Why the galla goat is gaining popularity in asal counties
I have been a cow farmer here in Mashuru Kajiado County for over five years in a ranch system. I have been doing beef production from cows but I have been thinking seriously about changing completely to goat-keeping. Feeds are becoming a great concern during dry seasons. Cows also hold onto my money for so long in the process exposing me to many risks.
I have been admiring this indigenous breed called Galla goat which has become very common not only in my locality but also in other areas I have visited. Or could it be that I am biased now that I am thinking of changing to goat keeping? What is special about this goat so that I don’t make a mistake keeping it as I change over to goat farming.
Mr. Josephat Sakuda
Yes, Goats have Advantages over large Stock
Thanks, so much Josephat for reading the Smart Harvest and also for sharing with us your dreams and the question. I look forward to getting feedback on your proposed project.
Goats are historically documented to be among the very first animals to be domesticated by man, may be based on the many advantages they have over cattle. Goats off course have many advantages over the large stock. They have a short turnaround time and will quickly grow your investment. Goat milk has nutritional additions as compared to cow milk. Goat milk is easily digestible; a reason it is recommended for children, sickly, and the elderly. Galla goat though predominately a meat breed has dairy potentials and has also been kept for milk production. Goats require a relatively smaller space and feeds; goat are also very good at converting feed into meat. You do not need as much investment either.
How Does Galla Goat Look like?
Galla goats are white in colour and will have a black muzzle, skin, nose, feet and under the tail. Galla goats have short ears and hair. They are large and an adult male can weigh up to 70Kg and females up to 55Kg making this breed enticing to goat meat lovers. Female Galla (does) goats have a lifespan of 10 years during which they will keep kidding and adding to the numbers of your stock – they don’t suffer menopause.
Galla goats have good growth rates even in harsh drought conditions. Their large size gives them a much-needed advantage to browse on bushes too high for other goat breeds. They are mainly meat breeds but they are also good for milk production. Does can produce between 1-3 Kgs of milk daily.
Why the Galla Goat?
So, why is Galla common in Kenya today? Well, Kenya is among its original homes. Galla goats are natives of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somali. They are in fact sometimes called Somali or Boran Goats. In Kenya are indigenous to Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. Galla goats are well adopted to these areas and thrive well where other goat breeds do not.
Galla goats do not like cold and wet climates. They are suited for low altitudes. They are also resistant to diseases and a number of internal worms. Galla goats are generally docile and therefore easy to handle. Galla can be cross-bred with other breeds.
Many Counties have bought and distributed Galla goats to households in the past further adding to the popularity of this special goat.
The breed is currently found almost everywhere in Kenya. The sweetness of its meat has endeared most ranchers to settle for Galla. If there is a goat breed to watch in Kenya then it the Galla.
(Dr Othieno is a veterinary surgeon and currently the head of communications at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Kenya. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of FAO but his own)
Want to get latest farming tips and videos?
Farmers fury over KRA move to target their earnings
Government monitoring food stock as drought worsens
Prolonged drought kills livestock in Taita Taveta
Coast fishermen decry punitive laws and license fees