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AGRICULTURE REPORT - Dairy Goat Production

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

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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 several hundred 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.

Goats with horns seem to survive better in the heat than goats without horns. But 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 to reflect heat from the sun. There should be plenty of fresh air inside the shelter.

Goats enjoy exercise and need to move around. When goats are inside a shelter, each adult animal should have at least two-and-a-half square meters of space. When they are outside, a fenced-off area should allow about forty square meters for each animal.

Fences should be about one-and-a-half meters to two meters high. Some wire fences can be dangerous for young goats. Their horns can become trapped. So make sure the wire fence is the right height for young goats.

Many of the same methods used to keep cows healthy can also be used with goats. In fact, sometimes young cows cannot drink a lot 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 Volunteers in Technical Assistance. VITA is an organization based in the United States. It helps people around the world use science and technology to solve problems. VITA is on the Internet at www.vita.org.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Gary Garriott.

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