A few metres from Riat Centre in Seme, Kisumu County sits the home of Moses Omondi, who has specialised in dairy goat farming.
A section of his 1.5 acres hosts four goat sheds measuring about 4 by 3 metres each.
We find one of his workers finishing cleaning the sheds. Later, he takes nine lactating cows for milking at another shed.
“We don’t mix the goats, the does stay separately and so do the bucks. We keep 34 goats in total, 15 are adult and the rest are kids,” says Omondi, who mainly keeps the German Alpine breed.
The 39-year-old says he had an option of going for the Saanens or Toggenburgs but he did not since he couldn’t get the genealogy of the animals he wanted from the farmers.
The German Alpine breed is a moderate feeder producing two to three litres of milk on average daily, but with better management, it can even hit four litres.
“I get 18 litres of milk a day from the nine goats. Each produces between two to three litres a day that I sell for Sh90 a litres,” says the farmer, who sells the milk to local residents.
Unfortunately, people in the region do not appreciate the value of goat milk.
“So I ensure I take good care of the kids well which I sell later getting some good income. I sell young bucks when they are seven to 12 months old at Sh20,000 for breeding purposes,” says Omondi, who has registered his animals with Kenya Stud Books, where he also gets high quality pedigree bucks for his breeding business.
COMFORTABLE IN THE DRY AREA
On the other hand, in-calf does which are on demand in HomaBay, Vihiga, Kakamega, Siaya and Kisumu counties go for Sh25,000.
He feeds his animals on napier grass and shrubs such as lucerne, acacia, calliandra and desmodium thrice a day. He also mixes nutritious salt licks in water.
“The bulk of the feed are the shrubs which are locally available, cutting the cost of production in the intensive zero-grazing system,” says the father of two.
Omondi started the venture in February 2008 after paying a visit to a dairy goat farm in Embu. He bought two does and a buck at Sh20,000 each.
“I went for goats because they could live comfortably in this area, which is dry. I then set up the sheds which cost Sh50,000,” says Omondi, who has two employees and lost two animals to pneumonia when he was starting.
Pneumonia is an acute illness that renders an animal too weak to feed and dies in 72 hours if treatment is not offered.
The disease is caused by poor hygiene and bad structures that expose the goats to harsh weather. Symptoms include general body weakness, cough, hyperpnea and nasal discharge accompanied by fever.
One should quarantine the affected flock and treat them immediately.