Livestock Research for Rural Development 3 (3) 1991

Citation of this paper

Goat production in south-west region of Bangladesh

D C Paul, M F Haque and M S Alam

On-Farm Research Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Station, Joydebpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh


The purpose of the study was to identify and quantify the potential of goat production in the South-West part of Bangladesh. The study revealed that on an average there were 10.53 Black Bengal goats per farm. The average fertile life of a doe was 7-8 years.

Field grazing was the main feeding system and was strongly influenced by season. One person was able to herd 9-11 goats in the dry season while in the rainy season the number of heads was 20-25. In addition to the family members, servants were also engaged to graze goats. The farmers reported that they used the sale proceeds from the goats to cultivate crops, purchase food, housing and clothing, social activities, educational expenses and purchase of land.

Most of the farmers in the study area reported that goat rearing was a profitable business and that they could overcome a crisis by selling goats.

It is concluded that there is a need to have more information on the role of goats in rural development so that appropriate research strategies can be developed.

KEY WORDS: Goats, rural development, farm survey, management



Goat rearing is an integral part of many farming systems in Bangladesh. The goat is probably the only animal which in Bangladesh is managed for multiple end uses: meat, hides, milk and manure. It provides one of the main sources of income for the farmers of Bangladesh. It is a major contributor of protein and fat and often the goat enterprise can help farmers to overcome an unforeseen crisis, which demands immediate finance.

The goat is a prolific animal; twins or triplets are common in kidding. The cheese is worldwide recognized according to its quality. The skin of the Black Bengal goat in particular is unique throughout the world (Banerjee 1980). Cash income from the goat is utilized in different sub-sectors of the farm. Goats in general are hardy animals and in wild or semi-domesticated state they rarely suffer from serious disease.

At present in the South-West region of Bangladesh goats are found abundantly, but there is little reliable information regarding their potential and true role in rural development. In order to undertake any development work in the rural area, the goat production problems and prospects should be identified.

The present study was therefore undertaken to assess the potential of goat production in South-West region of Bangladesh.


Materials and methods

The study was conducted in 2 selected locations of greater Jessore district during April-May 1988. Thirty random samples were taken in each of the Chowgacha and Kaligonj upazillas. The information was compiled and the report was prepared on the basis of the mean values and percentages.


Results and discussions

On an average there were 10.53 goats per farm. Goats of 1 to 3 years of age dominated (n = 5.38) in the herd followed by the age group of less than one year (n= 3.77) (Table 1).

Table 1: The number of goats owned by farmers in the study area.
    Less than 1 year 1-3 year >3 year  
Total on Farm Location n n n  
Chowgacha 3.90 5.33 1.70 10.93  
Kaligonj 3.63 5.43 1.07 10.13  
AVERAGE 3.77 5.38 1.38 10.53  

Information on puberty, fertility period and prolificacy of the goats is presented in Table 2. The range of puberty age was from 5 to 10 months while the range for first kidding was from 10-15 months; the interval between kidding was 9 months. The range of fertile life was 7 to 10 years.


Table 2: Mean values for age at puberty and kidding, and the fertile life.
  Puberty 1st kidding Fertile life
Location (month) (Month) (years)
Chowgacha 6 - 8 10 - 13 8 - 10
Kaligonj 5 - 10 10 - 15 7 - 10
RANGE 5 - 10 10 - 15 7 - 10


Eighty eight to ninety percent of respondents reported that their goats were mated by using a buck belonging to other farmers; the cost was Taka 5-10 per mating (Table 3). The fertility rate was higher at Chowgacha than Kaligonj where farmers were organized through a cooperative to maintain a buck owned by one of them.

Table 3: Information about the availability of bucks for mating of the goats.Farmers responded (n)
Location Owned Hired Taka per mating
Chowgacha 12 88 8 - 10
Kaligonj 10 90 5
RANGE 10 - 12 88 - 90 5 - 10

Interval between kidding was 8-9 months. The highest number of kids per parturition was 4 and the lowest was 1.0 with an average of 2.72 kids per year per doe (Table 4).

Table 4: Information on kidding and kids per parturition
Interval between Kids/parturition   Farmers Average
kidding     responded kids/year
Location (months) Range Average (%) /goat
Chowgacha 8 - 9 1 - 4 2 100 2.72
Kaligonj 8 - 9 1 - 4 2 100 2.72

The respondents at both the locations reported that they grazed their goats in the roadside, on some barren lands in the area and on crop stubble. There was no stall feeding in the study area. Depending on the season of the year the grazing system varied in the study area. During the dry season (October to April) the number of goats a person could graze ranged from 9-11 while during the rainy season (May to September) it ranged from 20-25. The duration of the grazing ranged from 6.0 to 6.5 hours daily during the dry season but it was only 3.0-3.5 hours daily during the rainy season. A person could graze a larger number of goats during the rainy season when there was ample grazing caused by the flooding of the flat lands. On the other hand, during the dry season a person could graze only 9-11 goats since the only available resource was the crop residues after harvest (Table 5). The goats moved more for grazing in the dry season than in the rainy season.


Table 5: Duration of goat grazing and seasonal variation.
    Dry Season (October - April)   Rainy Season (May-Sept)
    Dura- Maximum   Dura- Maximum
  Goats/ tion goats/ Goats/ tion goats/
Location person (hrs) person person (hrs) person
Chowgacha 9.0 6.0 25.0 20.0 3.5 30.0
Kaligonj 11.0 6.5 29.0 25.0 3.0 30.0
Range 9-11 6-6.5 25.1-29 20.1-25 3-3.5 30.0


Ninety percent of respondents at both the locations reported that they sold their goats in the nearby village market. The average unit price was Taka 960.00 and Taka 1118.00 at Chowgacha and Kalig- onj respectively. The farmers reported that they used the sale proceeds to meet the cost of cultivations, the purchase of food, of housing, clothing, social activities, educational expenses and purchase of land. In both the locations, purchase of food, clothes, cultivation cost and educational expenses were the most common use of the proceeds (Table 6).

Table 6: Income from goats and numbers of farmers reporting different ways of utilizing the income.
  Price/   Pur-          
Land goat Culti- chase Hous- Cloth- Cere- Educa- pur-
Location (Taka) vation food ing ing mony tion chase
Chowgacha 960.00 23 40 3 33 3 10 3
Kaligonj 1118.00 40 60 17 40 13 33 17
Average 1039.00 23-40 40-60 3-17 33-40 3-13 10-33 3-17

The goat is a small ruminant and any member of the family can look after them. The respondents reported that some of them engaged permanent hired labour for grazing their goats (Table 7).

At both the locations goat rearing was found to be profitable and the respondents could overcome a crisis through the disposal of goats. The farmers of Kaligonj also reported that goats were less susceptible to diseases than either cattle or chickens (Table 8). Similar views were reported by Jabbar and Green (1983).

Table 7: Persons involved in grazing of the goats
Person responsible    
  Chowgacha Kaligonj
Self 83 40
Son 76 70
Daughter 3 20
Wife 0 10
Hired labour 17 27


Table 8: Reasons given by farmers for goat rearing
  % Farmers responded (%)
Reasons Chowgacha Kaligonj
Profitable with minimum expenditure 83 73
Helps to overcome crisis period 67 63
Less susceptible to disease than    
other livestock 0 20



Goat rearing is an important element on rural life in South-West Bangladesh. The enterprise is profitable and generates an important cash flow which is used for essential family and social activities.


Banerjee G C 1980 A Text book of Animal Husbandry, 4th edition, Published by Mohan Primlami, Oxford and IBM Publishing Company. 66 janpath, New Eelhi 10001. Page 591

Jabbar M A and Green D A G 1983 The Status and Potential of Livestock within the Context of Agricultural Development Policy in Bangladesh, Department of Agricultural Economics, Aberystwyth, Adran Economeg Ameethyddol. The University College of Wales. Page 77

(Received 30 April 1991)