Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Goat herding is no kids play

The art of herding goats has evolved into a fascinating blend of skill, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts around the world.

For many, goat herding might conjure thoughts of rolling green pastures stretching as far as the eye can see in a serene countryside. This once-traditional farming practice has transformed into a fulfilling pastime that not only brings joy and satisfaction but also presents a promising avenue for a profitable home-based business.

The history of herding goats dates back to a simpler time when shepherds roamed the fields, guiding their flocks with patience and expertise.

While technology and modern farming techniques have taken centre stage, goat herders such as 81-year-old Juin bin Antin, have taken the practice to the home to help tend the fields. It has also presented an opportunity for a homegrown business to flourish as he raised a herd of goats at his humble residence at Kampong Sungai Liang.

Juin recalled how he started herding goats as a hobby, having started with four males and females back in 2020.

“I started herding goats of the local variety around three years ago as a hobby and over time I have raised over 40 goats,” he said.

Juin bin Antin with his goats at his residence in Kampong Sungai Liang. Juin said goats are most active during the day as they rest at night. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM
Juin started herding goats as a hobby, having started with four males and females in 2020. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

He also noted that the demand for goats fluctuates over time but is always sought after, “especially for korban during Hari Raya Aidiladha”.

While many might seek out goats to be sacrificed during Aidiladha, some are interested in starting their own herd of goats. Juin also often sells his goats in pairs – a male and a female.

“Whenever people hear there are goats, they tend to flock around because of intrigue,” noted Juin.

The fascination with raising and herding sheep is one that Juin was happy to share, “(The goats) are most active during the day, as they rest at night. So taking care of them is very routine.”

He said this includes providing a food source during the day and ensuring there is a nearby source of warmth during the night.

Other than store-bought food pellets, Juin added that herding goats requires some areas of an open field where the goats can graze, “we usually let the goats out at around 10am where they graze on a wide variety of leaves such as coconut or Simpor leaves”.

He added that the grazing goats also help keep the grass trimmed, which he saw as a positive as he did not need to be mindful of overgrown grass.

“Especially with the local variety of goats, it is easy to raise and care for them as they are easy to tame. All that needs to be done is provide them with an easy source of food and they will come.”

Juin supposes that the only challenge to raising goats is the need to be aware of the surrounding environment of natural predators such as snakes.

Other challenges that he faced included taking care of the goat’s health by administering the proper medicine, along with the maintenance of the rest areas of the goats to ensure that the leftover waste is properly cleaned.

With the freedom afforded by the goats, he hopes to continue to raise and care for them for the foreseeable future as it has now become more than just a hobby for him.

In merging ancient techniques with modern entrepreneurship, goat herders such as Juin were able to create a pathway towards a fulfilling and financially rewarding lifestyle that can be pursued right at home.

Whether it’s the therapeutic experience, the chance to connect with rural communities, or the opportunity to contribute to sustainable agriculture, herding goats offers a journey filled with rich personal and professional experiences. – Daniel Lim