Goat Farming in South Africa

© Chris Daly
A Saanen dairy goat and her kid on a goat farm near George.

Goats produce milk, meat, skins, cashmere, mohair and play an integral part in religious and cultural ceremonies. They are mankind’s first domesticated animal and have been farmed in conditions ranging from the harshest climates to the most modern intensive dairy farms in the world.

Goat Farming in South Africa is the livelihood for subsistence farmers in rural areas, stud breeders, mohair producers, dairy farms and commercial meat farmers. With this range of goat-related topics in all 11 official South African languages, SouthAfrica.co.za hopes to empower goat farmers to learn more about these fascinating and versatile animals.

Body Condition in Dairy Goats

‘Body Condition Scoring’ (BCS) is an important tool for goat farmers to optimize the production, feeding and welfare of their animals....more

Common Diseases and Problems with Goats

Diseases and health problems in goats can be caused not only by various types of organisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa or worms) but also by poor nutrition....more

Consumers of Goat Meat

A French study ‘Situation, changes and future of the goat industry around the world’ (October 2018) has found that most goat meat is consumed directly by the producer or locally....more

Diseases in Goats

Good feeding and preventative healthcare such as vaccinations and parasite control form the basis of assuring healthy goats, but even so, animals are always at risk of diseases, parasites, metabolic conditions and toxins....more

Feeding Dairy Goats

Goats are versatile in selecting their food, and where suitable bushes and trees are available, they will prefer to browse....more

Feeding Goats on Pasture

Pasture (grazing land covered with grass) tends to be high in energy and protein when it is in a vegetative (growing) state....more

Feeding of Goats

Goats are popular farming animals because they are predominantly browsers and can be used in shrub and bushveld farming areas together with grazers like cattle....more

Feeding Programmes for Dairy Goats

Before buying dairy goats to start dairy goat farming, it is important to plan their feeding programme....more

Goat Breeds in South Africa

According to the Department: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) there are only 250 goat stud breeders in South Africa....more

Goat Meat: Characteristics and Cooking

Goat farming in South Africa is focused on the production of goats for meat (indigenous and Boer goats)...more

Goat Milk Products

Goat milk is very nutritious, has a protein composition similar to human breast milk and is more digestible than cow milk....more

Goats in South Africa

South Africa is a relatively minor goat producing country, possessing approximately 3% of Africa’s goats and less than 1% of the world’s goats. Goats are found throughout the country...more

Handling of Goats

Smallish pens and handling facilities allow for easier handling of the goats rather than trying to work with them in a large camp....more

How to Care for the Hooves of Goats

When goats’ hooves are overgrown, it can lead to hoof rot (on the sole and the wall of the hoof) and hoof scald, which occurs between the hoof ‘toes’....more

How to Feed Sick Goats

Sick goats need more water, energy and protein than healthy goats but they have a lower appetite. Encourage its appetite with small meals, moistening the feed and adding molasses...more

Imports and Exports of Goat Meat

Live imports of goats into South Africa must comply with export permits for livestock from neighbouring countries and with sanitary measures of South Africa....more

Indigenous Goat Breeds of South Africa

Migration nations from central Africa migrated southwards to escape tsetse fly and tick-borne diseases and brought with them a mix of long- and short-eared goats....more

Indigenous Goat Farming in South Africa

Indigenous goats arrived in South Africa during the later part of the Stone Age with migrating tribes and are found in the areas where the different ethnic groups settled....more

Marketing of Meat Goats in South Africa

The commercial availability of goat meat in South Africa is low compared to lamb, mutton and other red meats....more

Meat Goat Breeds in South Africa

Most of the world’s 570 goat breeds in the world were developed from three types of goats - the Bezoar, Savannah and Nubian goat types....more

Meat Goat Farming in South Africa

Goats produce fibre, skins and milk but the primary reason for keeping goats is for goat meat production....more

Medical Terms for Goats - Glossary

The following is a glossary of Medical Terms relating to Goat Farming in South Africa...more

Milk Goat Farming in South Africa

Milch goats (milk goats) have the advantage over cows, as they can be kept on poorer grazing where dairy cows cannot be kept so economically....more

Milking of Dairy Goats

Goat milk production peaks in the first month or two after kidding. Colostrum, the first milk from the udder, is vital for the baby goat’s immune system....more

Mineral Supplements for Goats

If a dairy meal for dairy goats is purchased, the feed manufacturer usually includes a list of vitamins and minerals. If a dairy meal is not fed, then it may be necessary to feed a mineral...more

Mohair in South Africa

Mohair from across South Africa, is brought to Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth area in the Eastern Cape province) where it is processed....more

Mohair Production and Marketing in South Africa

The average fleece weight varies depending on the age of the goat; kids fleece will be about at 500g at first shearing compared to adults fleece weighing around 2 kg....more

Problems with Goats on Pastures

If goats have not previously been on pasture, introduce them gradually by allowing them only 30 minutes of grazing on the first day....more

Shearing of Angora Goats

When shearing Angora goats, they must be handled with patience and to allow for their natural behaviour - curious and clever....more

Supplementary Feeding for Goats

A goat gets most of the nutrients from grazing and needs to spend 6 - 8 hours a day grazing (eating grasses) and browsing (eating leaves)....more

Supply and Demand of Goat Meat in South Africa

Local cultural demand for the use of goats in South Africa is currently driving (and exceeding) the supply of live goats....more

Symptoms of Diseases in Goats

Look for animals that are depressed, lying down, scratching itself, not eating or drinking or behaving strangely like butting its head or kicking its limbs....more

Terms used in Goat Farming

The following terms used in Goat Farming in South Africa are explained below...more

Traceability of Goat Meat in South Africa

Traceability is the ability to track any food or ingredient back to its origin. It will follow the path of production, processing and distribution up to retailing on the shelf of the supermarket....more

Types of Feeds for Goats

Feeds for goats are traditionally classified into three categories Roughage, Concentrates and Supplements...more

Vaccination programmes for Goats

Goats can be vaccinated at various stages throughout their development to protect against diseases and infestations....more

Vitamin Supplements for Goats

Goats are intelligent animals and range free to eat herbs, weeds and other deep-rooted plant material, which has a relatively high mineral content....more