Mbuzi: Goats in Zambia
Goat Journal editor Marissa Ames and her husband visit Zambia annually, where they work with a nonprofit focusing on education and uplifting the community. The I Am Zambia academy teaches career skills to vulnerable young women. Marissa arrived in January 2019 with a twofold focus: to teach aspects of online media to the girls and to explore different agricultural avenues available to Zambian farmers. The trip resulted in a working relationship with Mr. David Daka, who heads up the educational focus of Livestock Services in Lusaka. Mr. Daka organized classes for the students, taught by veterinarian Singole Arnold, about how to start goat-keeping and broiler chicken businesses.
On a field trip about an hour’s drive outside Lusaka, 11 students traveled to Penguin Goat Farm, overseen by Dr. Singole Arnold and Mr. Craig Daka, where they learned about goat husbandry while exercising their research and photography skills.
Though husbandry methods can vary internationally, Marissa was excited to learn that it didn’t differ much from how it is done in the U.S. Most goats kept by small-scale farmers are the breed indigenous to Zambia, multicolored and similar in conformation to West African Dwarf varieties. They are kept primarily for meat though some farmers do own milk goats. Forage and feed also differ, and Zambian goats have glossy coats that show no lack of minerals, though African farmers do deal with higher danger of parasites, especially Haemonchus contortus, or barber pole worm. Some people serve as goat merchants, purchasing goats from farmers for as low as K100 ($10) and selling them in the city for as high as K400 ($40.)
After the students returned from their trip, they teamed up to report on what they learned. These are excerpts from their reports. (Much of the spelling and language has been preserved to represent regional dialects.)
Bertha, Fellen, and Dorothy’s Report
I Am Zambia is an organisation that helps girls to learn about different skills. On January 23, 2019 we visited a farm in Meanwood Nkosi to learn about goat farming.
Goats are animals that are kept by goat farmers. Goats have a large stomach which is divided into four chambers namely the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. They have horns and a distinctive colour. Goats also need their hooves trimmed. Name tags is what differentiates them.
Goats mature when they are five to six months old. They give birth twice in a year and they mate for production purposes. Does help themselves when giving birth. After giving birth they become weak, so they are given medicine called iodine tincture, which is used to clean their wombs. Bucks are castrated to avoid a bad smell and are kept in a well-ventilated place.
Their favourite food is grass, sometimes they are fed with maize bran locally known as “gaga.”
By Bertha Mwamba, Fellen Zimba, and Dorothy Muchenga
Eneless, Miyoba, and Felistus’ Report
Our tour was to find out more about goats, how there are kept, fed, live, and how you know when there are sick. In our tour we found out that goats are mammals kept by humans in villages and farms for food such us meat and others keep for livestock.
Goats are supposed to be kept in a clean environment, given enough food and clean water available at all times so that the goats grow well and healthy. Goats have four stomachs and they eat during the day, because when it is dark there cannot see clearly. Goats like salt for sodium chloride and it is an appetiser. Goats feed on grass and maize bran. Goats don’t bathe because they hate water, but they keep themselves clean by eating natural vegetation.
When a goat is sick, you will know by the way it behaves. It won’t be active. It will spend most of its time sleeping and it won’t eat much food. When a goat eats plastic, it blocks the passage for gas and may cause harm which may result in the death of a goat. The other thing that kills goats are worms which are called Haemonchus. These worms suck blood from goats and cause death.
by Eneless, Miyoba, and Felistus
Deborah, Salome, Rejoice, Esther, and Miriam’s Report
When you want to start keeping goats, you need to have five does to one buck and when they mate a female goat gives birth to either a male or female. Female goat must be given an iodine tincture to clean the womb, and the new goats mature between five to seven months and it can either be eaten or sold.
There are three things that must be done on the goats. The first one is it should be vaccinated. Secondly, deworming every three months and the third, it must be injected through the mouth to control the external parasite.
You have to put tags on goats for identification; for example, blue can symbolise female and red male .
Challenges of keeping goats: they like leaves more than sheep. They eat much more than they are supposed to eat, and they like clean water.
Conclusion: We enjoyed our trip because it was educational, and we got motivated such that we wish to have our own goat farm one day.
By Deborah, Salome, Rejoice, Esther, and Miriam
For more information, visit iamzambia.org or I Am Zambia’s Facebook page.
Originally published in the May/June 2019 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.