In much of the developing world, goat milk is often sought for its unique taste, easy digestion, and overall health benefits. Those who are allergic to cow’s milk often turn to goat’s milk as a substitute. Hence, raising dairy goats such as Sables could be an advantage for your family’s milk consumption. It can also be an extremely profitable enterprise in the local and international markets.
To raise sable goats, a good few elements should be considered. This should include the following:
- Look for a suitable location;
- Determine how many Sable goats to purchase;
- Learn about Sable goat characteristics;
- Study basic Sable goat farming information;
- Practice health or veterinary measures;
- Calculate expenditure; and
- Study the market.
Since it has long been established that goat farming has a very promising potential in business, the best way to not miss out on such a great opportunity is to start raising Sable goats now. Besides, Sable goats, like any other goats, grow fast and require minimum management. In fact, goats are the fastest-growing animals next to chickens. Common myths that goats will eat your lawnmower or your outdoor furniture are so far from reality.
Goats are generally not mean and even fun to have around at home. In this article, here is everything you should follow in raising Sable goats for milk production. From picking out the most suitable location to learning overall goat needs, and everything in between, this article covers it all.
Look for a Suitable Location
The very first step in raising Sable goats is to look for a suitable location. To start with, it is very important to have access to a large amount of space where your Sable goats can exercise and roam around. Keeping them in a confined area will most likely cause them to become lonely and sick since small spaces allow the easy spread of diseases.
You Sable goats will also forage food from your location that it is wise to make sure whether or not you can grow vegetation around the area. Additionally, the location should also provide access to water on a regular basis.
A big outdoor area further determines the shelter, fence, and entertainment for your Sable goats. A spacious shelter will keep your Sable goats safe from heat and rain while a large fence will keep them intact and out of predator’s reach. Similarly, a play area such as ramps to climb on will keep them entertained.
Determine How Many Sable Goats to Purchase
The second important element to know about goats, in general, is that they are social animals. Most people often make the mistake of purchasing only one goat. If you only raise one Sable goat, the chances of longing for a company are extremely high. In the next few days, your Sable goat will most likely start bleating and calling out for a friend. Therefore as a beginner farmer, it is wise to raise two Sable goats at a time. Start by purchasing two Sable does, preferably of the same herd so that they are comfortable with one another.
But if you are a farmer targeting the international market, you can start with purchasing as many Sable goats as you like, provided that you can afford the cost.
Learn About Sable Goat Characteristics
Derived from Saanen, a goat, which is a Swiss breed, the Sable goat is another good breed of dairy goat. The milk of a Sable goat contains about 3-4 percent of butterfat content. It is similar to the appearance of a Saanen goat, except that a Saanen goat is completely white while a Sable goat can appear in any color. This different coloration results from the interaction of recessive genes from the sire and the dam, which were used for the development. The variety of colors includes brown, grey, and black, and no more than 50% white. The colored skin makes them perfect for hot areas and well-protected from skin cancer.
They are medium-sized animals with a very deep, wide, and long body. Their ribs are well-sprung and pointing to the rear. Their back is usually straight with a very little slope to the rump. Their legs are long and wide apart. They also have large and upright ears. Their ears are the same color as the body and stand erect from the side of the head. Their hairs are short and fine. The horn of Sable does usually grow up and curls back from their heads. The horn of Sable bucks usually grows straight back from the head and curls toward the back of their bodies when not disbudded. Generally, their overall appearance is tall and heavy, with an average body height of 132 lbs for Sable does and 187 lbs for Sable bucks. The average live body weight is 80 cm at the withers for Sable does and 90 cm at the withers for Sable bucks. Sable does mature at 5 to 15 months while Sable bucks mature at 3 to 15 months.
Study Basic Goat Farming Information
Like any other goats, Sables need a clean and dry shelter. The ideal shelter should be strong enough to protect the Sables from harsh climates such as extreme heat, heavy rain, and even winter. When establishing the shelter, you should make sure that there is enough room for water, storage, ventilation, feeding area, breeding area, and milking area.
Fencing is also necessary and imperative in raising Sables as they tend to be experts in sneaking in and out of their shelter. By building a fence, they will be confined and will be safe from predators around the area, such as stray packs of dogs. The ideal fence should be at least 4 to 5 ft. tall and supported by sturdy wooden posts.
Contrary to common beliefs, Sables do not eat everything they see at all times. They can be picky eaters in cases when they are physically sick. In light of this, it is important to educate yourself with the right amount of food and appropriate feeding equipment that Sables will need in order to stay well-fed and in good health.
Generally, Sables, like any other goats, are plant-based. They can be fed with shrubs, trees, leaves, hays, corn, barley, oats, sunflower’s black seeds, and grains. They must be fed at least four times a day. In order for your Sables to produce high-quality milk, you must ensure that they have a proper nutritious diet. A proper nutritious diet is composed of vitamins, minerals, 20% of proteins, and trace elements. Along with nutritious food, a clean and fresh drinking water should also be provided. During breeding, pregnancy, and post-delivery cases, special care should be given to the Sable goats.
When feeding Sables, you may need the common feeding supplies: feed storage containers, feed buckets, mineral block, water trough, and hay manger. Make sure to never run out of these supplies since these will be essential during the feeding process.
Sables are not seasonal goats and can actually breed throughout the year. However, the most important part of the breeding program is to select a good male Sable. A good male Sable means it is healthy, it is strong, and most importantly, it is disease-free. The proper breeding ratio for Sable goats is usually 15:1; for every 15 female Sable goats, one male Sable goat should be maintained. In each birth, one to two Sable goat kids should be expected 150 days after breeding.
The reason why you are raising your Sables is mainly for milk production. Generally, Sables have superior milking ability. A Sable doe usually produces 3 to 4 percent of milk fat. The average total milk is ½ gallon per day or 15 gallons a month for every Sable. The milking ability of Sables is almost the same with Saanens, but a lot of farmers claim that Sables perform better when it comes to commercial milk production.
Like any other goat breeds, a Sable doe will begin to produce milk right after birth and will lactate for up to 10 months. They should be allowed to dry up and rest from milk production for two months before they are bred again.
Contrary to usual impressions, milking a Sable is actually an easy process, especially when you have proper training and guidance from an experienced farmer. They are usually fed with grains during milking time. You will need to milk your Sable once or twice a day, about 10 to 12 hours apart. As soon as you have milked the goat, make sure you chill the milk right away.
Most importantly, you will need to keep the milking area and milking equipment clean at all times and keep the milking time consistent as well.
Practice Health or Veterinary Measures
There are many components that go into your goats’ overall health and wellbeing. For one, it is important to keep them groomed, brushed, clipped, and cleaned on a regular basis. Additionally, you should also reward them with treats every now and then to keep them energized and cheerful.
The care that you should give your Sable goats should include the following:
- Any non-toxic plants should be removed from the area.
- The bodies are kept clean and washed with mild soap.
- The feeding area should be cleaned regularly to prevent contamination.
- The shelter should be kept clean and dry at all times to prevent unexpected diseases.
- Proper vaccination should be observed on a regular basis. Thus, a veterinary doctor should be maintained.
- Special care, attention, and additional feed should be provided to pregnant, lactating, and breeding Sable goats.
- A sick Sable goat should be separated immediately from the group until treated.
Even when you provide a healthy lifestyle to your Sables, there is still a possibility that they will get sick. Under such circumstances, it is necessary to treat the sick ones immediately so that the disease will not spread to the rest of the herd. You can tell that your Sables are sick when abnormal conditions such as these occur:
- abnormal discharges
- not getting up
- not eating or drinking
- not urinating
- runny eyes or nose
- pale eyelids or gums
- pressing heads against a fence or wall
- isolating themselves from the rest of the herd
When any of the above conditions occur, it is best to consult your veterinary doctor immediately.
Calculate the Expenditure
The cost of raising Sable goats depends on the location, cost of food, number of Sable goats purchased, and overall planned raising system. But typically, a Sable goat and milking set-up will cost you an average of $800 to $2000, excluding the food, supplements, veterinary cost, fencing, water systems, and housing.
Of course, starting out with few Sables for a small scale farming business will most likely require less investment with less profit. Otherwise, large scale farming for commercial purposes will most likely require a higher investment.
There are specific questions that you should ask yourself before deciding that raising Sable goats is good for you and your finances:
- How much will the location cost you?
- How much will your target number of Sable goats cost you?
- How much does it cost to build housing, fencing, and water system?
- How much are the raising equipment and feeding supplies?
- How much is a veterinary procedure?
- How much are the legal fees for selling milk?
- How much do food and supplementary minerals cost?
Study the Market
Your main purpose for raising your Sables is milk production and extensive profit out of it. More than the concern on the location and estimated costs, you should not forget to study the market first.
If you are a beginner farmer, you can start targeting the nearest local markets. It is an advantage for you if the location of your farm maintains good market proximity since it allows easy marketing of your milk production.
With proper training and farm management, you can reach out to the international market in the succeeding years to export your milk production. Goat milk has an enormous demand and popularity globally. Hence, considering this reality, high and growing production and profit shall definitely transpire for you.
What not to feed Sable goats with?
As mentioned earlier, Sable goats are plant-based. However, you should not feed them with toxic plants such as wild cherries, lilacs, milkweed, crotalaria, azaleas, rhubarb leaves, palm leaves, and more. You can only feed them with anything that is edible and nutritious. Since your target is milk production, nutrition is a very important factor in deciding what to feed your Sables with.
How different is goat’s milk from cow’s milk?
The standard drinking milk is derived from cows. But over the years, milk from goats has earned a niche in the local and international markets for certain consumers. The reason for this is that compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk is easier to digest, and some consumers who are sensitive to dairy products can consume it safely. Naturally, goat’s milk is homogenized because the fat globules are smaller than those in cow’s milk. The existing goat’s milk products in the market are commonly smooth and creamy because of these small fat globules.
What are the things Sable goats are vulnerable to?
Sable goats, especially the young ones, are most vulnerable to cold. It is therefore very necessary to keep them under warm conditions at all times. When there is neglect in keeping the Sables within a fully-enclosed shelter during winter and rainy seasons, the mass death of Sable goats might be experienced. Of course, that is the last thing you want to wake up to the next morning.
Additionally, Sable goats can get sick and die easily when there is no proper sanitation. If a Sable gets sick, it needs to be treated right away and separated from the rest of the herd in order to not pass on the disease to others. If you are a prospective goat farmer, it is safe to say that proper training on goat farming will most likely save you from a lot of hassles in the future.
How important is grooming and caring for your Sable goats?
Aside from the prospective profit, grooming and caring for your Sable goats help form a bond between the two of you. This is essential so that their trust and reliance on you will be developed. Additionally, grooming them will allow you to become familiar and monitor their bodies consistently. Through closely monitoring them, you can easily tell whether or not they are sick or impacted with a parasite before the rest of the herd gets affected.
Should you take a trade license for the Sable goat farming business?
Even when goat farming is under animal husbandry of agriculture, the commercial units must still have all appropriate permits to operate. For specific details regarding the permit, you should reach out to your local animal husbandry department.