- After working as a government officer attached to the Prisons Department for a number of years, Kitur, 46, was in need of a new challenge. In 2013, he quit his job after finding a new calling: rearing dairy goats.
- He grows maize and hay to ensure that there is a constant supply for both his goats and cows.
- When rearing goats, one needs to be careful to avoid inbreeding.
- Dairy goat farmers should ensure frequent change of the male goat that serves the specific herd to improve on milk production and body conformation traits.
The undulating land populated by green wheat and maize crops swaying gently in the wind on the Eldoret - Kitale road, offers a breathtaking view. It is a sight most of Uasin Gishu County residents are used to especially at this time of the year.
But at Kamagut village, before you get to the township of Soy, there is something they are not quite familiar with.
Apart from wheat and maize farming, the county is also known for its dairy cows — not exotic dairy goats that Mr Julius Kitur first introduced here three years ago.
After working as a government officer attached to the Prisons Department for a number of years, Kitur, 46, was in need of a new challenge.
In 2013, he quit his job after finding a new calling: rearing dairy goats.
“I had just visited a white farmer in Timau, Meru County, who reared dairy goats and I developed an instant interest and decided to buy the goats from him,” he says.
And so armed with Sh56,000 he got into the business.
“I bought a Toggenburg buck (male) for Sh13,000 and two does- an Alpine German and a Toggenburg- at Sh20,000 each and ferried them to Uasin Gishu,” he says.
He later bought an animal feed grinder at Sh180,000. The machine converts the grass into smaller pieces that the goats will able to ingest more with ease.
He grows maize and hay to ensure that there is a constant supply for both his goats and cows- he also keeps 20 dairy cows.
“Unlike cows that consume 10 bales of hay in four days, the goats consume that amount for more than two months. Also the price of the cow’s milk is at Sh33 per litre whereas that of a goat goes for more than Sh200,” he says.
MASTERED THE ART OF BREEDING GOATS
For a single meal of the goat, one bag of hay is mixed with 10 kilos of dairy meal.
Within the compound he has put up three structures. One of them is where he stores his feeds. The rest host the goats.
“We keep either the males or females interchangeably to avoid disturbing the feeding habits. Since, the goats require a clean place we have ensured the floor is raised with little openings for the droppings to go down,” adds Kitur, whose herd has grown to six after he added more German Alpine.
From the six goats, he gets 20 litres of milk that is sold to the neighbours and local dairies in Eldoret town.
“I now plan to increase the milk production to 50 litres a day by this year and start supplying directly to the supermarkets,” he says.
The farmer has mastered the art of breeding the goats and sells to other farmers who want to follow in his footsteps.
“One needs to be careful to avoid inbreeding. I normally keep records to ensure that one buck doesn’t serve the offspring. For instance, I either separate female offspring from the buck or dispose them off after two months,” he says.