ANIMAL husbandry may not be glamorous but it has certainly paid off for young farmer Zin Azharee Hassan.
|FEEDING TIME: Contrary to popular belief, goats are not that difficult to rear.|
|ARE THEY SMILING?: Zin keeps only Red Boer and Ferrel goats from Australia.|
He ventured into goat rearing in March last year, with Red Boer and Ferrel breeds imported from Australia through friends who were there on business.
The goats give birth three times within two years and the kids can be sold off at five months.
Zin sells at least 10 young goats every month to other goat breeders in Malacca and Negri Sembilan.
“Kids as young as six month old are ready for breeding,” says Zin, who now has two other workers helping him.
The Red Boer grows very fast and its meat is sought after by restaurants such as steak houses because of its succulent and tender flesh.
Lambs are more popular because its meat reputedly has a lower cholesterol content compared to beef.
The adult Ferrel, which are similar in size to the local breed, is often sold at RM450 for religious ritual purposes, such as aqiqah sacrifices at the birth of a child.
Zin and two of his uncles invested RM200,000 in the farm, for renting the land and building the paddocks.
The farm has a strategic location not far from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which makes it easy for him to get hold of imported goats once they arrive.
He keeps costs low by using soil flooring for his paddocks, instead of wooden planks as is often the case.
The soil is taken from river sand banks or unused mines. The soil flooring absorbs the animal waste and naturally wears off the goats’ nails.
“This saves me time as I don’t have to trim their nails,” he said. Nothing goes to waste, he adds. The solid waste is sold as fertiliser for breeding leeches.
Goat-breeding is not as difficult as people think, Zin says.
The animals have to be fed only twice a day. Besides the usual animal-feed pellets, the goats are fed on fodder with added calcium powder to give them strength.
They also consume dried oil-palm leaves, easily available at nearby estates at no cost.
“That way I also help to clean up the estates,” says Zin, who collects the leaves twice a day.
The goats are given a special liquid once a week which helps in reducing the offensive odour in their waste.
Zin says the goats are similar to humans in their healthcare needs.
He uses cures learnt from the more experienced goat breeders. “And they really work,” vouches Zin.
He gives them antibiotics, rubs their snouts with Vicks when they have a cold and gamat if they are hurt in attacks by other goats. He also feeds them gripe water if they are bloated, and cough syrup if they have irritable throats.
Zin doesn’t have to work into the nights now as he used to when he was starting out as he needed to get things done right then.
Otherwise, raising the goats has been a breeze and Zin can spend the mornings at his father’s shop selling accessories for the uniformed services (such as the police and military) and goes to the farm after lunch to check on the goats.
Though many people had discouraged him when he thought of going into animal breeding, he felt that it had been worthwhile because he had been able to generate income within six months.
“I believe in trying out things myself,” says Zin. The challenge is to meet demand, which means that he needs to look out for more land.
The paddock is not purely for business. It has speakers and music is played throughout the day.
“At least the place is not still and quiet which could make one sleepy,” he said. In fact, breeding goats has been a good antidote for stress and, at the same time, helps him generate a steady income.
“I took up horse riding to de-stress but nowadays I don’t need to any more.”
Sometimes, Zin and his friends have a barbeque at the farm to unwind.
Zin wants to make animal husbandry a long-term venture. The animals are his assets and his challenge is to find a market and improve his cash flow.
Being a young man with a vision, Zin has already ordered 20 ayam kampung for breeding on the goat farm. He also plans to breed cattle on a piece of abandoned padi land in Selama, Perak.
“Its been a satisfying and rewarding experience,” he said.