This proposal aims to propose the most effective way to establish a goat farm to supply goat milk. Goats are domesticated animals and they are farmed for their milk. To produce high quality goat milk for human consumption, husbandry, housing, nutrition and enrichment of goats need to be taken into consideration. The processing of raw goat milk is also highlighted in this proposal to ensure that the milk is safe for human consumption. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore must approve of the plans as well. The proposal needs to be submitted to AVA and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to seek approval for the building plan. A farm licence will also have to be obtained afterwards. The farm area includes any enclosed or fenced up land being used for keeping, rearing, breeding or boarding of animals for commercial purposes. (AVA, Starting a Farm. June 2015) Each consignment of animals shall be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate dated not more than seven (7) days prior to export and signed or endorsed by the competent Veterinary Authority of the country of export giving detailed description of the consignment (age, breed, number of heads), address of the premises of origin of the animals, and certifying to the effect that the animal is healthy and free from diseases. (AVA, The Animals and Birds Act. June 2014)1.1 Origins of GoatsThe goats are Dairy Goats, which are domesticated and farmed for milk production. AVA only allows goats to be imported from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand or United States of America. Thus, goats imported into Singapore will be mainly Alpine and Nubian as they are found in abundance in the country of export.2. HOUSINGGoats are prey animals in the wild so a sheltered environment is needed for the goats to feel safe in. The barn will be a dry open environment so it provides proper ventilation to reduce harmful pathogens in the air and prevent diseases. The barn will have a total of 26 pens housing the does and the dimensions of each pen is 4m by 5m. A separate pen for the bucks will have the same dimensions as the doe pen, housing 10 bucks maximum. This pen must be at least 15m away from the milking area to prevent tainting of the milk (Specification for Goat Housing, 2010). Floors will be made of a thick iron mesh at least 2m above a non-slip cement ground. The thick mesh supports the weight of the goats and farmers, and also allows the goat droppings to fall through onto the ground, where it will be swept into drains for proper drainage afterwards. Pipes will be installed on the roof to allow rainwater to fall away from the pens into the drainage system. The barn will be cleaned once a week by spraying iodine. The goats will be categorised according to age in each pen; they will be categorized into the young, the matured and single, and the milking goats. There will be 10 does and a buck in each pen. There will be no soil base flooring, eliminating any chance of the goats contracting soil borne diseases. High fences will surround the pens to prevent goats from jumping out and escaping via their hooves, which are are built like a little suction cups that enables them to climb up almost vertical surfaces. The gate of the pen will be made of plywood and iron frames are used to lock it. Feed troughs are usually rectangular and are 20 cm deep, 30 cm wide and at least 15 cm off the ground. Their feed troughs will be made of wood and hung 5 cm above the ground. An outdoor space such as a fenced run is essential for the goats for exercise. The flooring will be concrete for easy cleaning. 3. HUSBANDRY3.1 BreedingThere are many factors determining the success rate of the breeding process. Good health condition plays a very important role for successful goat breeding. The doe should be healthy and any ill or weak doe should never be used for breeding. It is important to provide adequate nutritious feed and perform necessary medical checkups regularly. Under-feeding can lower the chances of the doe getting pregnant and having kids and can also reduce milk production after having kids. Additional feed is provided to doe one or two months prior to breeding season to ensure the doe is suitable for breeding. It is inadvisable to breed a doe and buck within one year of age for better quality kids and goat products even though the buck and doe gain sexual maturity at a young age. Hence, it is important for the doe and buck to be kept in different pens until they reach the ideal breeding age to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. After one year of age, the doe’s body becomes fully matured for completing the gestation period and giving birth. At one year of age, the buck should service no more than 10 does at a time (in one month). As it gets older it should be able to service more does at a time However to keep the bloodline clean, we only breed one buck with 10 does at a time even after the bucks gets older. Bucks get a surge of hormones and are ready to breed when the doe is ‘in heat’. During that period of time which is known as ‘rut’, bucks will show wild dominance and might snort, spit, urinate on themselves to make themselves more smelly to attract the doe and even drink their urine. The doe goes into heat every 18-21 days and lasts about 1-3 days. Signs of heat can be wagging the tail, mounting other does, letting other does mount her, fighting, clear mucosal discharge from her vagina or yelling for no reason. A pen houses one buck and 10 does where free-breeding takes place as they are able to mate anytime, a 40-45 days breeding season will guarantee the doe has at least two opportunities to come into heat. Breeding is done once every year to maintain a constant milk supply. In summary, the gestation cycle of a goat is about 150 days, or about 5 months. Following kidding, there is a period early in lactation in which the female does not come into heat and that allows the uterus to heal and gives the mother time to wean her kids before getting pregnant again. If the mating is complete and successful, a doe can give birth to 1-5 kids, on average 2-3 kids . However, only the does born will be kept in the farm and the bucks born will be sold to religious groups as they cannot be used for future breeding since it will cause inbreeding, leading to deformities in their offspring. A limited number of good quality bucks with desirable traits are carefully selected and kept for breeding to ensure better quality kids. 3.2 Removal of HornsThe goats are dehorned by burning the horns off with a soft flame within 10 days of its birth. It is little to no pain and a quick process. For the safety of the does and the humans, this procedure is necessary. Does with horns may cause injuries to one another as does tend to fight due to pride and if the doe were to be pregnant, injury to the foetus or miscarriage would occur. Hence, dehorning of does in the farm is important. Another method of removing horns is disbudding, this method is preferred over dehorning as dehorning may injure the goat and also cause a higher risk of infections. Disbudding will be done by placing a hot iron on the bud of the kid and the weight acts as pressure. The hot iron is rotated in a clockwise direction for 3-4 seconds. The remaining bud is cut off using a knife. Then, the side of the iron will be used to cauterize and seal the top. The last step will be to go over the base of each ring again for an additional three seconds. 3.3 GroomingThe goats will be groomed on a regular basis. Regular grooming can help to eliminate potential health issues of the goats in the bud and prevent them from spreading. For basic goat grooming, a hoof trimmer, an electric clipper, curry comb, hard and soft brush, and a comb for beards and tails will be needed. Firstly, a hard brush would be used to get rid of mud and surface dirt off, then the curry comb would be used to to get out the less obvious soil. A vigorous currying not only gets rid of dirt, but acts as a gentle massage too. The grooming ends off with the soft brush, which helps distribute oils throughout its coat. Checking will be done by touching the goat’s body to see if it has any lumps or bumps as those could be wounds or a signal of parasitic skin infestation. Clipping of a goat’s hair is important as shorter hair helps them to stay cooler in warmer season and allows sunlight to reach their body or skin, as well as keeping the lice and other critters away. For clipping the goat’s hair, the type of blade used depends on the season and the length and texture of the goat’s hair. However, it is not advisable to body clip the goat while the weather’s still cold as it needs to be kept warm. Dairy clipping can be performed instead, which consists of clipping or cutting the hair on the udder, belly, tail and thighs. Clippers can also be used to neaten the inside of the ears and shave off a beard on a doe. In warm weathers, body clipping the goats would be more comfortable for the goats. Trimming of hooves also prevents it from growing into its flesh and enables them to walk properly. This is done by gradually trimming the overgrown feet, and not all at once. After the feet of the goats are nicely balanced, their feet will be trimmed regularly every 6 to 8 weeks. Look for any sticks or rocks lodged in the bottom of the goat’s hooves. If there is any, remove it. Take note for any foul odors on their hooves as it is a sign of foot rot. 3.4 Sick GoatsThe goats will not be exposed to soil, thus preventing soil borne diseases which reduces 80-90% rate of the diseases they can get. Therefore, the other 10-20% of the diseases they can contract are fever, flu, which both are caused by insufficient rest, water & food, and acnes caused by bites from horseflies. The signs of flu are runny and wet nose. A symptom of fever is an unusual hot temperature of the udder. Once the symptoms kick in, they will be quarantined & given vitamin jabs. However, in the case where vitamin jabs do not work, they will be given antibodies to further build up their immune system. Acnes can be cured by squeezing it after it ripens.3.5 VaccinationsFirstly, the goats must at the very least receive vaccinations for clostridium perfringens types C and D and tetanus (CDT). This vaccine prevents tetanus and enterotoxemia, which are caused by two different bacteria. Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system and causes muscles throughout the body to tighten. It is also known as a lockjaw because the infection usually causes muscle contractions in the jaw and neck areas. Enterotoxemia is an overeating disease where it may cause the animals to abruptly go off of feed and become lethargic. Diarrhea may also develop, whereas in some cases, there would be blood visible in the loose stool. They may also lose their ability to stand, lay on their sides, and to extend their legs, with their head and neck extended back over their withers, and these are all due to enterotoxemia. These postures are caused by the effects of the toxins in the brain. Death commonly occurs within minutes to hours after this sign is seen. The does would receive CDT vaccine during the 4th month of their pregnancy, while the kids would receive it when they are 1 month old and subsequently 1 month later. Other goats will receive the CDT vaccine annually to boost their immunity against tetanus and enterotoxemia. Secondly, Pneumonia vaccines would also be given to the goats to prevent the diseases Pasteurella multocida and Mannheimia Haemolytica. All goats would have 2 doses which are given 2–4 weeks apart.Thirdly, CLA vaccines prevents the disease Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. The kids would get the CLD vaccines when they are 6 months old, 3 weeks later subsequently, and then proceed to get the vaccine annually. Fourthly, Rabies vaccines would prevent the goats from contracting Rabies. All goats would get this vaccine annually. Fifthly, the Chlamydia vaccine would prevent against Chlamydia abortion, and is given to the doe during its first 28–45 days of pregnancy. And lastly, the Sore Mouth vaccine would prevent the goat from the diseases Orf, and this vaccine is to be given to all goats on an annual basis.4. NUTRITIONDairy goats are herbivores. Nutrient requirements are dependant on age, gender, breed, production system, body size and climate. The goats will be fed twice a day, once in the day and once in the evening. As dairy goats require high-quality forage, they will be fed alfalfa hay, which provides proteins and aids in their digestive tract as the hay runs through all 4 compartments of the ruminant stomach (rumen, reticulum, abomasum, omasum). Alfalfa hay is high in proteins, minerals and are free from Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), allowing milk produced to be of high quality. The goats will also consume dry feed which are based on grains, vitamins, minerals and are also free from Genetically Modified Maize (GMM). The dry feed consists of barley, wheat, maize and other plant-based sources. Feeding of more maize would result in higher production of milk. However, there should be a balanced amount of maize present in the dry feed. The water source should be easily accessible and dispensed via a nipple system so it will not be exposed to the environment, thus lowering the risk of water-borne diseases. Water and food will be separated at opposite ends of the pen to prevent the dry feed from being moist and keeping water clean in order to avoid contamination. Salt licks will also be installed above the pens for salt intake. 4.1 Feeding of KidsKids will be hand fed colostrum milk in the first 2 hours after birth. The colostrum milk is the first milk and it aids in the digestive tract and provides energy. Afterwards, they will be hand and bottle fed milk from the mother for 3-4 months instead of being fed straight from the mother’s udder because the young’s teeth would be sharp, and therefore it may injure the mother’s udder and cause infection, which can also cause the milk collected to be contaminated. Kids will be fed milk from the mother at least 4 times a day. A growing doe kid will require about 2.4% concentration of proteins , 8.8% crude protein , 56% digestible nutrients, while a growing buck kid will require about 2.9% concentration of proteins, 9% crude protein and 57% digestible nutrients. (Feeding Dairy Goats. n.d.) Milk fed would gradually reduce as the goat would be weaned first by providing hay. When the kid is fully weaned, the adult diet of alfalfa hay and dry feed can be fed to the goat.4.2 Feeding of Pregnant DoesPregnant does will be given special attention, such as feeding it additional supplements whenever necessary or giving it less nutrients whenever necessary. (Robert J. Van Saun. 2016). In early gestation, the body conditioning score of the doe should be 2.5 to 3.0. Feeding would remain the same. Grain would be fed twice daily and slowly decreases to a smaller portion as the goat needs to be dried off gradually two months before kidding. The doe should consume about 1.5 pounds of grain by the time she kids. This allows the rumen organs to slowly adapt.(Feeding Dairy Goats. n.d.) During late gestation, nutrition should increase as the body conditioning scores would need to increase to 3.5 – 4.0. Feed given should contain pasture, alfalfa hay, mineral, and a grain concentrate. For the grain concentrate, a 15% protein goat pellet is recommended, in which the doe needs to eat at least 2 portions. 4.3 Feeding of Lactating DoesAfter kidding, the lactating does will be fed twice daily, slowly increasing the amount of grain. By the fourth week of post-kidding, the amount of grain fed to does should be increasing slowly to about 3 pounds per day. The lactating does have a high nutrient demand such as the additional of calcium in their diet for milk production. There will be an increased absorption of calcium in the intestines and calcium will be mobilised from bones. If the demand for calcium is not met, it may cause problems such as milk fever. During early lactation, the does should be fed about 14% to 18% crude proteins and 74% to 78% digestible nutrients, depending on the quality of the forage. The diet should also include at least 17.5% crude fiber, and good quality forage. During mid to late lactation, the intake of dry matter reaches its peak and is roughly equivalent to the nutrient requirements for milk production. The does should be fed about 13% to 16% crude protein and about 74% digestible nutrients, along with good quality of forage. After peak lactation, the lactating does should be fed according to milk production. For every additional pound of milk over 3 pounds milk per day, the does should be fed an additional 0.5 pound of grain, along with good quality forage. However, the does should not be fed over 4 pounds of grain per day (Smith,1994). During late gestation, grains should be fed according to the body condition score of the does. 5. ENRICHMENT5.1 Enrichment Involving FoodHaving non-poisonous plant branches secured on fence or shelter, can stimulate the goats’ natural environment. At the same time, it also provides enrichment for them since they would have to stand on their hind legs in order to reach the branches, which would be more challenging than their usual way of feeding. Standing on their hind legs to reach the branches is also how they would consume food if they were to be in the wild. Dairy goats originate from cold countries, hence providing them with small amount of ice made from diluted juice, or having fruits in an ice can cool them down during hotter periods and also allow them to have something to investigate. Feeds can also be put in some foraging toys that are made of hard metal or unbreakable plastic. This will allow the goats to have a great time investigating, playing and eating the feed, while at the same time not be under the risk of consuming any harmful material. Besides this, hay can also be placed in nets hung high on top, and similar to the effect of the plant branches, it allows the goats to have a fun time trying to get the hay.5.2 Enrichment with EquipmentSince goats are known for jumping and climbing, platforms should be set for them to jump. Simple things such as stools, upside-down buckets and elevated wooden planks will do the job. If the farm is big enough, rocks can be piled up to stimulate a mountain for them to climb up and down. All these activities mentioned above would help the goats to get some exercise.6. MILK PROCESS6.1 Appropriate Milking Period Goats mature in 8-12 months, depending on its size, and they are ready to mate at that age. After 5 months of gestation, the goats would be ready to be milked and this stage is known as ‘freshening’. The doe needs to be milked everyday, or else the udder will dry out. This also helps prevents pain and the development of mastitis. 6.2 Obtaining Milk from GoatsA separate fenced up area will be set up for milking where 10 does can be milked at once. It is fenced up to minimise movements to increase the efficiency of the milking process. Before milking, the hair on the udders should be shaved as the hair contains microorganisms, which may contaminate the milk. The suction of milking from the udders can be painful, thus dry feed will be fed to them to distract them from the pain. The goats will be milked daily at the same time to enforce a routine. Iodine is sprayed at the udders after milking to prevent bacteria infection. Each goat produces an average amount of 3 litres of milk everyday. After 8-9 years of milking, goats will retire from milking and rest. 6.3 Milking EquipmentA milking machine will be used to milk the goats. Equipment needed are teat cups, vacuum and sanitation systems. The teat cups are the cups which would come in direct contact with the tits of the goats. Thus, a liner should be used to line the teat cups to minimise contamination and infection of goats’ udders. The vacuum system, which provides an airtight suction, helps to prevent milk spilling out from the teat cups. Milk will flow through a tube, from the teat cups to the metal storage container before any processing is done. Milking machinery needs to be completely checked for at least once every 12 months. (DairyNZ Milksmart, n.d)6.4 Processing the Milk The first step of goat milk processing is pasteurization. Optimal temperatures and sufficient processing time must be met in order for the goat milk to be successfully pasteurized. The milk is heated at 71.6 °C for 30 seconds, or 62.8 °C for 30 minutes. Next, ultra-pasteurization takes place as the milk is heated above 130°C for 1-2 seconds. This step is necessary as it helps prevent any airborne microorganism from contaminating the milk. Lastly, the milk should be cooled down for consumption and storage.