Editor’s Note: Abiola is a tech entrepreneur based in Abuja, Nigeria. He recently ventured into goat farming and shared the following post on his wall (post may be protected). With his permission, we have reproduced, edited and titled it. He has also graciously accepted to write a full series post on how he got started and the full lessons so far. Subscribe to the newsletter to be sure to get the posts.
Twenty of Sixty-Nine Goats Died in the First Thirty Days
The first set of goats on OUR farm arrived the second week of November 2016. They were 69 in number. One died in transit due to poor handling. Within 30 days of arrival on the farm, 19 had died. I consulted more broadly with Veterinary doctors. You won’t believe I consulted with almost 17 Vets. Most of them recommended the vaccine I had come on Facebook to seek help on how to get. To cut long story short, we never got any vaccines in spite of the best help and efforts of those who tried giving a helping hand. Some even said maybe it was the diet. I changed their feeds a number of times.
Close Observation of Farm Activities
I read and undertook some further research on my own. While this was ongoing, I was observing closely what was happening on the farm. I sat down to think critically and make a decision. Either to sell off the remaining goats and the infrastructure that had been erected and share the funds amongst all shareholders in the farm, thereby cutting the loss or stubbornly stick it out just to prove that I was capable and can succeed. How will I feel telling people who had cheered me on to succeed that the farm failed? You know the human ego is a dangerous and self-deceptive thing.
Choosing Between Ego And Data
As someone who doesn’t allow my ego overrule good judgement, I waited things out a bit to gather more facts. After about just a week, I realised that those who were managing the farm were responsible for the deaths of the goats. Goats don’t just die in high numbers like that. They were careless and dubious at the same time. So, I decided to bring in a new farm hand to oversee and care for the goats. For about 2 and half months he was in charge, there was no single casualty. The herd were well fed and healthy. This gave me the clear indication that poor and careless caring for the goats had led to the avoidable deaths. Had they been administered their drugs and attended to quickly, they wouldn’t have even fallen sick, much worse dying. In Nigeria or as Africans, the first wave of challenges or losses is often seen as a bad omen. We simply abandon ship and run away. We don’t want to understand why things happened or fail.
Change The New Farm Hand – Avoid A Repeat
Seeing that things had become stable, I proceeded to buy the remaining goats in January to increase the herd to 120. After the new goats arrived, they were quarantined for a week, dewormed and given antibiotics, along with Vitamins and salt lick. During this time, the new farm hand who had brought stability had started misbehaving. He’d leave the farm without permission for days, putting his less than 10-year-old in charge. I had warned him more than 4 times about this but he never adjusted. I found a replacement for him and gave him the boot. Took about a month for the new guys to stabilise.
It’s Bad Practise To Start With Aged Nanny Goats
I should have been discouraged when the first kid birth died after one week of hoping it wouldn’t die. Well, as at today, we have 21 kid goats from 23 births. Two kids died at birth. If we had started with aged or matured Nanny goats, the number should have doubled or tripled but it is against the good breeding practice to start with aged Nanny goats as they might have passed their breeding prime and difficult to determine their age. With what we have, they have a lengthy prime breeding life.
See the photos. The first set of kids is already big and sellable within the next three months as they would have grown to maturity. I can’t thank Dr. Musa Mbahi enough for being resourceful in many ways.