of the goat house: The floor could either be packed earth, concrete or slatted.Packed earth or concrete floors should have a slope of about 5% (1:20) for good drainage. Raised platforms where goats can lie above the floor and away from manure and urine are also beneficial. These can be placed along the longest wall of the barn.
Slatted floor is good from hygienic point of view and disease occurrences are least in this case but its expensiveness limits its use for large farms. It could be used successfully in breeding farms to maintain elite flocks.
Slatted floors should be raised about 1-1.5 meters above ground level to facilitate easy cleaning and collecting of dung and urine. The gap between the slats should be 1.4 to 1.6 cm to allow easy passage of fecal material and guarantee safe footing for the animals. Newborn and young lambs should not be put on slatted floors.
A raised, slatted floor in tropical and subtropical areas has the following advantages:
- No need of bedding
- Allows manure, urine and debris to drop through the slatted floor, thus removing a major source of disease and parasite infestation
- Requires less labor to clean and maintain
- Remains relatively dry and clean
- Reduced space requirements
- Manure is easily collected for fertilizer use or for sale
- Allows air to pass through the slats increasing ventilation and comfort in hot weather.
Disadvantages of slatted floor for goats
The main disadvantage of raised, slatted floors is the high expense of construction. Some materials, such as bamboo, may be cheaper than wood but may provide less secure footing. For all but the smallest barns, commercial wood is preferred to bamboo as it stronger and more long-lasting. Cost, ease of installation and safety must all be considered when selecting flooring material for a slatted floor. Other concerns with slatted floors are leg and foot problems from too wide a gap or poor maintenance of existing slatted floors.
Pucca floor: It is most recommended from hygienic point of view. Breeding and dry stock can be maintained with some bedding material on pucca floor. Daily or weekly cleaning with disinfectant is advisable. However hoof problems are encounter with this type of flooring.