Present investigation was carried out to study feeding management practices adopted by goat farmers in South-West Punjab (Bathinda, Moga and Ferozepur districts). Information was collected through personal interview (multistage stratified sampling procedure) from 90 goat farmers (30 from each district). Majority of the goat keepers fed their animals on common property resources (85.56%) followed by cultivated fodder (13.33%) and purchased fodder (1.11%). Large chunk of goat farmers depends only on grazing (77.78%) for feeding their animals followed by grazing-cum-stall feeding (14.44%) and stall-feeding (zero grazing) alone (7.78%). However, in Bathinda significantly (p<0.05) larger number of goat farmers are cultivating fodder (26.67%) and practicing only stall-feeding (20.00%). Small fraction of goat farmers (33.33%) offer grain/concentrate and majority (74.07%) of them offer residual grains occasionally. Majority of the goat farmers (64.44%) don’t follow the practice of conserving fodder while in Bathinda district (56.67%) significantly (p<0.01) higher number of farmers conserved fodder. Majority of the goat farmers found inadequate feeding of concentrate (80.00%), ignorance about balanced feeding (86.67%), non availability of mineral mixture (85.56%), non availability of cultivated fodder (85.56%), lack of initiative on the farmers part to arrange fodder crops due to small landholdings/no landholding (81.11%) and non-availability of hay (80.00%) as main constraints. As goat farmers had overall lower (34.44%) adoption of scientific feeding practices it is concluded that interventions of professionals are required to provide trainings and form societies/self-help groups to promote improved feeding practices especially balanced feeding and fodder conservation.
The major challenge of meeting nutritional security in India for fast growing human population requires deeply integrated approach for livestock farming with crop production. Among the various livestock species, goat is one of the most potential sources of meat production and efficient feed converters (Hundal et al., 2016). Goats are considered as the first species among the farm animals which was domesticated around 9000-7000 B.C. This long association between goat and human indicates the variety of functions the goat can provide. According to Indian Livestock Census (2012) the goat population of India has decreased from 140.54 million in 2007 to 135.17 million in recent years. Contrarily, in Punjab the goat population in 2007 was 2.78 lakhs which has increased to 3.28 lakhs @3.6 % per annum. Thus the state has registered a good increase in goat population. A consistent increasing trend despite heavy demand of goat meat as witnessed by supply of goats from neighboring states shows a definite preference for goat rearing by the farmers of Punjab. Most of the goat management practices which significantly influence their performance do not require much capital and special skills. However, timely and careful use of available resources or inputs is necessary with the present undeveloped state of goat husbandry in most of the parts of country. It is necessary to give more attention than has been given hitherto to scientific recommended goat management practices. The research evidences have established that goat keepers are not keeping pace with the constantly changing new improved scientific technologies.
In order to achieve a sustainable goat production sector at large, it is important for goat farmers not only depend on the governmental subsidies and incentives but also the application of best management practices and innovations (Boz, 2015). Feeding management is key component of overall management of any livestock. Reliable, affordable and easily accessible extension advisory services for goat farming are vital. Therefore, information of prevalent goat feeding practices under field conditions need to be documented in order to identify required interventions for enhanced income or profitability of the goat farmers. Existing information on goat rearing practices in field conditions are hardly adequate to serve as the basis on which valid guidelines can be framed to introduce the improved recommended practices for adoption by goat farmers. Ferozepur and Bathinda are the two districts with highest goat population in Punjab and hence area of South-West Punjab was identified for studying goat feeding management practices.
Material and Methods
The detailed procedure followed in conducting the present investigation has been presented under the following sub-heads-
Selection of Locale of Research
The present study was undertaken in the South-West Punjab which comprised of Bathinda, Moga and Ferozepur districts. For investigation, a multistage stratified sampling procedure was used, which included studies on goat feeding management practices in relation to improved practices and constraints in adoption of improved feeding management practices in rural areas of Punjab.
Selection of Respondents
For the selection of samples, two blocks from each district and 8-10 villages from each block were selected randomly. The persons rearing goats in villages were considered for selection in the sample, though they may have no land. A complete enumeration of goat keeper households in each of sample village was conducted. The preliminary information also included the flock size, landholdings and area under fodder crops (Jayshree et al., 2014). Majority of the goat farmers in the selected area had large (>30 goats) flock size. From each district 30 goat farmers were selected randomly for survey. Therefore, total 90 farmers were selected for the data collection during 2016-17.
Development of Interview Schedule
The well structured interview schedule was prepared for the data collection, keeping in view of the objectives and dimension of the investigation. The validity of the schedule was maximized with the following steps-
The pre-testing of interview schedule was carried out with 10 farmers in local language which were not included in this study. At the time of pretesting, the purpose of the interview schedule and study was explained to the respondents. After modification in the light of pre-testing, the final interview schedule was prepared which helped in obtaining more concise information.
Conducting Interview and Data Collection
After having selected the respondents, repeated visits were made to the concerned villages and developed a good rapport with the concerned respondents to gain their confidence. Before administering the schedule, the objectives of the study were explicitly explained to the farmers. The questions from the schedule were presented to them in their own dialect. The answers obtained were recorded and only one respondent was interviewed at a time. The responses to each of the questions in the schedule were coded and tabulated respondent-wise in a master table. The qualitative data were quantified accordingly and tabulated to draw meaningful inferences. Therefore, appropriate tables were prepared keeping in view the specific views of the study.
Measuring Adoption Index
This study presents an approach to quantify management by ranking the different practices through scoring and aggregating the resulting scores in an overall index. The adoption index is more reliable method to measure the level of adoption of various practices among respondents. A list of 10 most widely recommended goat feeding practices were selected and each was given a maximum weightage of 2 point score. Thus, the adoption score for feeding component of goat husbandry varies within the range of 0 to 20. The maximum score was 20. Sum of adopted feeding management practices was calculated and divided with maximum score to estimate adoption index. The adoption index was developed (Mahipal and Kherde, 1991; Rao et al., 1992) for the study as given below:
To maintain the uniformity in the criteria for level of adoption of feeding practices, the following limits were considered:
Analysis of Data and Interpretation of Results
The data thus collected was subjected to the statistical analysis. Different variables were compared between three districts of Punjab using Chi-square analysis and one way analysis of variance (Snedecor and Cochran, 1994) using SAS software (9.3).
Results and Discussion
Majority of the respondents in the study area had large flock size (>30 goats) with average flock size of 88.40, 54.43 and 64.63 heads in Bathinda, Ferozepur and Moga districts, respectively. Majority of the goat keepers fed their animals on common property resources (85.56%) followed by cultivated fodder (13.33%) and purchased fodder (1.11%) (Table 1). On district basis, Bathinda (26.67%) had more farmers that kept their animals on cultivated fodder in comparison to Ferozepur (6.67%) and Moga (6.67%). However purchased fodder supply was only reported in Bathinda district (3.33%). These results show that goat farmers of Bathinda district are more aware about improved feeding practices as compared to Ferozepur and Moga districts of Punjab.
Table 1: Feeding management practices adopted by goat farmers in districts of South-West Punjab
|Feeding variables||Categories||Bathinda (n=30)||Ferozepur (n=30)||Moga (n=30)||Over all (n=90)||Chi – Square (P- Value)|
|Source of feed||CPR’s||21 (70.00)||28 (93.33)||28 (93.33)||77 (85.56)||9.272 [0.05]|
|Cultivated||8 (26.67)||2 (6.67)||2 (6.67)||12 (13.33)|
|Purchased||1 (3.33)||0 (0.00)||0 (0.00)||1 (1.11)|
|Feeding of animals||Group stall feeding||6 (20.00)||1 (3.33)||0 (0.00)||7 (7.78)||12.771 [0.012]|
|Grazing||18 (60.00)||27 (90.00)||25 (83.33)||70 (77.78)|
|Both (a & b)||6 (20.00)||2 (6.67)||5 (16.67)||13 (14.44)|
|Feeding frequency (stall-fed)||2 times||2 (33.33)||1 (100.00)||0 (0.00)||3 (42.86)||1.555 [0.212]|
|3 times||4 (66.67)||0 (0.00)||0 (0.00)||4 (57.14)|
|Concentrate feeding||No||19 (63.33)||20 (66.67)||21 (70.00)||60 (66.67)||0.300 [0.860]|
|Yes||11 (36.67)||10 (33.33)||9 (30.00)||30 (33.33)|
|Composition||Balanced||2 (18.18)||2 (20.00)||3 (33.33)||7 (23.33)||0.728 [0.695]|
|Residual||9 (81.82)||8 (80.00)||6 (66.67)||23 (76.67)|
|Fodder conservation||No||13 (43.33)||25 (83.33)||20 (66.67)||58 (64.44)||10.571 [0.005]|
|Yes||17 (56.67)||5 (16.67)||10 (33.33)||32 (35.56)|
*CPR’s: common property resources; Values in parenthesis indicate % of goat farmers
It may be due to easy access of guar and moong straw in Bathinda district from neighboring districts of Rajasthan. World Bank report (2005) revealed that poor and socially disadvantaged households tend to own low quality livestock (goat) rather than cow or buffalo. Mamabolo and Webb (2005) revealed that goats forage more widely and on a greater variety of foods. They are resistant to drought condition because they can browse and have a faster breeding cycle. They are often the first class of animals available and are kept by people with a livestock tradition. Gul et al. (2016) reported in their study that in the province of Isparta in Turkey, farmer’s feeding systems generally depends on grazing, and farmers only use supplemental feed for two or three months especially after births or in harsh winter conditions.
This study reveals (Table 1) that 77.78% farmers depends only on grazing for feeding their goats and 14.44% farmers depends on grazing as well as on group stall feeding and 7.78% farmers fed their goats only on group stall feeding (zero grazing). However, in Bathinda significantly (p<0.05) more (20.00%) farmers depends on group stall feeding as compared to Ferozepur (3.33%) and Moga (none) districts. In Bathinda, intensive goat farming practices were relatively more prevalent so there was more group stall feeding. Based on this study it was found that distribution of respondents (goat farmers) was significantly different (p<0.05) on the basis of feeding of animals in different districts. Singh (2008) in his study conducted in different districts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu reported that resource poor farmers belonged to SC, ST and OBC category mostly rear goats. He further reported that during the recent time people of other communities (high social order) have entered in goat rearing due to favorable market demand for chevon. Debele et al. (2013) reported that in Ethiopia grazing was the common feeding practice for small ruminants in the study area. Almost 76.5% of the respondents were using communal grazing lands. Communal grazing land, roadside grazing, riverside grazing and aftermath grazing were major types of grazing for sheep and goats in the study area. Indigenous browses were other sources of feeds in the study area for goats while concentrate feeding was not common.
Majority of goat farmers (82.22%) graze their animals for whole day followed by partial grazing (10.00%) i.e. grazing plus one time stall feeding and only 7.78% farmers followed zero grazing for feeding of their animals. Based on this study it was found that zero grazing practice was significantly different (p<0.01) in relation to different districts as in Bathinda more (20.00%) farmers followed zero grazing practice as compared to Ferozepur (3.33%) and Moga (0.00%). Whereas, Gurjar et al. (2009) found that majority (87%) of the goat keepers adopted semi-stall feeding system and grazed their goats on community pasture land for more than 5 hours daily in Mewar region of Southern Rajasthan.
Among stall-fed goat farmers (7.78%), majority (57.14%) of the farmers fed their animals thrice a day and rest (42.86%) fed their goats twice a day. Thrice feeding practice was reported only in Bathinda (66.67%) district as compare to Ferozepur (0.00%) and Moga (0.00%). In Bathinda, farmers were more aware of advanced feeding practices, so they fed their animals thrice a day. Though, difference in feeding frequencies practiced by stall fed goat farmers was not statistically significant between different districts. It was also noted that most of the farmers were allowing grazing of goats during cooler hours of the day i.e. before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. during hot summer months. Sorathiya (2015) reported in his study that the grazing duration and travelling required were depending on seasons.
From data represented in Table 1 it is very clear that only 33.33% farmers fed concentrate to their animals and majority of the goat farmers (66.67%) don’t follow the practice of feeding concentrates so they are totally dependent on forages for feeding of goats. It indicates that majority of goat farmers were unaware of the importance of concentrate feeding. Pattern of concentrate feeding was not statistically different in different districts. Among the goat farmers feeding concentrate (33.33%), majority (74.07%) offers residual grains occasionally instead of regular balanced feeding (25.93%). This study revealed that most of the farmers fed their goats with residues of grains like wheat. Gurjar et al. (2009) found that the majority of the goat farmers feed concentrate to their goats prior to milking and 79.72% respondents used single ingredient concentrate in Mewar region of Southern Rajasthan. It is evident from the Table 1 that majority of goat farmers (64.44%) don’t follow the practice of conserving fodder for their animals. However, in Bathinda (56.67%) district significantly high (p<0.01) number of farmers conserved fodder for their animals as compared to Ferozepur (16.67%) and Moga (33.33%). It may be due to the reason that moong and guar straw are easily available at reasonable prices in Bathinda. Debele et al. (2013) reported that only 15% of goat owners of Ethiopia were practicing feed conservation in the form of hay.
Various constraints faced by farmers related to feeding of goats have been presented in Table 2. It indicates that unawareness of farmers about balanced feeding (86.67%), non availability of mineral mixture (85.56%), non-availability of cultivated fodder (85.56%), shortage of concentrate feed (80%) and non availability of hay (80%) were the major constraints faced by the farmers in all three districts of Punjab. It is mainly due to lack of knowledge about balance feeding and shortage of agricultural lands.
Table 2: Constraints of goat farmers related to feeding management practices
|Variables||Categories||Bathinda (n=30)||Ferozepur (n=30)||Moga (n=30)||Overall (n=90)||Chi-square (P-Value)|
|Inadequate feeding of concentrate||No||9 (30.00)||3 (10.00)||6 (20.00)||18 (20.00)||3.75|
|Yes||21 (70.00)||27 (90.00)||24 (80.00)||72 (80.00)||[0.153]|
|Ignorance of farmers about balanced feeding||No||7 (23.33)||3 (10.00)||2 (6.67)||12 (13.33)||4.038|
|Yes||23 (76.67)||27 (90.00)||28 (93.33)||78 (86.67)||[0.132]|
|Non availability of mineral mixture||No||8 (26.67)||1 (3.33)||4 (13.33)||13 (14.44)||6.653|
|Yes||22 (73.33)||29 (96.67)||26 (86.67)||77 (85.56)||[0.035]|
|Non availability of cultivated fodder||No||9 (30.00)||2 (6.67)||2 (6.67)||13 (14.44)||7.334|
|Yes||21 (70.00)||28 (93.33)||28 (93.33)||77 (85.56)||[0.025]|
|Lack of initiative on the farmers part to arrange fodder crops||No||11 (36.67)||3 (10.00)||3 (10.00)||17 (18.89)||9.282|
|Yes||19 (63.33)||27 (90.00)||27 (90.00)||73 (81.11)||[0.009]|
|Non-availability of hay||No||8 (26.67)||4 (13.33)||6 (20.00)||18 (20.00)||1.666|
|Yes||22 (73.33)||26 (86.67)||24 (80.00)||72 (80.00)||[0.434]|
Values in parenthesis indicate % of goat farmers
Majority of the goat farmers can’t afford purchased fodder for their goats. However, non availability of mineral mixture (p<0.05), absence of chaffed fodder (p<0.05) and lack of initiative on the farmers’ part to grow more fodder crops due to small landholdings\no landholdings (p<0.01) has significant difference in relation to different districts. In comparison to Ferozepur and Moga district, Bathinda has comparatively less farmers with non availability of mineral mixture and absence of chaffed fodder\fodder crops. Similarly inadequate feeding of concentrate and lack of initiative on the farmer’s part to grow more fodder crops due to small landholding as well as non preference of silage and hay making by farmers are some constraints faced by around 80% of the farmers of these districts. Rashmi (2010) reported that all the goat owners (100 %) were from landless and marginal land holding categories in her study area. Meganathan et al. (2010) reported that the surveyed tribal farmers had expressed that lack of capital/adequate credit facilities for sheep and goat rearing was the first major constraint. Similarly, Rajkumar and Kavithaa (2014) also revealed that shrinking of grazing land / lack of grazing land, was the main constraint in the major domain of feeding in Erode District of Tamil Nadu.
Present investigation revealed that improved feeding practices were followed by only 34.44% farmers i.e. low level of adoption, as they mostly depend upon grazing only (Table 3).
Table 3: Adoption score and indices for goat feeding practices in different districts of South West Punjab
|Practices||Bathinda (n=30)||Ferozepur (n=30)||Moga (n=30)||Overall (n=90)||P-Value|
|Adoption score ( 20)||Adoption index (%)||Adoption score (20)||Adoption index (%)||Adoption score (20)||Adoption index (%)||Adoption score (20)||Adoption index (%)|
Tiwari et al. (2003) reported that low level of socio-economic status of villagers was the major hindrance and less number of improved breeds, lack of appropriate feeding of animal and unawareness of good management points were inhibitors for the higher production of animal produce. Koli and Koli (2016) revealed that majority of the respondent goat keepers had medium level of adoption on selected goat farming practices in Amravati district (Maharashtra). Socio-economic status of goat farmers is major hindrance in adoption of improved goat farming practices in most of the study areas.
Conclusion and Implications
Goat farmers in the south-west Punjab had overall lower (34.44%) adoption of scientific feeding practices. This emphasizes the need of interventions of professionals in the form of trainings and formation of societies/self-help groups for promotion of improved feeding practices especially balanced feeding and fodder conservation.
The authors are thankful to the goat farmers (respondents) for sharing the information desired by the researchers and owe debt of gratitude towards their sincere efforts in goat keeping. Assistance provided by local veterinarians and everyone else in conducting this research is also duly acknowledged.