The Black Bengal Goat is a very popular breed of goats from India and Bangladesh. As the name suggests, they are usually black, and are mainly raised for their meat, though also for milk, but seldom kept as pets. They are extensively reared throughout their regions mainly because of their very low demand of food and housing, and a very high baby production rate. They are found in their region since unrecorded time.
|Characteristics||Relatively shorter than many other goat breeds, but has a tight body; the chest is broad with ears always set on top and hanging; cornea of the eyes are often yellow to yellowish green; tails are very short|
|Coat Hair||Short, smooth|
|Hair Color||Predominantly black; also brown, tan, gray and white|
|Uses||Meat production; also milk and leather production|
|Weight (size)||Buck: 25 to 30 kg;
Nanny: 20 to 25 kg
|Distribution||West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, and other north-eastern states of India; Bangladesh|
|Country of Origin||West Bengal, India|
History and Development
Very little is known about the exact origin or details about these goats, however, the black Bengal is an extremely old breed of goats that dates back to a few centuries. At present, they are the most common and popular breed of goats that are primarily spread all across West Bengal, and also in Bangladesh and the Indian states of Bihar and Orissa.
Temperament and Traits
They are an extremely docile and obedient breed that can easily be tamed. They are easy to be kept as pets, since they hardly require any specific shed to live in. Also, their feeding requirements are very less since they can thrive upon almost all types of leaves, vegetables, and grasses. They are hardy, and can adapt to any kind of environment.
Kidding and Life Cycle
One of the most lucrative traits of these goats is their growth rate. They attain the age of reproduction very fast – within 12-15 months from birth. The females would become pregnant twice each year, with the litter size being 3-4 kids. Twin birth is relatively rare, ranging from 10-15%. The gestation period is generally from 148 to 152 days.
The flock size of these goats ranges from 1 to 4, with the male to female ratio being 1:8 in a flock of adults. The flocks would graze all day on their own in open fields, or in the wild, and would return back to their shelters. The source of drinking water for these goats is pond or other small water bodies.
Black Bengals are naturally adapted to resist many common diseases. However, they are susceptible to catching cold, respiratory disorders, and diseases that are common in water-logged situations including entro and ecto parasitic infestation, diarrhea, etc. Under field condition, the mortality rate of these animals is 9.63%.
Black Bengal Goats play an important role in the economic situation in rural areas, reducing unemployment and poverty, especially in Bangladesh. The capital that is necessary for beginning with goat farming business is conspicuously low with this breed. Since farming Bengal goats falls within the financial capacity of common or poor people, it has been a great source of income for the underprivileged people from both India and Bangladesh. The Bengal goat has even helped them earn foreign currencies through export.
In the farming families of rural West Bengal, almost 91.3% of women rear Bengal goats. Most of the agricultural farmers keep these goats as a subsidiary income. However, in recent times, they are also reared in specific regions in urban areas, and even within the metropolitan cities like Kolkata (Calcutta).
In the rural scenario, these goats are mostly housed with the residential housing of the farmers. Most houses are ‘kachcha’ type, i.e. with thatched straw roofs, earthen floors.
Meat, Skin and Milk Production
The Black Bengal Goat is known for their good and tender quality of meat, and also their skin. An adult Bengal goat is able to produce about 10-12 kg of consumable meat. The excellent quality of skin is in demand in the country’s leather market for the production of shoes, bags, belts, etc.
The milk and the meat of this breed are both nutritious and tasty, and have a worldwide demand. These goats are often castrated mostly by the Muslim meat sellers to make them gain a bigger and heavier shape.
The quantity of milk production, though, is poor, with an average daily yield of 1.3 kg, but it is often exported to other countries for the production of goat cheese. The milk of the Bengal goat also has medicinal properties. It is good for the prevention of tuberculosis, asthma, and pox.
- There are about 25 million of these goats in Bangladesh.
- High amounts of carrots can prove to be fatal to the Black Bengal Goats.