Seasons of the Goat Farmer
Hello goat farmers. The rain season has come to pass with most of its challenges to the goat farmer. During the rainy season the goat is equally perturbed with the weather conditions. Goats do not like wet conditions a bit, they need shelter that protects them from rain. Now is the time for you to prepare for these changes that come with our three main seasons. Let us look at each season and the challenges it poses for the goat farmer.
- Summer is associated with rain in Zimbabwe. Goats do not like to get wet from rains. The farmer has to make sure that the shelter protects the goats from rain. Any leakages in the roof could cause problems to the farmer as the goats get affected by the damp conditions.
- Foot rot is a disease that affect the feet of goats when the conditions are damp. Many goats limping in the stock is an indication that the damp conditions are affecting the goats.
- Worms tent to infest goat stock more during the rainy season than any other time. This is because as the grass become more succulent, goats are attracted to graze. That is where they take in worm eggs. The nasal worm fly is more active during the wet season.
- Ticks explode in populations during the rainy season. The ticks spoil the farmers’ benefits from the flourishing pastures brought about by the rains. The farmer should increase dipping depending on the level of infestation by ticks to prevent tick borne diseases such as heart-water.
- The sudden improvement in the quality of feed in the pastures may trigger pulpy kidney disease. Farmers should vaccinate against pulpy kidney to prevent large scale mortalities. As a rule never dose against worms any goats and sheep that are not vaccinated against pulpy kidney.
Mature goats are not affected much by the normal cold seasons in Zimbabwe. However, kids may succumb to cold weather particularly when it averages around zero degrees Celsius. The farmer may need to have special housing for kids during winter if the area has severe winter temperatures.
Zimbabwe has a perennial veld fire problem. During the dry months, most pastures are destroyed by wild fires. Goats may be burnt by these ravaging fires. The biggest challenge is of course shortage of feed. Even where pastures are not destroyed by veld fires, the nutrition in the pastures declines during the dry season as most deciduous trees will have shaded the leaves the goats normally browse.
During the dry season, farmers have to assess the particular state of their pastures to decide the level of supplementation of the feed to their goats. If the pastures and browsing is not depleted, then the farmer can supplement minerals and that should see the herd to the next rain season.