One of the students’ favorite courses is a 3 day course in goat farming during which they learn a lot about small ruminant farming.
The course is divided into three days, during which they acquire a wealth of knowledge and many creative ideas that they can implement later on in their home countries.
During the first day, Ella Segal, the course instructor provides the students with a wealth of knowledge on goats. She begins with the basics, the difference between goats and sheep and continues with their physiology, nutrition, growth stages, pregnancies, calving and more.
The second day focuses more on their rearing. There are different methods and approaches – from intensive to extensive. There are different feeding methods, some prefer to take the goats to the pasture and others feed them in the pen. There are also methods of impregnating the goats. Ella instructs the students on the details they need to be attentive to during the female goat’s pregnancy in addition to methods they can use to support the pregnancy and birth process. They are also instructed on what to do when the calves are born, how to separate them from their mothers, how to maintain their health and more. They are taught about common diseases and how to care for them.
The third day includes a tour which the students invariably love. It’s a fun day on the farm – that includes a huge outdoor picnic – during which they learn more about practic
al methods of goats rearing. Depending on the number of goats in the herd, they learn to put them on rotation; they discover their needs, how to cross breed various varieties and how to choose which ones to cross breed. For example, in Israel, local goats are cross bred with European goats. This way they get the best of both worlds. On the one hand they have local durability and on the other they will receive the fertility of a European goat.
The students learn to choose the traits that are important to them based on their needs and the purpose of the herd. They learn the most advanced methods alongside traditional and tested methods they can implement in their home countries.
Ella explains that while they may not be able to use all the most advanced technologies because they may not have access to all the equipment, it is her goal to make sure they are aware of them and have the knowledge necessary to make an educated choice as to how to rear their own goats and get the best results with the resources that are available to them. “It’s all about enjoying the best of all worlds and adjusting your farming practices to your own needs”.