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Session I - Productivity

Husbandry, nutrition and productivity of goats and sheep in tropical Africa
L'élevage caprin au Burundi: Les premiers paramètres zootechniques obtenus en station
A review of goat production in Uganda
Réflexions sur l'élevage des petits ruminants en République Populaire Révolutionnaire de Guinée
Recherches sur le mouton au Rwanda
Chairman's report

Husbandry, nutrition and productivity of goats and sheep in tropical Africa

by Dr R. T. Wilson

Tropical Africa has one-sixth of the total world flock of sheep and one-third of all goats. There are 0. 71 goats and sheep per inhabitant in tropical Africa but their distribution is uneven, tending to the drier areas (Table 26). Within the semi-arid and humid zones the number of goats and sheep per head of human population varies from as low as 0. 07 m Sierra Leone and 0.13 in the Congo and Zaire to as high as 6. 0 in Djibouti and 5.4 in Mauritania. In the countries in which ILCA has zonal programmes the figures are 2.13 for Mali, 1.65 for Ethiopia, 0.73 for Kenya and 0.47 for Nigeria;; production from small ruminants is important in all these countries. Total meat production from small ruminants in Africa is 1.15 million tonnes (16% of world production), total milk production is 1.99 million tonnes (14% of world total) and total skin production is 211 000 tonnes (15% of world production). The total milk production from goats in Africa is about 3 times that from sheep.

Sheep and goats contribute about 17% of the total ruminant biomass in Africa (Table 26). This percentage varies from 9. 3% in wet tropical Africa (including Tanzania and Zambia) to 35% in the Mediterranean Littoral. There are slightly more sheep than goats, and as sheep are generally bigger than goats they contribute more to neat production, although the value of goats is increased by their better milk production.

Table 26. The regional importance of sheep and goats in Africa. Numbers and areas adapted from FAO (1981a). Biomass calculated from mean population weights (cattle 206 kg, camel 307 kg, sheep 30 kg, goat 18 kg, buffalo excluded).




Semi-arid and arid


Mediterranean Littoral

Southern Africa

Total area (106 km2)






Agricultural population (106)






Number of goats (106)






Number of sheep (10106)






Ratio of goats: sheep






Density of (goats + sheep)/km2



4 0



Number of (goats + sheep)/person


1. 59


0. 83

3. 21

(goats+sheep) as % of ruminant biomass

16. 8

16. 5

9. 3

34. 7

18. 4


The term husbandry is used in a rather wide sense to include breed types (because these have undoubtedly developed in response to local needs and have been influenced by selection pressure), ownership patterns (because these reflect the preferences and needs of the human population) and management (which does exist under traditional systems in spite of a lingering feeling in some quarters that this type of husbandry proceeds on an ad hoc basis).

Breed types. Both goats and sheep of the semi-arid zones are generally larger than those of the more humid zones. They have for long been considered "unproductive" but it is doubtful if any other type of animal - at least of those currently domesticated - could produce as much in terms of returns for resources utilised. Over large areas of the West African Sahel there is little differentiation of breed or type in conditions of similar ecology. In general in the west and to some extent extending across the Sudan, where differentiation does occur it is found along east-west lines which follow the main ecological zones. In East Africa the situation is more complicated, being influenced by climate and altitude, by the diverse origins of the ethnic groups owning sheep and goats and by importations into the area. These importations may be of considerable antiquity-from Arabia and south-west Asia, for example - or more recently from the developed areas of Europe, Australia and South Africa. Table 27 indicates some of the, main races of goats and sheep in the semi-arid areas and the economic justification for them.

In the humid zones there is little differentiation into breeds or types in either goats or sheep nor indeed is there any functional division. Both species are of the dwarf type, the extreme in goats often having a grotesque appearance. Goats seldom weigh more than 25 kg and sheep are little bigger although some of the intermediate type of Djallonke males in the sub-humid zone of West Africa may weigh as much as 35 or 40 kg. These types are generally trypanotolerant. In this zone the principal, if not the sole, reason for keeping small ruminants is for the production of meat (although it is said to be very greasy and is not liked by the peoples of the more arid areas) with the skins also being cooked and eaten. Milk production is very poor.

In the Mediterranean Littoral the Merino is important in some areas as it is in Southern Africa. In Southern Africa the Karakul sheep and Angora goat are also important, particularly in Namibia (South-West Africa). Recent attempts to "improve" local races with these breeds in tropical Africa, with the exception of the Highlands, have met with almost universal failure (see, for example, Wilson, 1981). No traces of these attempts can be seen in the stock existing to-day. In East Africa, apart from the out-and-out "European" operations, some progress has been made towards improvement of native breeds by the introduction of the Blackhead Persian and its derivative, the Dorper, in particular in Masai flocks. Similarly, the Boer goat and a prolific fast-growing local breed, the Boran, are being introduced, by the Masai themselves, into traditional flocks.

Table 27. Principal types of goats and sheep in semi-arid Africa and their aptitude for production

Species Breed/type


Mature liveweight (kg)

Production aptitude


Sudan Desert/Sahel

Senegal to Sudan: arid and semi-arid


Meat, milk

Maradi/Red Sokoto

Niger/Nigeria: southern semi-arid


Skin, Milk and Meat


Sudan: riverine




Ethiopia: arid/semi-arid



Small East African

Kenya: upland semi-arid


Milk, Meat


Uganda: upland semi-arid


Skin and Meat


Kenya: upland semi-arid


Meat- crossbreeding


Black Moor/Zhagawa

Mauritania/Tchad/Sudan arid desert fringe


Meat, Hair

Sudan Desert

Sudan: arid desert fringe


Meat, Milk (Skin)

Sahel (West African Fellata)

Mali/Niger/Tchad Sahel, northern semi arid


Meat (Skin)


Mali: Niger flood plain


Wool, Meat

East African fat-tailed

Ethiopia: semi-arid


Milk (Meat)


Kenya: upland semi-arid


Fat meat (Skin)

Sahel x Forest/Nilotic

Mali: semi-arid/sub-humid


Meat - supplementary fed

Blackhead Persian/ Dorper

Kenya: upland semi-arid


Meat- crossbreeding

In general under present conditions there would appear to be adequate genetic material in the indigenous races for production to be raised to a much higher level than the current average. Only when this level has been reached and when the constraining ecological and economic conditions can be overcome, should consideration be given to further "improvement" by races less well adapted to the rigours of the zone.

Ownership. The ownership pattern is very varied and, for an outsider at least, extremely difficult to establish and understand. The ramifications of many African kinship systems; the extremely complicated systems of "stock friends", loans and herd splitting; the herding out procedures involving professional herders often of a different ethnic group all lead to a rather fluid idea of owner-ship which often involves many displacements of an animal over its lifetime.

It would nonetheless be true to say that larger numbers are owned by individuals or families in the drier areas than in the less dry ones. In West Africa and the Sudan this in effect means that flock size decreases from north to south and in Ethiopia and Kenya there is a trend to smaller flocks at higher altitudes. This trend reflects the obvious change of system from a purely pastoral one associated with the very dry areas through an agro-pastoral one in the less dry areas (and where the agricultural component may be assuming more importance) to an agricultural one in the gradation to a sub-humid climate.

What is perhaps less obvious in the ownership pattern is the gradual change in emphasis from sheep to goats as the macro-management system moves from nomadism to sedentary and from pastoral to agricultural. This is reflected not so much in the size of flocks as in the numbers of owners who either have preferences for goats over sheep or who, for other reasons, are forced to keep goats. Goats are, of course, generally more prolific than sheep and are probably less trouble to manage for the agriculturalists and agro-pastoralists who are recent entrants into animal husbandry. Table 28 provides some idea of the distribution of ownership in an agro-pastoral system composed of two subsystems in the semi-arid zone of Mali; Table 29 indicates patterns in the humid zone of south-west Nigeria while Table 30 shows additional data for Kenya and Tchad.

In recent years, although there is little hard evidence to support such a contention, it is probable that the goat population has been increasing not only in absolute numbers but in relative terms in comparison with sheep This is perhaps due to their higher total reproductive rate and their wider dietary range. Although, as can be seen in the section on productivity goats are not generally as productive as sheep when calculated on the same basis in terms of meat production (although there are exceptions), their superior milking ability undoubtedly renders them more attractive overall, particularly in the drier areas. Trends in total population and in numbers of families owning small ruminants are thus likely to continue towards goats and away from sheep, at least in the traditional sectors.

Table 23. Ownership patterns of sheep and goats in an agro-pastoral area in central Mali.

Irrigated Rice sub-system

Rainfed Millet sub-system





Number of owners studied



Number owning sheep or goats





Number owning goats but not sheep



Number owning sheep but not goats



Mean flock sizea)

9. 0




± s.d





Mean flock sizeb)





± s.d





Range in flock size






(a) of all owners i. e. irrespective of whether the holding of one species of stock is nil

(b) of only those flocks in which animals are held, i. e. nil holdings excluded.

Table 29. Pattern of small ruminant ownership in the humid zone of south-west Nigeria. Source: Mosi et al. (1982).

Forest zone

Derived Savanna Zone

Percentage of farmers owning small ruminants



Mean flock sizes

Goats only



Sheep only



Mixed flocks



Management. Until recently, and indeed the feeling lingers on in some quarters, it was considered that under traditional systems of operation no management was practised. Only a little thought shows the inherent nonsense of this tenet. Nomadism is a sophisticated management response to a resource base which is always seasonally and often totally deficient. Stall feeding is equally a response to the availability of a surplus of nutrients in a particular environment and to a demand often very strictly confined in time and space, for a convenient quantity of meat These management options are the extremes of a wide range of such which form a continuum from the almost totally unendowed very arid end of our spectrum to the much more favourable environment at the sub-humid end of the scale where irrigation possibilities may provide the opportunity for relatively sophisticated interventions. In the very humid zones all management is sedentary with animals often being stall fed or given quantities of household and crop waste and being tied or housed at night.

Table 30. Livestock owning in agro-pastoral and pastoral societies in Kenya and Tchad. Sources: Kenya - Christie Peacock (personal communication); Tchad - Dumas (1977).








Production system






Average holdings


















4. 7

Table 31 indicates the strategies ("macro"-management) and tactics ("micro"-management) of traditional owners in the African semi-arid zone. With only few exceptions there are clear trends from low to higher rainfall which are: nomadism to stall feeding; uncontrrolled or very loosely controlled ranging by day and open camp at night to very restricted herding by day and confinement at night; a tendency to generally smaller flock sizes as conditions improve and an increased emphasis on goats associated with the agro-pastoral zones as already mentioned in the section on ownership. Large scale modern management of sheep (for wool and to a lesser extent for fat lamb) is confined to the highland areas of Kenya.

Prestige and perverse supply were once catch words used to typify the attitudes of traditional livestock owners. Undoubtedly African pastoralists are conservative but it is doubtful ii they are any more so than their peers in Australia or America. Their reasons for keeping stock are rarely irrational and are perfectly in keeping with the problems encountered and the short and long term goals of the owners One aspect which supports this contention relates to the age and sex structure of the flocks. Whatever the main economic objective in keeping goats or sheep, a remarkable similarity in flock structure is apparent across the whole of the semi-arid zone, as can be seen from Table 32. With the single exception of the Afar of Ethiopia whose subsistence is almost entirely milk, all the flocks have around 75% of females (and somewhere in the region of 55% of the total flock breeding females in excess of twelve months of age). In a sample of flocks belonging to four different ethnic groups in Mali, covering the whole range of "macro"-management systems and including more than ten thousand animals, the mean percentage of females was 74.7 with a standard deviation of ±3.07. Breeding females in this sample showed even less variation at 54.3 ( ±2.43)% of the total flock. Contrary to another popular misconception, there are very few old unproductive females in the flocks, this class of stock being usually less than 5% in large scale flocks and rarely exceeding 10% in the small agro-pastoral ones. The main management practice used to achieve this structure and stability is the early culling of males which are sold or slaughtered for home consumption. Males of reproductive age are kept, strictly speaking, in numbers in excess of those actually required for breeding. There is, of course, the consideration of losses from diseases and of a temporary sterility as a result of nutritional deficiencies: when these factors are taken into account the number of males is seen to be no more than reasonable. Where older males other than breeding animals are kept they usually contribute directly to the flock economy in terms of wool or hair or to specialised dietary requirements such as, for example, in the case of the Masai. In the humid zones flock structures are even more heavily weighted to females with as many as 80% females in the derived savanna areas and 83% in the true forest area (Mosi, Opasina, Heywood, Carew and Valez, 1982).

Table 31. Ecology and management of goats and sheep in semi-arid Africa

Table 32. Some of management objectives related to flock structures (structure as per cent of total animals)

It has to be said that the true pastoralists are much better at flock management, for example in terms of foraging time allowed to their animals and in control of mating to certain desired males, than the recent entrants into the livestock industry. These agriculturalists and agro-pastoralists appear to have much to learn before maximum production levels are achieved. With better management and with more efficient use of agricultural by-products and tree fodder, productivity could be raised considerably from these areas.


According to IEMVT (1980) the studies done on tine nutrient requirements of small ruminants in the tropics are for the most part fragmentary. They quote voluntary intake for sheep as between 1.8 and 3.0 kg dry matter for maintenance, 3.0-3.8 kg DM for the last six weeks of pregnancy and 4.4-6.0 kg DM for lactation, all figures expressed per 100 kg liveweight for 35 kg sheep. ILCA studies in the semi-arid zone of Mali have shown large fluctuations in DM intake over time from about 1.6 to 3.2% of liveweight for both sheep and goats with mean values of 2.6%. Seasonal trends here were difficult to detect but there was low intake of DM from October to January (i.e. in the eary dry season) with goats eating much less than sheep in the rains. On average mature male sheep ingested 0.70 MJ of energy per day while goats averaged 0.53 MJ. It has also been difficult to isolate the effects of mixed species flocks on the nutrition requirements and intake of goats and sheep. It is possible that either one or other species largely determines the activity and consumption patterns of both at certain times of the year, depending on the type of food available and this could have some effect on overall productivity. In the dry zones of Mali goats spend as much as 87% of their time on browse while sheep spend only 34% of theirs. ILCA studies in Kenya have shown that goats spend 56% of their time browsing compared with no time at all by sheep. While the truism that goats are principally browsers and sheep mainly grazers thus appears to be confirmed, it is necessary to be cautious in this respect. In studies in the humid zone Carew, Mosi, Mba and Egbunike (1982) showed that goats spent 98.7% of their feeding time browsing but sheep also spent 92.6% of time browsing in the forest zone while in the derived savanna zone sheep (61.1%) actually spent more of the feeding time, and much more of total time, in browsing than goats (52.2%).

The conventional wisdom of the greater efficiency of goats over sheep in the digestibility of organic matter, crude protein and fibre (Devendra and Burns, 1970) has also been challenged recently (McDowell and Woodward, 1982). It is apparent that a great deal of further work is required before nutritional aspects can be properly evaluated and the relation of nutrition to breeding physiology and reproductive performance probably needs special attention.

Improved nutrition greatly increases the growth rate of indigenous animals but the seasonality of the food supply has only minor effects on reproduction with both goats and sheep producing young all the year round even in the semi-arid areas with monomodal rainfall. This is not the case for cattle where more than 60% of births occur in a 10-week period related to conception in the previous rainy season.


Table 26 showed that goats and sheep account for almost 17% of the total domestic ruminant biomass. This in itself is a not inconsiderable figure but nonetheless gives no indication of the real contribution of this class of stock to total animal production. On account of the higher prolificacy and the shorter generation cycle, offtake figures are much higher than for cattle or camels. Based on figures for biomass and offtake rates, sheep and goats can be expected, as Table 33 shows, to contribute almost 30% of total meat protein (excluding poultry and pigs) in the semi-arid zones. This high contribution is often not acknowledged, the trade in sheep and especially goat meat being internal to the countries concerned or on a much smaller scale even within the flocks themselves. That the figure of 30% per cent is not far out is supported by the data for registered slaughterings in the principal towns in four of the Sahelian states shown in Table 34. In 1970 the figure was almost 36% and in 1976, after a lengthy period of drought, sheep and goats contributed overall 43.2% to meat production on average and more than 70% in Niger. The ability to withstand drought conditions and to recover from them much more quickly than cattle is a not inconsiderable factor in the production potential of goats and sheep.

In addition, as can be seen from Figure 2, in drier areas, goats in particular, and sheep to a lesser extent contribute to human welfare by assuring a supply of milk at the time of year when cows' milk is not available.

At the level of the individual animal some of the ways in which the relatively high productivity is achieved are shown in Table 35. Sheep give birth for the first time at about 15 months of age on the average: goats are generally two to three weeks earlier. Parturition intervals vary from 8 to 10 months. Although the semi-arid races are not as prolific as the small races of the more humid zones, twin births are common in goats and are far from unusual in sheep, In these races the number of young born per year is thus in general about 1.6 per breeding female for goats and somewhat less for sheep. In the forest races because of the higher rate of multiple births, rates of annual reproduction in goats are in excess of 2.0 and not much less than this in sheep, In all types the first litter is smaller, as would be expected, than subsequent litters.

Table 33. Contribution of domestic herbivores to liveweight biomass and to meat production in eight African semi-arid countries,



Sheep + Goats

Total liveweight biomass (tonnes)

14 100 000

1 900 000

2 800 000

Offtake rate (%)




Total carcass weight available at 50% dressing percentage (tonnes)

990 000

60 000

410 000

Species as % of total liveweight biomass



14, 7

Contribution of species to total meat availability




Table 34. The contribution of sheep and goats to registered slaughterings in four African countries before and after a drought period ('000 livestock unit equivalents and percentages)





Sheep + Goats


Sheep + Goats % of total


Sheep + Goats


Sheep + Goats % of total














































Growth rates in the semi-arid races are some three times more rapid than the rates in forest types when expressed simply as grams/day. However forest types have similar or slightly greater productivity indices calculated per unit weight of breeding female (ILCA, 1979b). The withdrawal of males for slaughter at light weights (90% of marketed and home slaughtered males in Darfur, for example, have liveweights less than 20 kg) represents some loss of potential meat availability but is certainly an efficient use of the resource base.

Figure 2. Complementarity of lactations in mixed species production systems

Table 35. Some measured production parameters for African goats and sheep in semi-arid areas

There are few data available on aspects of production other than meat. Such products include milk, wool, hair and skins; and the contribution of manure to the agricultural systems with which goats and sheep in the less dry areas are associated. Data collection on some of these aspects may well be beyond the means of a simple animal scientist and may require considerable cross-disciplinary inputs from sociologists and economists as well as agronomists. These products are certainly worthy of much more attention than they have received.

While mortality rates in small ruminants are considered to be high (up to 40% in goats and 3035% in sheep before weaning and up to 10% in older animals) losses due entirely to disease are difficult to categorise. Country statistics in this subject, as for animal numbers, must be to a certain extent suspect and while there is a voluminous and rapidly growing literature on small ruminant disease at least when compared with productive aspects - it would be true to say that the real causes of most mortalities are only suspected rather than known. Except In certain clear-cut cases death usually supervenes as a result of a complex of factors involving nutrition, management and disease.

Potential for improved production

The semi-arid zones of Africa represent a difficult environment with seasonal, and occasionally much longer, severe stress periods. Different kinds of stress, for example trypanosome infections and extremely heavy parasite burdens affect forest types. Goats and sheep are obviously fairly well adapted to these stress conditions. "Modern" technical inputs, even where available, are beyond the financial, and often physical, reach of the owners.

Although nothing akin to a "green revolution" can be expected, this does not mean that improvement is not possible. In the case of liveweight gain, for example, consider one specific and one general example, In Darfur flocks studied in 1972-74, one male sheep, reared under exactly the same conditions as his contemporaries, gained 265 g per day to 12 weeks of age when he weighed 26.5 kg this rate of gain compares very well with the 299 g mean achieved in New Zealand for grass-fed lambs. A general example concerns the so-called "mouton de case" of West Africa. In Mali, the feeding of rice bran, leaves of Khaya senegalensis and cow-pea haulm can lead to weight gains which are 50% higher than those of similar animals reared on the open range and on millet and rice stubbles. It is apparent that the genetic base is not as impoverished as many people think In terms of weight gain, however, it is often just the fastest growing males, which would be the best sires, which are removed from the flocks.

Figure 3. Potential improvement pathways for sheep and goat flocks in Maasai group ranches.

Management has been shown to be an important factor in overall performance. A general lift in production so that the worst flocks can be raised to the level of the current average producer, thus raising the existing output by 15-20%, should not be too difficult to achieve, This target could be attained by encouraging the worst owners to follow the practices of the better ones. It is just this field the one of management - that is most likely to be successful in raising production levels at the least cost.

L'élevage caprin au Burundi: Les premiers paramètres zootechniques obtenus en station

Faculté d'Agronomie
B P 2940


Dans cette étude, les premiers paramètres zootechniques (croissance et reproduction) de la chèvre local obtenus en station sont présentés et analysés selon le sexe et la taille de la portée (simples au jumeaux).

Malgré le caractère partiel des résultats et les conditions d'alimentation et d'environnement pas toujours favorables, la chèvre locale peut être considérée comme ayant de bonnes aptitudes de croissance et de reproduction.


In this study, the first results of zootechnic parameters (growth and reproductive performances) of Burundi local goats are presented and analysed according to the sex and litter size.

In spite of the partial character of these results, Burundi local goat can be considered as having good growing and reproductive performance in his environmental conditions.


Selon différentes sources, le cheptel caprin compterait 1 à 2.000.000 de têtes et serait ainsi le premier troupeau au Burundi.

Cependant la chèvre n'avait jusqu'ici attiré l'attention ni des planificateurs ni des chercheurs dont l'attention était centrée sur le gros bétail.

Une telle situation ne pouvait durer face à la pression démographique (plus de 160 habitants au km2) sur les terres qui élimine progressivement l'élevage bovin dans beaucoup de régions au profit du petit bétail et en particulier de la chèvre.

L'utilisation rationnelle du potentiel caprin devenait plus qu'urgente. A cet effet, grâce aux fonds de la Fondation Internationale pour la Science, à la collaboration de la Société Agricole du Burundi et surtout grâce à la longue expérience et au dynamisme du Prof. R. BRANCKAERT une station de recherche a été aménagée par la Faculté d'Agronomie

Les objectifs de cette station portent sur:

1. Les paramètres de croissance, de reproduction et d'engraissement
2. La gestion du troupeau et du pâturage
3. L'étude des systèmes d'exploitation adaptées au milieu

Le troupeau de base ayant été constitué le 1er juin 1982, nous ne pouvons présenter ici que les premiers résultats concernant les paramètres zootechniques obtenus en station qui seront, à l'avenir, comparés aux résultats obtenus en milieu rural. Ces résultats seront présentés et analysés selon le sexe, et la taille de la portée (simples ou jumeaux).


A) Les animaux et l'alimentation

Un troupeau de base de 42 chèvres (40 et 2 et leur suite est maintenu sur un pâturage naturel sous la conduite d'un chevrier.

La composition et l'effectif du troupeau vent donnés par le tableau 1. Dans ce pâturage anciennement inondé, la proximité de la nappe phréatique garantit un fourrage vert toute l'année. Une supplémentation minérale est accordée à tout le troupeau (bloc à lécher).

Un système d'alimentation spéciale (creep-feeding) permet aux jeunes non sevrés d'accéder à la consommation du son de riz (sous-produit agro-industriel disponible sur place).

Après le sevrage, ces jeunes reçoivent ±200 gr. de son de riz additionné de carbonate calcique (5-6%).

Les animaux s'abreuvent à la sortie et à la rentrée du pâturage. Un plan prophylactique permet un contrôle parasitaire efficace dans le troupeau.

B) Les mesures effectuées

- pesées hebdomadaires pour les jeunes et mensuelles pour les adultes
- mensurations
- enregistrement des naissance et des saillies
- suivi de l'état sanitaire des animaux

Les résults de croissance portent sur 14 semaines d'âge pour les mâles jumeaux non-castrés et 42 à 45 semaines d'age pour les autres catégories.

Tableau 1. Composition de l'effectif étudié


Mâles castrés

Mâles non castrés


Jeunes de portée simple

44 semaines

42 semaines

45 semaines


Jeunes de portée double

42 semaines

45 semaines

14 semaines







Total Global



1. La croissance:

a) les gains quotidens moyens

Le tableau 2 donne la croissance (gains quotidiens moyens) pré, post sevrage (£ 13 semaines) et globale des jeunes selon le sexe et la taille de la portée (simple ou double).

Pour la croissance présevrage (£ 13 semaines), les portées simples présentent un gain quotidien moyen supérieur à celui des portées doubles (+29.5%, +20.70% respectivement pour les femelles et les mâles).

Concernant la croissance post-sevrage, les différences se réduisant (+5% en faveur du mâles simples castrés) et s'inversent même (+42% pour les femelles de portée double et @ 400% pour les mâles non-castrés de portée double). S'agit-il du phénomène de croissance compensatoire après une sous-alimentation présevrage (les portées doubles disposant de moins de lait)? La réponse sera donnée par les résultats ultérieur

Pour la croissance globale (pré + post-sevrage) les résultats ne dégagent pas une tendance précise. Les femelles simples ont une croissance légèrement intérieure aux jumelles, les mâles castrés simples croissent plus vite (+9%) que les jumeaux mâles castrés et les mâles simples non-castrés nettement moins vite (-36%) que les jumeaux mâles non-castrés.

D'une façon générale les mâles, queue que soit leur portée, présentent une croissance plus rapide que les femelles.

Le gain quotidien moyen des jumeaux mâles non-castrés portent uniquement sur 14 semaines (13 semaines pré + 1 semaine post-sevrage) la comparaison avec le gain quotidien moyen des autres catégories (42 à 45 semaines) apparait fort biaisée.

Les figures, 2 et 3 représentent l'évolution comparative des gains quotidiens moyens des jeunes selon le sexe et la taille de la portée.

Les figures 3 et 4 donnent l'évaluation du poids vif de la naissance au sevrage et post-sevrage. Les évolutions du gain quotidien moyen et du poids vif des adultes vent données par les figures 5 et 6.

b) Les poids à la naissance et au sevrage

Le tableau 3 présente les poids à la naissance et au sevrage et leur écart-types. Ces résultats montrent que les portées simples ont un poids légèrement supérieur aux doubles portées et les mâles vent légèrement plus lourds que les femelles.

Tableau 2

1.1 Gains quotidiens moyens des jeunes

Portées Simples

Portées doubles










Le GQM porte sur 14 semaines

1.2 Les gains quotidiens moyens naissance sevrage (13 semaines)










1.3 Les gains quotidiens moyens post-sevrage (>13 semaines)










Tableau 3. Poids à la naissance et au sevrage



Poids moyen (Kg)


Poids à la naissance















Poids au sevrage








Doubles femelles






2. Les Paramètres de reproduction

Les tableaux 4, 5 et 6 montrent 'es résultats concernant les principaux paramètres de reproduction.

A la lumière de ces résultats partiels, la chèvre locale extériorise de bonnes performances de reproduction malgré les conditions pas toujours favorables d'alimentation et d'environnement.

La répartition des naissances au cours de toute l'année, avec des pointes en novembre, janvier et juin, prouve que la chèvre burundaise n'est pas saisonnée.

Tableau 4. Les principaux parapètres de reproductions

- Poids moyens de la mère à la 1ère Saillie fécondante

20.2 ±6.3 kg

- prolificité (troupeau)


- fécondité


- fertilité


- I.M.B.

215.9 ±30.2 jours


55.9 ±29.2 jours

- taux de jumalité: lère misebas:

30.77 @ 31%

- taux de jumelitè: 2ème mise-bas

60.96 @ 69%

- Poids moyen de la mère à la 1ère mise-bas

25.8 ±3.1 kg

La répartition des naissances au cours de l'année

Tableau 5

Répartition des naissances au cours de l'année

Tableau 6. Le taux de mortalité des jeunes et adultes





Portées simples




Portées doubles





5% (2)



Le taux de mortalité semble plus élevé pour les femelles que pour les mâles 60% des mortalités vent des morts-nés, 18% des accidents, 18% dues aux verminoses et 11% vent dues à des causes non identifiées.

Le taux de mortalité globale de 14.4% peut être considéré comme faible pour la région.


Malgré le caractère très partiels de ces résultats, nous pouvons reconnaitre que la chèvre locale manifeste de bonnes aptitudes de croissance et de reproduction eu égard aux conditions d'alimentation et d'environnement.

Une amélioration de ces conditions et une sélection rigoureuse pourront la rendre compétitive avec les autres races améliorées.

Références Bibliographiques

1. RICORDEAU, G. BOUILLON, J. SANCHEZ, F. MOCQUOT, I.C. LAJOUS, A (1979). Amélioration génétique des caprins: Facteur favorisant ou limitant le progrès génétique. 5ème Journée de la Recherche Ovine et caprine p. 403-416.

2. CREPIN, I.(1906). La chèvre: sans histoire, son élevage pratique, ses bienfaits ses services. Paris 1906.

3. DEVENDRA, C. (1962). Upgrading of local goat by the Anglo-Nubian at the Federal Experimental Station, Serdang, Malaysia. Agric. I., 43, 265-280.

4. DEVENDRA, C. and BURNS, M.(1970). Goat production in the Tropics. Tech. Commun, N° 19, Commonw. Burl Anim. Feed. Genet., Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau. Farnham Royal, U.K.

5. DEVENDRA, C. and RANKINE, L.B. (1971). The present status and future for goat production in Trinidad and Tobago. J. agric. Soc. bin., 17, 455-483.

6. FRENCH, M.H. (1970). Observations sur la chèvre. Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'Amélioration et l'Agriculture, FAO, Rome 1970.

7. SACKER, G.O. and TRIAL, J.C.M. (1966). Production characteristics of a herd of East African Mubende goats. Trop. Agric. Trin. 43, 43-51.

8. VOHRADSKY, F. and SADA, I. (1973). West African Dwarf goats in Ghana I. Reproductive and death rate of kids. Institut Tropickehs a Subtropickeho Zemedeltvi. 6, 161-172.

Fig. 1 Evolution du gain quotidien moyen: naissance simples en gr/j

Fig. 2 Evolution du gain quotidien G.Q.M.: naissance doubles en gr/j

Fig. 3 Evolution du poids vif: de la naissance en sevrage

Fig. 4 Evolution du poids vif: Post-sevrage

Fig. 5 Evolution du gain quotidien moyen des adults: G.Q.M.

Fig. 6 Evolution du poids vif moyen des adults en Kg

A review of goat production in Uganda

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Makerere University, P O Box 7062,


In Uganda with a human population of 13 million and a goat population of 3.2 million, the ratio of human to goat is 4:1. This is an economically significant ratio whereby goats could play a major role in the provision of animal proteins. However, the methods of rearing goats are unimproved and may not allow full utilization of the performance potentials of the goats. This paper examines the methods of goat husbandry and the role of goats in the socio-economic activities of the people of Uganda especially in the rural areas. It also reviews the scientific work carried out on Uganda goats. The paper finally proposes development strategies for increasing meat and milk production, improved management and exploitation of the goat genetic resources.


L'Ouganda compte une population de 13 millions d'habitants et abrite 3,2 millions de caprins, soit un rapport hommes/caprins économiquement significatif de 4 pour 1. Les caprins pourraient cependant contribuer substantiellement à la production de protéines animales. Toutefois, les méthodes d'élevage adoptées dans le pays sont assez primitives et ne peuvent favoriser la pleine mise à contribution des performances potentielles de cette espèce animale. La présente communication passe en revue les pratiques d'élevage et le rôle socio-économique des caprins dans l'existence des populations ougandaises et surtout des collectivité rurales. On y passe également en revue les résultats des travaux scientifiques effectués en Ouganda sur le caprin. Dans la dernière partie, on propose des stratégies de développement en vue de l'accroissement de la production de viande et de lait de caprin grâce a une amélioration des pratiques de gestion et à l'exploitation de nouvelles ressources génétiques.


One of the current crucial problems in the developing countries is malnutrition. The majority of people in these countries do not eat enough animal proteins which are necessary particularly for pregnant mothers and growing children. The problem has been worsened by the rapidly increasing population and emphasis on cash crops production. Although formerly neglected, it is now believed that goats can play a major role in bridging the protein gap deficiency in these countries (Devendra, 1981).

Distribution of goats

The goat population in Uganda is found throughout the country and its regional distribution in 1981 is shown in table 1.

Breeds of goats

There are about 3.2 million goats in Uganda and almost all of them are the indigenous types reared in the villages. Mason and Maule (1960) described three breeds of indigenous goats in Uganda. These are (a) The Small East African goats with adults weighing up to 25 kg. Wilson (1957) describes these goats as East African Dwarf goats. Sexual maturity is normally reached before four months when the goats weigh only 14-16 kg. These goats are mainly kept for meat. (b) The Mubende goats found mainly in the District of Mubende but also distributed in higher rainfall areas of north and west of L. Victoria. The goat is compact and medium sized with well fleshed body; udder development is moderate. Adult males weigh up to 48 kg while females weigh 28 kg. It is pure black in colour. (c) Kigezi goat which is found in Kigezi in Western Uganda. The goat is small and is characterised by long hair. The Bakiga people in Kigezi use the hair for clothing.

Large herds of goats are generally rare. A few years ego, some dairy breeds (Toggenburg and the Nubians) were imported into the country for the purpose of upgrading the indigenous breed in order to improve milk production. These exotic goats are about 160 and are now distributed in three government farms and one private one.

The number of goats kept in a homestead usually varies from 5 to 10 but large herds may consist of up to 30 goats.

Tethered goats are taken daily to grazing areas near the homestead and are usually moved from one grazing site to another to allow the goats access to ungrazed land. In the evening the goats are returned to their shelters around the huts. This type of management prevents the goats from wandering into the fields where they could eat crops. Large untethered herds are usually driven to grazing areas far away from home and cultivated areas and returned to a night assembly yard in the evening. Supplementary feeds and water are usually not offered to the goats. However, very occassionally sweet potato and banane peelings are offered especially to the animals which are tethered.















7, 746

















Kotido and Moroto

















































Source: Department of Veterinary Services Uganda

Management Systems

Houses or single shelters are usually provided for the goats. Some goats are tethered under the verandah of residential huts in the evenings. However, large goat herds may not be provided with shelter but an enclosure to prevent them from wandering at night. The reason for provision of shelter is not necessarily betterment of the welfare of goats, but minimising loss of these animals through thefts or attacks by wild animals such as wolves, hyenas and lions. The goats which are provided with shelter are usually tethered although during dry season they may be let loose.

Reproductive performance

The reproductive performance of the indigenous Mubende goats has been studied by Sacker and Trail, (1966). It was found that age at first kidding was 18.9 months and the kidding interval was 9.9 months. Fertility and prolificacy were 68.3% single births, 30% twins and 1.7% triplet births while the average number of kid crop per female was 6 over a period of 5.6 years. Mean weight of male single kid was 2.1 ±0.05 kg at birth, 7.4 ±0.18 kg at 2 months, 11.9 ±0.27 kg weaning and 20.3 ±0.4 kg at one year old. They found that the mean daily gain of individual twin was significantly longer than that of single kids. Overall mortality rate to weaning were 18.8% for singles from second and subsequent kidding dam, 45.3% for single from first kidding dam and 36.1% for twins from second and subsequent dam. Mason and Maule, (1960) described the kidding percentage of 150 with interval of 300 days for Mubende goats. Wilson, (1957) working with East African Dwarf goats in eastern Uganda found that the gestation period was 146.5 days and the mean number of services per kid was 2.3.

Role of goats in traditional village life

Goats play important roles in the traditional village life in Uganda. The most important role is the provision of meat. The majority of people in Uganda think that goat's meat is more palatable and is preferred to beef. It is also easy to store. This confirms what Kagoda (1969) stated about goat's meat being preferred, even though it is high priced. It is a very favourable dish in special ceremonies like funeral rites and on occasion like Christmas. Goats can be slaughtered also in honour of special guests or at wedding feasts. In Bugishu, goats are slaughtered during tribal ritual of circumcision. Among the Acholis, goats are often slaughtered as a sacrifice following indecent behaviour; for example commitment of sexual offence between relatives. Quite often goat's meat is roasted along roadside and sold to passers-by or sold at drinking places. In most cases, however, a peasant farmer would not slaughter his goats in order to supplement family diet. This is possibly because the average number of goats in a homestead varies only between 5-10 and it is believed wasteful just for only family consumption.

Goats, also play other roles in the socio-economic and cultural lives of the Ugandan peasants. For example, the goats can be given as part of the dowry in marriage or presented as gifts to important person or at fund raising functions. They can also be offered to the gods during religious ceremonies. Furthermore, during a period of economic stress goats can easily be sold to raise money for the peasant farmer either to pay school fees for his children or to pay graduate poll tax. Uganda is now also exporting goats on a small scale.

A few clans in Uganda believe that the soup obtained from boiling goat's viscera cures measles. The forestomach and intestines are occasionally dried and their pieces are cooked with vegetables to give flavour to the food. Customary taboos which forbid certain people from eating goat meat are now being abandoned. Most women now eat goat meat unlike the past. However, in certain communities (e.g. in Bukedi) leppers are forbidden from eating goat meat because it is believed that the meat promoted the seriousness of the disease.

The amount of goat milk consumed by human beings in Uganda is negligible. In Kigezi in Western Uganda it was considered obscene to drink goat's milk. However, in Bugishu in Eastern Uganda goat's milk is drunk by people of all ages. Among the Iteso and Karamojong tribesmen in Eastern Uganda some people believe that goat's milk has medicinal value in curing epilepsy. The general lack of interest in goat's milk in Uganda is possibly due to the fact that the Uganda indigenous goats produce so little milk that it can not stimulate enough desire for its consumption. For example, individual Mubende goats gave only 2 1/4 kg per day of milk (Mason and Maule, 1960). Secondly the milk is associated with the smell of the he-goats which is offensive. However, if proper dairy breeds of goats are introduced in Uganda, most people may change their attitude towards goat's milk.

Goat skin, hair and horns are also utilised markedly in the traditional lives of Ugandans. The skins are used as mats for both sitting and sleeping on and for making bags, drums, traditional dresses and handles for pangas. Hans-Joachim de Hass et al (1979) observed that better quality skins are often found among the shorthaired goats than among the long-haired. For example, the Mubende goats give a higher proportion of qualitatively better skins than do the long-haired-Kigezi goats. The Karamojong use goat's skin for carrying their babies. The long grey hair of Kigezi goats is used by the Bakiga people in Kigezi for clothing (Mason, and Maule, 1960). The horns are used among the Acholi and Langi tribesmen as 'flute' ("Bila") for communicating messages during hunting, at traditional dances or at funeral rites. The Karamejong use the horns also for storing tobacco.

Goats, however, have some habits which are undesirable. Most people in Uganda think that the goat can be a nuisance if it is not properly managed. They can stray into cultivated fields and destroy crops. This often causes the goat owner to pay compensation if a neighbour's crops are destroyed. Untethered goats wandering in the homestead can eat items like soap and clothes. However, with proper control the problems can be avoided. Goats and their dropping may also litter the compound making it untidy. The smell of the billy goat is unpleasant and is especially detested by the women, and during mating seasons, the billy goats make terrible resentful noise. Some people among certain tribes believe that children who sleep on goat skins can contract ringworm.

Discussion and Conclusion

With human population of 13 million and goat population of 3.2 million the ratio of human to goat in Uganda is 4:1. This is an economically significant ratio, and the goat can contribute markedly towards provision of animal protein in Uganda. However, the methods of rearing are unimproved and may not allow full utilisation of the performance potentials of the goats.

The most important role of goats in Uganda is provision of meat, and this implies that the production capacity of goat must be evaluated in terms of fertility and prolificacy, kidding interval, growth rate and early sexual maturity. However, from the work clone by Sacker and Trail (1966) it appears that the indigenous Uganda goats have low production. For example age at first kidding was found to be 18.9 months compared to 9.7 months in the Sudan (Wilson, 1976). It is probable however, that the Uganda goats have the potential for improved production.

There are several factors which could contribute towards improvement of production of goats in Uganda. One factor is selective breeding. This requires proper monitoring of the performances of goats and then selecting the best animals whose performances are above average in terms of fertility and prolificacy, growth rate and live weight for breeding. Another way for improvement would be the introduction of goats with superior genetic potential for cross-breeding with the indigenous animals. This would particularly be relevant with the dairy breeds of goats. A few of such animals are already in the country and it would be of immense interest if the performances of their cross-breeding are monitored.

Adoption of modem husbandry methods would probably promote goat production in Uganda. At the moment little attention is paid to the goats so that they are left to survive on what nature can provide for them. Following selection of a good breeding stock, the subsequent goat herd could be ran as a unit and communual grazing should preferably be avoided. Goats reared for meat grow to a maximum weight within an average age range beyond which they become uneconomical to keep. Animals at such a stage should be culled and utilised for meat and replaced by young ones. Breeding stock should also be replaced when necessary. There should therefore be a continous flow of animals within the system with a shift towards increasing the overall number of animals in the unit within the accommodation capacity. Attempts should be made to improve pastures and supplementary feed and water should be provided to the goats. Disease control measures and proper veterinary care should be observed, although not much is known about disease of goats in Uganda.

Although goats already contribute so much to the socio-economic wellbeing of the people of Uganda, it is important that the people should be properly educated to get rid of the social belief that goats should mainly be slaughtered at funeral rites, in honour of special guests or at sacrifices. Since the goat seems to be the ideal animal for the peasant farmer, it is important that the goats should play a direct role in supplementing family diet for the provision of protein. This requires a change of attitude of the peasant farmer about the traditional roles of the goat in his society. Another area which needs education is the adoption of modem husbandry of the goats by the peasants. This should involve fencing the land and possibly planting suitable pastures for utilisation by the goats.

The trend in expert thoughts on Animal Production in developing countries is now towards possible utilisation of smaller animals for meat. Goats and rabbits are thought to be more ideal than cattle for the peasant farmers. However, research work needs to be carried out to identify the areas which could be exploited for better yield. The production potential of the indigenous goats should be assessed. Supplementary feeds (legume, potato/banana peels, concentrates etc.) and improved housing conditions could be used to determine their influences on production by these goats. Vigorous research should also be pursued on diseases which could be limiting goat production in the developing countries. Research in both of these fields have not been extensively carried out in Uganda.


The author is grateful to the Commissioner of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry in Uganda for providing the goat census figures 1981.


1. DEVENDRA, C. (1981). Meat production from goats in developing countries. Intensive Animal Production in Developing Countries. Occasional Publication No. 4 - British Soc. Anim. Prod. Edition A.J. SMITH and R.G. GUNN, p. 395-406.

2. Hans-Joachim de HASS and Peter HORST, (1979). The significance of Goat Production of covering Protein requirements. Animal Research and Development, 9,: 41-76.

3. KAGODA, J.H. (1969). The role of the livestock - beef, pigs, sheep and goat production. Ann. Conf. Dept. of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (Uganda) Government Printer, Entebbe.

4. MASON, I.L. and MAULE, J.P. (1960). The indigenous livestock of Eastern and Southern Africa. Techn. Commun. No 14, Common. Bur. Anim. Breed. Geneti., Farnham Foyal, Bucks, Commonwealth Agric. Bureaux xv + 151 p.

5. SACKER, G.D. and TRAIL, J. (1966). Production characteristics of a herd of East African Mubende goats. Tropical Agric. 43, p 43-51.

6. WILSON, P.N. (1957) Studies of the browsing and reproductive behaviour of the East African Dward goat. East Afr. Agric. 23, p. 138-147.

7. WILSON, R.T. (1967). Studies on the livestock of Southern Dasper Sudan. IV. Production traits in goats. Trop. Anim. Hlth. Prod., 4: 221-232.

Réflexions sur l'élevage des petits ruminants en République Populaire Révolutionnaire de Guinée

par M Saliou Cherif DIALLO
Section Pâturages, Ministère de l'Elevage et de la Pêche
CONAKRY, Rep. Pop. Rev. de Guinée


Les petits ruminants (ovin et caprins) dont on s'est le moins occupe jusqu'ici pourraient contribuer à améliorer sensiblement notre production nationale de viande.

Les paysan guinéen accorde malheureusement la priorité aux seuls bovins. Et parallèlement à ceux-là, nos moutons et chèvres essentiellement de race diallonké sont aptes à supporter la sécheresse, à tolérer les maladies et peuvent de surcroît se contenter d'un fourrage grossier pour leur alimentation.
L'élevage est purement extensif et est tenu exclusivement par des éleveurs traditionnels villageois.

Compte tenu de leur importance économique et social et du défi de l'explosion démographique, il est urgent de prêter assistance aux éleveurs et de lancer des programmes de développement intensif de l'élevage des petits ruminants afin de pouvoir augmenter la production de viande et élever implicitement le niveau de la consommation nationale et le revenu des éleveurs.


The small ruminants (sheep and goat), which we have so far given least attention, could contribute considerably to our national meat production.

The guinean farmers, however, unfortunately gives priority only to cattle. Parallel to this, our sheep and goat, essentially of diallonké race, are adapted to support draught, resistant to diseases and can in addition live on poor quality fodder.

The keeping of livestock is purely extensive and clone exclusively by traditional village-breeders.

Taking into account their economical and social importance and the challenge of the population explosion, there is an urgent need to give assistance to breeders and to stars programmes of intensive breeding of small ruminants with the aim to increase the meat production and raise the national consumption and the salary of the breeders.


Présentation de la Guinée: Avec une superficie de 245.857 Km2, la Guinée compte 6.000.000 d'habitants dont les 80 à 85% sont occupes à des activités agricoles. Le pays est divise en quatre régions naturelles qui diffèrent les unes des autres aussi bien sur le plan du relief que du climat, du sol et de la végétation

Ce sont:

1) La Moyenne Guinée: région de plateaux et de massifs montagneux disséqués par des valides, elle est caractérisée par des sols-pauvres. La pluviométrie varie de 1200 à 1700 mm par an. C'est la plus grande région d'élevage.

2) La Haute Guinée: caractérisée par une végétation de savane arborée et de plateaux de faible altitude (400 m). La pluviométrie est de l'ordre de 1300 à 1800 mm par an.

3) La Basse Guinée: région de plaines côtières avec à l'arrière-pays des savanes arbustives sur sol ferralitique. La pluviométrie est de 2600 à 4000 mm/an.

4) La Guinée Forestière: est une zone montagneuse couverte d'une forêt dense humide et d'une zone préforestière à savane. Là la pluviométrie varie de 1700 à 3000 mm par an.

(Carte à l'appui: climat et végétation sur le transparent).


L'élevage constitue un important secteur de l'économie agricole de la Guinée. Nous comptons 160.000 à 200.000 familles d'éleveurs. Ce sont des paysans qui cultivent la terre et élèvent des bovins, des ovins, des caprins, des porcins et de la volaille.

L'importance régionale des ovins et caprins en rapport avec la populations nationale et la superficie du territoire est donnée dans le tableau suivant:

Tableau 1: Répartition des ovins et caprins par région naturelle

Régions Naturelles

% Population totale



% de la superficie du territoire


% du cheptel national


% du cheptel national

Moyenne Guinée







Haute Guinde







Basse Guinée







Guinée Forestière














Source: Le Bétail Trypanotolérant d'Afrique Occ. et Central T. 2/Sit. Nles/CIPEA/79.

La répartition géographique des petits ruminant suit presque celle des bovins.

Les modes d'élevage sont purement extensifs et orientés essentiellement vers la production de viande.


Les ovins et caprins de Guinée sont exclusivement de race diallonké. Ce sont des animaux généralement nains, à poils courts qui sont très rustiques et tolérant la trypanosomiase. Ils ont une aptitude à supporter la sècheresse et à se contenter de peu d'aliments surtout en Saison Sèche, à s'adapter enfin à des conditions climatiques souvent très rigoureuses.

Le mouton de Haute Guinée a tendance à être plus grand que celui du reste du pays.

Tableau 2: Paramètres zootechniques de petits ruminants guinéens:




Taux d'exploitation

5 à 6 %

5 à 6 %

Age moyen 1ère parturition

18 à 19 mois

15 à 18 mois

Intervalle entre mises bas

240 à 270 jours

210 à 250 jours

Poids moyen à l'abattage

25 à 30 kg

20 à 30 kg

Rendement moyen/carcasse

40 à 50 %

45 à 53 %

Poids moyen à la naissance

2 à 3 kg

1,5 à 2,5 kg

Durée de la gestation

150 jours

145 à 150 jours

Taux de mortalité

15 à 17 %

14 à 15 %

Poids moyen au sèvrage

11 à 13 kg

11 à 13 kg

Source: Le Bétail Trypanotolérant d'Afrique Occ. et Central Situations nationales.

Ce sont des animaux qui, mis dans des conditions d'alimentation, sanitaires et de gestion bonnes peuvent être très performants.

Les naissances doubles sont fréquentes: on remarque aussi des triplés et à de rares cas de quadruplés. Il y a lieu toutefois de constater que les naissances simples ont une plus grande longévité eu égard au poids à la naissance.


1 - Alimentation et Gestion: Les petits ruminants sont élevés dans des conditions villageoises traditionnelles. Ils ne sont pas conduits systématiquement aux pâturages. Ils sont attachés à des piquets ou laissés en errement libre afin de brouter c, l'herbe et de se nourrir le long des routes, près des agglomérations, dans les jardins ou les terres non cultivées. En plus de la pâture et du brous, une grande proportion de leur ration se compose de déchets ménagers: les épluchures d'oranges fraîches ou séchées, de patate, d'igname, les sons de mais, les feuilles de bananiers ou d'arbustes fourragers. Certains paysans donnent généralement des grains de maïs aux ovins qu'ils destinent à l'engraissement. On ne trait que les chèvres.

Les chèvres et les moutons se complètent dans l'exploitation des pâturages: les premières préfèrent les terrains boisés et les seconds les espaces verts et les herbes courtes. Les paysans considèrent à tort ou à raison les petits ruminants comme des agents de désertification.

2 - Santé Animale: Très peu de soins sont donnés aux petits ruminants. Ils sont pourtant généralement attaqués par la peste, la gale, les parasites internes (gastro-intestinaux) et beaucoup d'autres maladies.

Il existe un Laboratoire Vétérinaire à Kindia qui produit des vaccins et qui a contribué sensiblement à l'amélioration de la situation sanitaire du bétail en livrant du vaccin aux services de l'élevage qui interviennent au besoin. Ce laboratoire a entamé récemment aussi des recherches sur la brucellose.


Le taux d'exploitation des petits ruminants est faible. La vente des moutons et chèvres est déterminée par des besoins de liquidité quand le paysan a besoin d'argent pour faire face à une dépense importante ou à l'occasion des festivités religieuses, des cérémonies (baptêmes, mariages, décès). Cela n'a nullement trait à une stratégie délibérée visant à augmenter la production. Les animaux castrés et engraissés font l'objet d'un marché relativement important. La viande de chèvre est la plus appréciée, celle du mouton étant trop grasse.


Dans notre plan quinquennal de développement économique et social (1981-1985) figure parmi les priorités un projet d'élevage des petits ruminants. Mais en raison du manque d'études et de renseignements suffisants sur le système de production animale des ovins et caprins, ce projet n'a pas encore pu démarrer.


Les principales difficultés et contraintes liées au développement des petits ruminants dans notre pays se résument en ces points:

- Concurrence de la boviculture et de l'aviculture
- Méconnaissance du potentiel des animaux
- Manque d'alimentation suffisante
- Incidence des maladies et leur interaction avec le problème alimentaire
- Manque de motivation du paysan-éleveur
- Manque de crédits suffisants pour le financement des programmes etc.


La R.P.R. de Guinée est un pays qui se prête particulièrement bien à l'accroissement de la production animale. Mais cet avantage potentiel ne pourra être concrétisé que si des études des aptitudes et du potentiel de production et de reproduction son faites pour pouvoir établir un système d'amélioration approprie pour la production. Les paramètres des animaux sont améliorables.

En somme il apparaît que les principales contraintes au développement de l'élevage des petits ruminants ne sont liées qu'au mode de gestion et de conduite du troupeau, aux conditions sanitaires et aux problèmes alimentaires.

Quoique modeste, nous avons le sentiment que ce rapport donnera aux participants une idée plus ou moins indicative sur l'élevage des petits ruminants et les principaux problèmes auxquels nos programmes de développement sont confrontés à cet effet en Guinée.

Recherches sur le mouton au Rwanda

Département Production Animale
Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Rwanda
République Rwandaise


Le Rwanda est un pays surpeuplé où le bovin trouve de plus en plus difficilement de la place Or comme l'agriculture ne peut se passer de l'élevage, le petit exploitant se tourne du côté des petite ruminants, en l occurrence le mouton

C'est pourquoi une recherche dans ce domaine a été programmée Après avoir déterminé les principaux paramètres zootechniques du mouton de la région qui ont révélé un potentiel de la race non négligeable, un travail de sélection est envisagé pour dégager des animaux élites

Comme parmi les contraintes qui pèsent sur le développement de la production animale, la nutrition joue un rôle important, des essais sur l'utilisation des cultures fourragères et/ou sous-produits agro-industriels vent entrepris


Rwanda is an overpolulated country in which there is less and less room for cattle Because agriculture cannot flourish without livestock, the small farmer is increasingly turning to small ruminants, namely sheep

Consequently, research in this field has been planned Now that the main animal production parameters of the sheep in this region have been determined, revealing a by no means insignificant potential, selection is planned in order to build up breeding stock

Nutrition is important among the constraints to the development of animal production, and as a result trails on the use of forage crops and agro-industrial byproducts have been undertaken


Actuellement estimée à cinq millions d'habitants, le RWANDA connait une densité des plus élevées d'Afrique 150 habitants au Km2 avec une augmentation chiffrée à 4 % par an. De plus, cette population est à 9O % rurale La campagne du pays est caractérisée par l'extrême dispersion de ['habitat (pas de village) et par le morcellement à outrance des parcelles, L'unité de base de production actuelle est constituée par de petites exploitations familiales dont l'étendue ne dépasse guère 1 ha

Dans ce contexte, le système agricole le plus important qu'en puisse envisager est la petite exploitation mixte dans laquelle le bétail doit fournir du fumier, du lait et de la viande. Or avec ce système, le bovin se trouve limité essentiellement par l'insuffisance du pâturage naturel, l'approvisionnement en fourrage

C'est pourquoi l'élevage des petite ruminants en l'occurrence celui du mouton, commence à attirer l'attention des responsables politiques qui ont demandé à l'ISAR (Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du RWANDA) en 1975 de l'insérer dans son programme de recherche zootechnique

Recherches entreprises

I) Zootechnie

Sur base d'un troupeau maintenu en station, la première phase des recherches a consisté à la détermination de la valeur zootechnique de la race du pays C'est un type de mouton à poil tantôt court et raide, tantôt long et frisé élevé essentiellement pour la viande Quelques mensurations effectuées sur 48 brebis adultes de 31,5 Kg en moyenne sont données par le tableau 1 Le poids moyen des mâles est de 46 Kg C'est un animal assez haut sur patte, peu éclaté, et présente un développement musculaire faible des membres postérieurs

Tableau 1: Mensurations des brebis

Longueur du corps

83,08 ±6,00 cm

Périmètre thoracique

72,17 ±3,68 cm

Hauteur au garret

62,88 ±3,31 cm

Largeur aux hanches

16,89 ±4,68 cm

Largeur de poitrine

16,72 ±2,28 cm

Profondeur de poitrine

24,28 ±1,82 cm

Largeur pointes des fesses

10,72 ±1,93 cm

Les paramètres étudiées se rapportent principalement â un ensemble de données recueillies par NGENDAHAYO (1980, 1982) à partir des observations sur le troupeau de l'Institut (ISAR).

Paramètres de reproduction

a) - Age au premier agnelage

En milieu rural ou le mâle reste en permanence avec le troupeau, l'âge au premier accouplement fertile est évalué à 11-12 mois. Ce qui impliquerait une première mise bas à moins de 18 mois.

Au sein du troupeau étudié, 109 brebis dont les dates de naissance étaient connues ont agnelé pour la première fois à l'âge moyen de 21,5 mois avec des extrêmes de 9,5 et 34 mois. Il est à signaler qu'un bon nombre des mises en lutte a été groupé, ce qui a faussé en quelque sorte la précocité de la race.

b) - Intervalle entre agnelages

Sur ce paramètre, une brebis est saillie à nouveau, en monte libre, 1 à 5 mois après la mise-bas. On a donc 2 mises bas par an ou presque. Il est à noter que le système d'élevage adopté au sein du troupeau (mises en lutte groupées), n'a pas permis la récolte de données suffisantes sur cette question. De toutes les façons, la race est totalement désaisonnée, met bas tout au long de l'année.

c) - Prolificité

Paramètre défini par le nombre d'agneaux nés pour 100 mises bas, il est de 155 pour la race. D'une manière un peu plus détaillée, ce taux est de 117 pour les primipares (n = 145), 140 en 2ème agnelage (n = 110), 145 pour les mises bas suivantes (n = 133). Les cas de triplets sont rares.

Poids et croissance

Les poids à la naissance et à certains âges ont été obtenus à partir des données recueillies sur le troupeau de station pendant 5 ans. On trouvera le détail au tableau 2.

Tableau 2: Evolution des poids (Kg)


Type de naissance

Poids à la naissance

Poids à 3 mois

Poids à 6 mois

Poids à 9 mois

Poids à 12 mois



2,83 (n = 138)

13,76 (n = 138)

17,30 (n = 104)

20,64(n = 77)

23,09 (n = 58)


2,28 (n = 127)

10,74 (n = 85)

14,28 (n = 85)

18,02 (n = 76)

21,24 (n = 67)


2,76 (n = 101)

12,87 (n = 101)

16,45 (n = 94)

19,59 (n = 94)

22,51 (n = 94)


2,16 (n = 111)

9,93 (n = 111)

13,27 (n = 77)

16,38 (n = 77)

19,24 (n = 77)

La valeur du poids de naissance a été en moyenne (n = 515) de 2,51 Kg ±0,56 Kg. Une différence significative (P = 0,05) a été enregistrée entre les sexes, la taille de la portée, le rang de la naissance (tableau 3)

Tableau 3: Influence du n° de mise bas, du sexe et du type de naissance sur le poids à la naissance.












1° mise bas


2,66 ±0,53


2,50 ±0,55


2,11 ±0,40


1,91 ±0,37

2° mise bas


2,90 ±0,41


2,80 ±0,44


2,20 ±0,43


2,17 ±0,37

3° mise bas et plus


3,09 ±0,45


3,03 ±0,43


2,34 ±0,51


2,30 ±0,39

Production de lait

Les données sur la production laitière ont été rassemblées à la suite d'un essai de contrôle sur 12 brebis primipares. Cette production a été déterminée par pesée des agneaux avant et après au rythme de 2 heures d'intervalle d'allaitement les cinq premières semaines de lactation, de 3 heures les sept semaines suivantes. La figure 1 montre l'allure de la courbe moyenne de lactation, les poids des brebis et le gain de poids des agneaux. La production totale de lait est de l'ordre/516 g par jour sur une période de 5 mois.

Fig. 1. Poids des brebis, production laitière et gain de poids des agneaux

II) Alimentation

Parmi les facteurs influents sur la production du mouton, l'amélioration des régimes alimentaires est un des points les plus importants afin de réduire la mortalité et d'augmenger la fertilité des femelles.

Le système actuellement étudié, mais avec des moyens très immodestes, est l'élevage et embouche intensive en stabulation à partir de fourrages et/ou de sous-produits agroindustriels. Il est le seul envisageable pour l'instant, étant donné la démographie, la dispersion de l'habitat, qui ont contribué à la mise en culture des pâturages naturels et à la disparution des jachères.

Sur ce, certaines plantes fourragères ont été soumises à des essais d'alimentation, notamment:

1° Setaria splendide stapf:

C 'est une graminée qui se cultive aisément en pure, ruais essentiellement utilisée sur les lignes de lutte anti-érosive dans le pays. Une étude abordant les possibilités de son utilisation comme fourrage de base a été menée sur 24 mâles castrés sevrés qui ont été répartis en 4 groupes et cela pendant 18 semaines. Un des 4 lots recevait du setaria seul ad libitum. Les 3 autres lots consommaient en plus respectivement 100, 200, 300 g de son de blé par tête et par jour.

Le tableau 4 donne les quantités ingérées tandis que la figure 2 montre 1' incidence de la ration sur la croissance des animaux. Les accroissements journaliers enregistrés sont successivement de 23 g, 29 g, 37 g, 44 g.

Tableau 4: Quantités de matière de setaria ingérées/100 Kg vir/j. (Kg).

Lot I

Lot II


Lot IV











Figure 2: Evolution pondérale moyenne

2° Pennisetum purpureum schum.

L'objectif de l'étude consistait à la mise en évidence de l'influence de l'apport de concentre sur l'ingestibilité et l'efficacité alimentaire du Pennisetum chez le mouton en croissance. Pour ce test, 4 niveaux (60 g, 120 g, 180 g, 240 g de concentré par tête par jour) ont été utilisés pendant 20 semaines sur 24 femelles sevrées

La quantité de matière fraîche et de matière sèche (tableau 5) du fourrage ingérée n'a pas changé significativement (P = 0,05) avec le niveau de supplémentation. Il en a été de même pour ce qui concerne la matière sèche totale. Cependant il est apparu que le mouton local est capable d'ingérer des quantités considérables de matière sèche de l'herbe à éléphant.

niveau 60 g

niveau 120 g

niveau 180

niveau 240

MF: Pennisetum

28,89 ±5,73

15,61 ±4,49

25,83 ±4,63

24,73 ±4,39

MS: Pennisetum

6,08 ±2,58

5,36 ±2,32

5,45 ±2,32

5,26 ±2,14

MS total Pennisetum et concent.

6,44 ±2,55

6,00 ±2,05

6,44 ±2,25

6,44 ±2,13

L'évolution pondérale (figure 3) n'a pas suivi d'une façon marquée le sens de la supplémentation bien que l'apport de 60 g seulement de concentré ait entraîné une crise de sevrage plus sévère au cours des premières semaines. Le gain de poids quotidien s'est chiffré respectivement à 31,9 g, 43,1 g, 36,2. g, 38,1 g

Figure 3. Evolution du poids des animaux

3° Pennisetum purpureum et Trifsacum laxum Nash.

Tenant compte du fait de les concentrés et les sous-produits des industries agricoles ne se trouvent pas en quantité suffisante pour être facilement accessibles au petit exploitant, on a envisagé les possibilités de substitution par des légumineuses fourragères, par exemple le desmodium intortum.

Trente-six mâles castrés ont été utilisés pendant 13 se aines dans l'idée de tester l'incidence du desmodium (2 Kg tête/jour) comme supplément au Pennisetum et Tripsacum,. en comparaison avec le concentré.

Actuellement, les résultais sur les quantités de matières consommées et les calculs statistiques ne sont pas encore disponibles, mais les gains moyens atteints sont les suivants:

· Pennisetum distribué seul: 21,1 g/j.
· Pennisetum + concentré (120 g/j/tête): 41,3 g/j.
· Pennisetum + Desmodium (2 Kg/j/tête): 39,0 g/j.
· Tripascum laxum distribué seul: 33,2 g/j.
· Tripascum + concentré (120 g/j/tête): 40,5 g/j.
· Tripascum + Desmodium (2 Kg/tête/j): 61,0 g/j.

4° Fourrages ligneux

Comme nos animaux, subissent un stress nutritionnel pendant la saison sèche (juillet-août-septembre), on a pense à l'usage des feuilles d'arbres et arbustes comme aliments complémentaires possibles dans le pays. C'est pourquoi une étude sur l'utilisation du Ficus... et Leucaena sp. est actuellement en cours dans le but d'améliorer la qualité de la ration à base de foin.


Alors que le facteur limitant pour le bovin est la disponibilité des terres, chaque exploitation aussi petite soit-elle dispose d'assez de superficie pour tenir une brebis d'autant plus que le mouton s'élève parfaitement en stabulation.

Pour que ce système, intensif en quelque sorte, soit rentable et paye la main d'oeuvre nécessaire aux cultures fourragères, il faut un bon mouton, l'élite de la race locale. Or le mouton rwandais possède de bons atouts zootechniques, est en bon équilibre avec son milieu et ne demande qu'à être travaillé pour atteindre un niveau de production satisfaisant.

C'est de la combinaison du potentiel de production, de l'amélioration des soins vétérinaires (verminoses principalement) et celle des régimes alimentaires que dépendra le développement de l 'élevage ovin.

Références bibliographiques

FURNEMONT A. (1977): Guide pratique pour l'élevage du mouton.

Note technique de vulgarisation N° 4 ISAR

NGENDAHAYO M, (1980): Le mouton local: I - Quelques caractéristiques zootechniques.

Note technique n° 6 ISAR.

NGENDAHAYO M (1981): Setaria splendide stapf dans l'alimentation du mouton local en croissance:possibilités et limites.

Note technique n° 7 ISAR.

NGENDAHAYO M. (1982): Le mouton local: II Estimation de la production laitière et évolution de la quantité d'aliment ingérée pendant la phase d'allaitement.

Note technique N° 2 ISAR.

NGENDAHAYO M. (1983) Pennisetum purpureum schum: influence de l'apport de concentré sur son ingestibilité et son efficacité alimentaire chez le mouton loca en croissance.


Chairman's report

Session on Productivity - R.T. WILSON

Productivity was the first session and in addition to the introductory paper there were four papers, one each from Burundi, Uganda, Guinea and Rwanda. A fifth paper expected from Rwanda was not presented.

The introductory paper was principally concerned with the types of African goats and sheep and dealt with their production aptitudes - meat, milk, wool, skin - and gave some figures for these. The data presented related almost entirely to production under traditional systems of management.

The Burundi and Rwanda presentation dealt with productivity of local herds, respectively goats and sheep, under station or station type conditions while the Guinea and Uganda papers gave general reviews of small ruminant production, including their socio-economic importance in the two countries.

It was generally agreed that not only had the possibilities of small ruminants been neglected in the past but that where research had been clone on them this had sometimes been inappropriate. For example research on station "under mosquito nets" had generally failed to establish the real genetic potential of indigenous breeds, this being due in part at least to poor foundation stock being bought from traditional owners being only too willing to rid themselves of their worst animals.

There have now been more wide scale studies carried out over a large number of animals in traditional systems and this kind of study should be given greater consideration outside ILCA where its main support base lies at the moment.

Methods of calculating productivity were presented and discussed. These can be used for comparing within or between species and taking into account various environmental or genetic influences. The indices presented are applicable over a wide range of data - for example the indices could be calculated for both the Burundi and Rwanda data as they were given. However, they are still imperfect. For example they might better be calculated on carcass rather than liveweight data: this would have the immediate effect of improving the indices of goats at the expense of sheep. Production other than meat or meat potential should also be included if possible. Less tangible production social, cultural, value in traditional medicine - is extremely important but probably impossible to quantify. Other indices of production - birth weight for example - might also be used either as additions to or instead of the ones given in the main paper. There is, however, a clearly perceived need to standardize terminology and calculation methods, particularly in respect to the reproductive aspects of reproduction but it needs to be noted that classic methods of expressing these parameters pose some problems for traditional systems.

There was a wide range of opinion from never to almost always over the suitability or desirability of introducing "exotic" breeds. Exotic in this sense was mainly taken to imply breeds of European origin. The consensus of opinion was that more work needed to be clone on indigenous breeds and that some of those "native" to some African areas might well be of use as "exotic" improvers in other areas. Most attempts to use non-African types even where conditions could be improved by management, veterinary or nutritional interventions had met with only partial success. There are some notable exceptions, for example Kenya ranches, and in more favourable areas (the Ethiopian highlands or the Burundi/Rwanda highlands) where non-African types might have some chance of success. A minority opinion considered that stratification of the small ruminant sector could lead to success in the introduction of exotic breeds.

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