What you need to know:
- A two-month-old Galla goat sells at Shs4,500 and two-year-old goat fetches Sh12,000.
- In August 2020, to prevent diseases and cross–infection, she bought 62 goats at Sh3,500.
Maaah! Maaah! Kids of Galla goats bleat as they charge towards their mothers soon after the herder opens their pen to suckle. Suddenly, the kids call in the wild attracts the mums who reciprocate and rush towards them.
In the middle of nowhere in the rural set up at the Binuru Goat and Farm in Zowerani, Kilifi County, the sunrise rays beam early in the morning as Furaha Wanjiru holds a newly born kid from her flock.
Moving up and down in this section of the farm, she listens keenly at those coughing in the pens constructed with makeshift iron sheets supported by wooden tree planks harvested from the farm trees.
At the same time, Ms Wanjiru observation spots a mature goat with an injury on its foreleg. To her, this routine she carries every morning to know the health of her animals once she visits the farm monthly from her Nairobi residence.
At the farm, located over 160 kilometers from Mombasa town and 50 kilometers away from Malindi town, the goats are released at exactly 6am to start feeding on the thorny trees and bushes.
Interestingly, they run out and follow the route towards the feeding habitat. In numbers, they identify trees to feed on leaves and flowers while standing on their hind legs at head height.
In herding practice at the pens Ms Wanjiru, the 2021 Nairobi North Rotary Club President-elect, keeps over 450 mature Galla goats breed whose body weight is between 45kgs to 70kgs.
“I am into the big-bodied goats farming because they are hardy and can survive in arid and semi-arid areas and are profitable,” says the Customer Service and Contact Centre Manager at Kentrade.
The 2012 Master of Arts International Conflict Management graduate at the University of Nairobi, Ms Wanjiru says goats have a good income and give birth twice a year.
“Notable, they are easily managed even with small space of land compared to cows”, she adds.
At the 30 acre farm for ease of management, the goats are tagged on their ears for identity and monitoring.
“It is easy to treat them when suffering by tracking their numbers once identified,” she adds.
Seated on a log near her three-roomed farmhouse during the interview, she explains her journey into goat farming.
Ms Wanjiru says she settled into the settlement scheme farm in 2012 after buying the land at KShs700, 000.
"We were a group of friends on an adventure to invest in farming at the Coast region from Nairobi. Our idea was to rent the farms but not buying,” she says.
After purchasing the land, she had no idea how to start the project but through goat farm visits in Tororo in Uganda and Gichea Farm in Taita Taveta, she was encouraged and her interest developed.
“I bench-marked and to avoid the high cost of pen construction, I opted for simple structures that use available materials,” says Ms Wanjiru.
Her first batch of 100 goats in 2010 had pure breeds of bucks and does from Garissa in Northern Kenya bought at KShs200, 000.
“Due to pneumonia, I lost 20 goats and had to call experienced farmers to help solve the problem. I realised that animals from Garissa were prone to diseases and I changed the source of purchase," she says.
Steadily, the numbers increased in 2018 because most of them gave birth to twins or triplets, but unfortunately, her two herders on the farm conspired and 73 goats could not be accounted for.
“I was informed by one of them that he had instructions from me to sell the goats which was not the case. I called the police but the goats were never found,” she says.
But after the incident, her motivation into raring was low after the loss leaving her with only 150 goats. But Ms Wanjiru never gave up raising more goats with encouragement from the village elder.
“The village elder in Zowerani cheered me up, he proposed to stay at the farm for two weeks without compensation until I got other employees,” explains the mother of three.
In 2019, more goats were bought in Matoleni area and the numbers increased to 210 goats. In August 2020, to prevent diseases and cross–infection, she bought 62 goats at Sh3,500.
Explaining her goat management venture, Ms Wanjiru says that the cycle of does birth after the buck serves is five months. After birth, the kids can be separated at two to three months to start feeding on leaves.
Adult female goats
“The goats are free-range and are fed twice a day within the land area.” she says.
She keeps records on the sales of bucks and adult female goats and monitors the animals safety.
Further, she offers her workers training on water safety, disease control and disease control.
Responding to how she motivates her employees apart from the salary, she says she gives some of them kids to encourage them to get into self-employment.
On the environment response to goats keeping, she says the weather is warm most of the year and there is a vast land that is unoccupied for goats’ raring development.
Referring to expenses incurred to raise goats, she spends Sh10,000 every three weeks to buy water for her 10,000 litres pan and minimal amounts on drugs as advised by the vet.
On sales, a two-month-old Galla goat sells at Sh4,500 and two-year-old goat fetches Sh12,000.
Currently, she is selling 25 mature female goats for meat and her average monthly sales depend on demand but in November and December 2020 she sold 30.
Regarding the market, she says: Market for goats is not struggling both locally and internationally. There is a demand for goat meat in homes and commercial premises and the venture has minimal risk compared to other livestock farming,” she adds.
Her future plans? Ms Wanjiru plans to manage other peoples goats on an agreement and raise her monthly income in the next five years to Sh500,000.
“For those interested, I plan to manage them for one to two years with all the accounts open and allow them to pick when they start finding the venture is profitable,” she concluded.
Mtepeni Ward Assistant Livestock Officer in Kilifi County, Harrison Said Kiti, says contagious Caprine Pleuro Pneumonia (CCPP) is deadly and leads to deaths of the goats.
Ms Kiti says that the symptoms for CCPP are nasal discharge and coughing and the treatment is antibiotics as advised by the vets. He adds that for quality goats, mineral licks are important since they help in muscle and bone development.