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"HEART OF AFRICA"
Burundi Goat Rehabilitation Project

Alliance Burundaise pour la Coopération et le Développement &
Austrian Help Program

burundigoats@yahoo.com
http://burundigoats.tripod.com

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Managing Parasites in the Tropics  With Better Housing & Nutrition

 

In parts of Africa and S.E. Asia the population to land ratio is very high and this is putting more and more pressure on available forage.  It is also forcing livestock into smaller and smaller areas, which is leading to over-exploitation of existing forage as well as to larger numbers of parasites dropped on the land.  Due to these changes - as well as to year-round tropical weather - higher parasite burdens are being experienced in small ruminants, resulting in increased mortality and illness and decreased growth of the young.  As well, sufficient, year-round forage is becoming more and more problematic due to agricultural expansion into forage areas.

To address these problems, elevated housing is increasingly being used in conjunction with a system of feeding called 'zero-grazing'.  In zero-grazing, small farmers plant various grass and tree fodder crops and hand-harvest them on a daily basis for feeding to their livestock, who are kept part or full-time in elevated housing.  Alternatively, the animals may be taken out to graze specifically on the planted forage species, or the system may be employed primarily during the dry season.  This systems has several benefits:

 

A raised goat house for an improved buck that is kept by the Buck Keeper [shown here] of a goat association.  Surrounding farmers bring their does to be bred at this Buck Mounting Center, paying a small fee, which provides some income to the association.

A view looking down at the same buck house, showing where a visiting doe is kept next door to the buck's quarters.

  • Increased forage and better nutrition year-round, including during the dry season
  • Decreased parasite burdens because droppings fall through the slatted floor of the raised house
  • Increased growth due to better nutrition and less parasites
  • Decreased infant mortality also due to better nutrition and less parasites
  • Decreased opportunistic infections associated with lowered resistance associated with high parasite burdens and/or low nutrition

These kinds of technological solutions, emphasizing management rather than reliance on chemical interventions, are suited to small farm conditions in many parts of the world where farming families are often quite poor, and where drugs and other supplies – as well as technical assistance - are often lacking or too expensive.

Given the increasingly serious threat of parasite resistance to anthelmentics in developed countries, many of these low-input strategies have relevance and should be considered as viable adjuncts to chemically-based control methods in other parts of the world. 

More information on varied fodder will be found in the article, High Protein Shrubs & Trees for Goats and on the Nutrition and Supplementation page, and more information on raised housing will be found on the Housing & Husbandry page. 

Raised housing with a ground floor level below and in front, showing  forage arrangements that keep goats from climbing into their fodder.

Exterior fodder mangers can be easily and cheaply constructed, and ease the task of cut-and-carry feeding.

The same goat house showing the back; this raised house is large enough to accommodate 35+ goats, depending on age.  The owner is a retired school teacher, who is explaining how he is now going to construct an additional raised house and adjoining store room.

Keyhole waterers also ease the task of keeping stock in permanent housing, and remain cleaner than buckets placed in the housing.

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