It does not require heavy maintenance and can withstand extreme climate

More than maintenance, building a housing structure for farm animals poses a challenge for farmers.

“Unlike a dairy farm where some cattle are kept tied under a covered structure, in goat rearing the animals are predominantly kept in the open.

“The herd is usually kept inside a circular ring like formation made from locally available material. Though this may serve the purpose for the time being, it cannot offer protection against snake bites or provide shelter during heavy rains,” says Dr. Abdul Kareem, Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kannur, Kerala Agricultural University”.

Shed design

“Our research team, bearing this in mind, has developed an easy-to-assemble and dismantle goat shed designed from galvanized iron (GI) frame and fibre-reinforced plastic.

The credit for developing the unit goes to Dr T. Giggin, Assistant Professor from the KVK.

The shed, with an area of 100 sq ft, can accommodate 10 to 20 goats, and is strong enough to support the weight of the animals,” he says.

The unit can be assembled by combining a few frames in easy steps, and when the need arises, can be dismantled, easily transported, and reassembled in another place.

Provisions for adult and kid feeders and automatic water drinking units are inbuilt. The animals can be reared exclusively inside the shed without grazing thus reducing manpower requirement.

A fibre-reinforced plastic floor ensures that the goats inside do not get wet or dirty. As a result the animals are devoid of bad body smell caused by wetting and dampening by urine common in conventional sheds.

The animals are at ease during extreme summer or during winter since the plastic floor is resistant to heating and cooling.

Cleaning is easy

As the holes for excreta are small and of uniform size, the legs especially of kids will not get caught in the gaps as seen in structures with uneven gaps in the floor. It can be cleaned easily.

The floor made of inter-lockable units can be taken out separately and cleaned. The unit is priced at Rs.1 lakh.

“Though the initial cost may look high, in the long run it will prove beneficial since it is built to last for more than 15 years. A similar structure made with locally available materials would cost nearly 60 per cent less, but last only up to two years,” says Dr. Kareem.

As this structure is a combination of different pieces, it is easy to shift from one place to other; hence farmer can pursue farming even if he/she is relocated due to various reasons.

The KVK had received a lot of inquiries from goat farmers. One of the advantages of the model shed is that it could be reassembled and reinstalled.

As this structure is a combination of different pieces, it is easy to shift from one place to other; hence farmer can pursue farming even if he/she is relocated due to various reasons.

Durable materials

And thanks to durable materials like galvanized Iron and fibre reinforced plastic, the structure can withstand adverse climatic conditions and does not require heavy maintenance.

A similar structure made using local materials can cost nearly 60 per cent less, but lasts only for 2-3 years. The low cost infrastructure lacks durability and the cost involved becomes a dead and unrecoverable expenditure.

“Also, the support lent by the financial institutions turns out to be a waste and totally unrecoverable within a matter of one to two years.

Resale value

In the event of quitting enterprise farming by a farmer, as this is saleable, there will be another person to purchase it and pursue farming so that in the long term farming is sustainable and transferable,” he says.

For details contact Dr. T. Giggin, Assistant Professor (Veterinary Science), Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kannur, Kerala Agricultural University, Kanhiranagad P.O., 670 142, email: kvkpanniyur@rediffmail.com, mobile: 09847335759, phone: 0460 2226087 and Dr.Abdul Kareem, mobile: 09995020782, phone: 0460-2226087.