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close this bookEnvironmentally Sound Technologies for Women in Agriculture (IIRR, 1996, 213 p.)
close this folderAnimal husbandry and dairying
View the documentSelection and breeding of cattle buffaloes
View the documentSelection and breeding of goats and sheep
View the documentSelection and breeding of swine
View the documentCommunity pasture management
View the documentCattle feeding
View the documentMake hay to preserve fodder
View the documentMake silage to preserve green fodder
View the documentImprove dry fodder by adding urea
View the documentUrea-molasses liquid mixture
View the documentUrea-molasses-mineral lick
View the documentClean milk production
View the documentLivestock diseases
View the documentCommon maladies in cattle
View the documentProtect your cattle from poisoning
View the documentAdaptation of livestock

Selection and breeding of goats and sheep

When selecting a goat or sheep for purchase, consider the following points:

General health

The animal should:

- take its feed and water regularly and display normal rumination.
- have normal skin and coat, bright eyes, alert ears, and moist muzzle.
- pass well-formed, normal dung, and normal urine.


Always select young animals. Count their teeth to estimate their age.

Number of teeth



8 milk teeth

birth to 1 year

birth to 1 year

1st pair permanent teeth

1 year to 1 year and 9 months

1 year and 2 months to 3 years

2nd pair permanent teeth

1 year and 9 months to 2 years and 6 months

3 to 4 years

3rd pair permanent teeth

2 years and 6 months to 3 years

4 to 5 years

4th pair permanent teeth

3 years and above

5 years and above

Teeth structure

Female goat

For milch goats For milking goats, look for:

- a well-developed udder with two teats, without defects or disease.
- an angular body, sloping slightly downward from the hind section to the neck.
- hind legs well-apart, allowing ample space for the udder.


Some goats and sheep give birth twice a year, some once a year, and others three times in 2 years. Animals which give birth three times in 2 years are preferred. Choose animals which:

- have high twinning rates (produce twins).
- produce a lot of milk, for quick growth of offspring.


Sell kids and lambs at between 3 and 6 months of age. Keep the best animals for replacement stock.


Mate your animal 14-20 hours after the onset of estrus. Your breeding ram (male sheep) or buck (male goat) should be strong and healthy with a muscular physique, typical of its breed. Look for good loins, strong quarters, and well-developed testes. One male can serve 30-50 females.

Heat detection

A ewe in estrus will:

- bleat (cry loudly).
- wag its tail frequently.
- stand still when mounted.
- try to join the ram.