Reproductive Performance of Central Highland Goats under Traditional Management
in Sekota District, Ethiopia
Mussie H. Melekot
A study was conducted in the sub humid parts of Sekota District, Amhara Regional
State, Ethiopia, to evaluate the reproductive performance of Central Highland
goat types raised under the traditional management system of farm households.
Twenty-two randomly selected flocks were monitored for two years during which
reproductive data were collected on 524 does. The mean least squares Age at
first kidding, litter size, kidding interval and kidding rate was found to be
407.9 days, 1.16±0.04 kids, 1.46±0.03, and 307.9 days, respectively.
Age at first kidding was affected (p<0.01) by season of birth that does born
during the hot season had short age at first kidding. Kidding interval was shorter
(p<0.01) for does that kidded during cool season and single litter. Litter
size was also affected (p<0.01) by parity and season of kidding. Does kidded
in the hot season and those with higher parities had larger litter. The effect
of type of birth and season of kidding on annual reproductive rate was significant
that multiple bearing does and those kidded in the hot season had larger reproductive
rate. The effect of season on most of the traits indicates the need for supplementation
of does during the dry season when the grazing condition is very poor for better
Received: September 23, 2013;
Accepted: January 04, 2014;
Published: February 06, 2014
The goat population of Ethiopia is estimated to be 21.7 million (CSA,
2012) found distributed in different agro-ecological zones. A large proportion
(58%) is found in the lowlands of the country raised in large flocks by pastoralists
while the rest, 42% of the total are found in the highlands (ESGPIP,
Goats in Ethiopia make an important contribution to the poor household in particular
and national economy in general. They provide 30% of all domestic meat consumption
and generate cash income from exports of meat, mainly as live animals and skins
(Zelalem and Fletcher, 1993). Goats in the traditional
production system are maintained with a very little resource input and therefore
are low productive.
According to breed characterization reports (FARM-Africa,
1996), central highland goats are among the goat breeds found distributed
Central highlands, west of the Rift Valley, Wollo, Gondar and Shoa (ESGPIP,
2008; FARM-Africa, 1996). These goats are grouped
in the small east African family goats. These goats are characterised as Medium-sized,
broad-faced, thick horns and reddish-brown in colour (FARM-Africa,
1996). The average number of kids born per breeding female is 2.9 of which
single births account for 83% of all births while twins account for 17% (FARM-Africa,
Reproductive performances and survival rate are important traits in goat production
since productivity is determined by reproductive efficiency and kid mortality
(Matika et al., 2003). The objective of this research
was to evaluate the reproductive performances of Central Highland goats under
traditional management systems in Sekota district.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study area: The study was conducted in Sekota District, Waghimra Administrative
Zone in the Amhara Regional state. It is located about 720 km North from Addis
Ababa (Capital city of Ethiopia). The Altitude of the area varies from 1340
to 2200 m a.s.l (ZAD, unpublished). Annual rainfall ranges between 350-700 mm,
falling mainly from July to September. The pattern and distribution of the rainfall
is erratic and uneven. Average temperature ranges from 16-27°C (ZAD, unpublished).
The vegetation can be characterized as being semi-arid shrubs dominated by various
acacia species with a sparse ground cover of annual grasses. The district is
characterized by long dry season lasting from October to June.
On-farm flock monitoring: For the study, two rural kebeles were purposively
chosen in the sub humid part of the district based on goat population. From
the two kebeles, twenty-two households who owned Highland Goats were randomly
selected and the flocks were monitored. All animals in the flock were identified
with plastic ear tags applied at the beginning of the research, at purchase
and at birth. The age and parity of does in the flock were determined by dentition
and information from owners at the beginning of the monitoring.
Animals were maintained under traditional management system. They were grazing
in a communal grazing land during the whole day and housed in the night times.
Breeding was year round and uncontrolled. During the course of data collection,
animals have been de-wormed and sprayed for internal and external parasite control
three times a year. Vaccinations for prevalent diseases of the area like Pasteurellosis,
PPR and anthrax has been given once in a year.
Data collection and management: Data on reproductive parameters such
as doe id, kidding date, kid id, kid sex, parity, kid weight, birth type (litter
size) were recorded with in 24 h of kidding by trained enumerator recruited
on site. Researchers were supervising the monitoring activity on a monthly interval.
Kidding interval was calculated as the difference (in days) between two successive
kiddings for all does with more than one kidding record. Age at first kidding
was calculated as the difference (in days) between birth and first kidding date
of does. Litter size was computed as number of kids born/doe/kidding. Annual
Kidding Rate (AKR) was calculated as: AKR = litter sizex365 per subsequent kidding
interval. All data were recorded and managed in MS-excel computer program.
Statistical analysis: Data on reproductive performances were analysed
using the General Linear Model Procedures of Statistical Analysis System (SAS,
2003). The response variables considered in the analysis include Age at
First Kidding (AFK), Kidding Interval (KI), Litter Size (LS) and Annual Kidding
Rate (AKR). The fixed effects considered were parity of doe, type of birth and
season of birth. Season was categorized as, (1) Wet season: Spans from July
to September and green natural pasture is available, (2) Cool season: From October
to January which is characterised as relatively cool temperature with aftermath
grazing. The quantity and quality of natural pasture is depleted in this time,
(3) Hot season: From February to June and have a very hot temperature and both
the natural pasture and aftermath grazing is scanty. Type of birth was classified
as single when single and multiple when it is two and above.
The statistical model used was:
||Observation on age at first kidding, kidding interval, litter
size and annual kidding rate
||Fixed effect of parity (i = 1, 2,
||Fixed effect of type of birth of doe (j = Single, Multiple)
||Fixed effect of the season of birth of doe (k = Wet season, Cool season,
||Random error term
Age at first kidding: The least square mean age at first kidding of
Central Highland goats found in the current study was 407.9 days (Table
1). This is within the range of values reported by Payne
and Wilson (1999) for goats in the tropics that stated the mean ages at
first kidding to be between 12 to 18 months. The obtained result is much lower
than the report for Arsi Bale goats (Dadi et al., 2008).
Ayalew (2000) reported that 36% of the does had their
first kidding by eruption of their first incisor teeth among the goat types
of southern Ethiopia; it is lower age as compared to the current result.
Season of birth influenced (p<0.05) age at first kidding of Central Highland
goats that wet season born does kidded their first kid at later age than their
dry and cool season born counterparts. This effect is in agreement with the
reports of Zeshmarani et al. (2007) and Hassan
et al. (2007) for Black Bengal goats.
|| Least squares Mean (±SE) of age at first kidding (days)
of central highland goats in Sekota district
|Means within the same column of the same factor are significantly
different at the indicated p-value; *p<0.05; ns: Not significant (p>0.05),
LSM: Least square mean, N: No. of observation, SE: Standard error
|| Least squares Means (±SE) of kidding interval, litter
size and annual kidding rate of central highland goats in Sekota district
|Means within the same column of the same factor are significantly
different at the indicated p-value; *p<0.05, **p<0.01, ***p<0.001,
ns: Not significant, LSM: Least square mean, NL: No. of observation, SE:
Litter size: During the study period, a total of 520 does kidded 608
kids of which 88 (16.9%) does gave twins and the rest 432 (83.1%) gave single
births. FARM-Africa (1996) reported similar result for
the same breed that single births account for 83% of all births while twins
account for 17%.
The overall least squares mean litter size of Central Highland goats obtained
in the current study (1.16±0.04, Table 2) was slightly
lower than that of Arsi Bale (Tatek et al., 2004)
and Central Highland goats (Tesfaye et al., 2006).
Dadi et al. (2008) reported 1.6 kids per doe kidding.
However, the obtained figure is in comparison with the report of FARM-Africa
(1996) for the same breed.
Parity of doe had showed significant difference (p<0.001) in litter size
that higher parity does gave higher litter than lower parity ones. This agrees
with the research findings of Dadi et al. (2008)
that the largest litter sizes achieved at about sixth parity. Hossain
et al. (2004) has also reported an increase litter size from first
to third parity doe. Moaeen-Ud-Din et al. (2008)
reported that litter size was highest at fourth kidding (2.7±1.0) and
lowest during first kidding (1.5±0.7) in Matou goat of Central China.
Advancement in age of does results in improved ovulation rate, uterine capacity
and other maternal traits affecting the reproductive efficiency (Fahmy,
1990) which in turn increases fecundity.
Higher (p<0.01) litter size was obtained during hot dry season as compared
to other seasons considered. This might be because of the better feed availability
during conception which was the wet season. Better nutrition during mating season
improves body condition and body weight which in turn increases the number of
ova shed and fertilized. This result complies with several authors (Bushara
et al., 2013; Dadi et al., 2008; Mellado
et al., 2006).
Kidding interval: The overall least squares mean kidding interval of
Central Highland goats were 307.9±14.20 (Table 2) which
is in comparison with Arsi-Bale goats (Dadi et al.,
2008). The obtained result is somewhat larger than the values reported for
goats in the tropics from 180 to 300 days by Payne and Wilson
Type of birth affected (p<0.01) kidding interval in Central Highland goats.
Those does kidded single kids had shorter interval than their multiple born
counterparts (292.55±7.1 vs. 338.36±13.7). Similar effect of litter
size on kidding interval is reported in the literature (Bushara
et al., 2013). This might be due to the fact that multiple born does
need to produce much more milk to nurse their kid therefore will have poor body
condition especially when feed is scarce.
Season also had an effect (p<0.001) on kidding interval that does kidded
in the cool season had a shorter kidding interval followed by does that gave
birth in the wet season. Does require better nutrition before and after kidding
in order to gain body condition and come to heat. Nutrition have direct influence
on ovulation rate and fertility, since the nutritional stress appears to be
a prime probable cause of cyclicity and long kidding interval in the goats (Bushara
et al., 2013). As stated by Dadi et al.
(2008), kidding interval could be affected by change in the quality and
quantity of forages, which occur during the various seasons of the year.
Annual kidding rate: Annual kidding rate which is the number of young
produced per year is an important parameter in overall reproductive performances
and total productivity (Payne and Wilson, 1999). Since
it is produced from two other important traits, litter size and kidding interval,
it can be used as an index to select productive does in the flock.
The overall least squares mean annual kidding rate of Central Highland goats
obtained in the present study was 1.46±0.06 litters (Table
2). This value is within the range of values reported for tropical goats
(Payne and Wilson, 1999).
The analysis of variance showed that annual kidding rate was affected (p<0.001)
by birth type and season of birth. Does that gave twin births had larger annual
kidding rate. Similarly, does kidded in the hot season had better kidding rate
followed by those delivered in the wet season. It is stated in the literature
(Payne and Wilson, 1999), that the time of mating has
an important effect in the annual reproductive rate especially where intra-year
climatic variations are great and there are likely to be periods of plenty alternating
with periods of deficit.
The current study depicts that central highland goats perform lower than most
Ethiopian and tropical goats. Different fixed effects affected the reproductive
traits considered. The effect of season on most of the traits indicates the
need for supplementation of does during the dry season when the grazing condition
is very poor.
We would like to express our gratitude to Amhara Region Agricultural Research
Institute (ARARI) for financing the research work. Authors are also grateful
for experts in Sekota Dry Land Agricultural Research Center, Enumerators collecting
the data and all farm households participating in the monitoring activity.
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