Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


The performance of the Small East African goats and their Saanen crosses in Malawi

S.K. Karua and J. W. Banda

Department of Animal Science, University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture
P.O. Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi


Abstract
Introduction
Material and methods
Results
Discussion and conclusion
References


Abstract

The performance of randomly selected Malawian local goats and their Saanen crosses was compared. The average litter size at kidding was 1.35 and 1.52, respectively. Birth weights, 12-week weights and weaning weights at 17 weeks were respectively 2.2 kg (SE = 0.12 kg), 8.2 kg (SE=0.41 kg) and 10.7 kg (SE = 0.62 kg) for the local goats and 2.31 kg (SE=0.40 kg), 11.4 kg (SE = 1.59 kg) and 19.2 kg (SE = 2.39 kg) for the Saanen crosses (P<0.001). The growth rate up to weaning was 71 g (SE = 4.8 g/day) and 139 g (SE=18.5 g/day) for the local goats and their Saanen crosses respectively (P<0.01). Saanen crosses produced more milk (83 kg, SE 4 kg) during a 12-week period (P<0.001) than the local does (37 kg, SE 5 kg).

The results indicate that crossing Small East African goats with Saanens would improve not only milk production, but also the growth rate of their kids, contributing to improved meat production.

Performances de la petite chèvre d'Afrique de l'Est et des produits de son croisement avec la Saanen au Malawi

Résumé

Les performances de chèvres locales du Malawi choisies au hasard ont été comparées à celles des produits de leur croisement avec la Saanen La taille moyenne des portées de ces deux types génétiques était respectivement de 1,35 et de 1,52; les poids à la naissance et à 12 semaines et le poids au sevrage à 17 semaines étaient de 2, 2 kg ( ± 0,12 kg), 8,2 kg ( ± 0,41 kg) et 10,7 kg ( ± 0,62 kg) respectivement chez les chèvres locales, et de 2,31 kg ( ± 0,40 kg), 11,4 kg ( ± 1,59 kg) et 19,2 kg ( ± 2,39 kg) respectivement chez les croisés Saanen (P<0,001). La croissance jusqu'au sevrage des chèvres locales était de 71 kg ( ± 4,8 g/jour), celle des croisés Saanen de 139 kg ( ± 18,5 g/jour) (P<0,01). Sur une période de 12 semaines, la production laitière des croisées Saanen était supérieure (83 kg ± 4 kg) à celle des chèvres locales (37 kg ± 5 kg) (P<0,001).

Ces résultats montrent que le croisement de la petite chèvre d'Afrique de l'Est avec les Saanen permet d'accroître la production laitière et la croissance des métis et partant, la production de viande.

Introduction

The rural people of Malawi depend on the zebu cow for their milk supply. Malawi has one million cattle. Of the eight million people, 89% live in rural areas. The population of people is increasing at a rate of 3.7% per year, but that of cattle is decreasing (NSO, 1988). With a rural population density of 85 people/km² (NSO, 1988) and per capita land availability of 0.97 ha (Munthali, 1987), the prospects for meeting the rising demand for milk from the zebu alone do not seem
promising.

Some 28% of the rural community keep goats (NSSA, 1981/82). Thus there are considerable opportunities for milk production from goats.

The performance of the Small East African (SEA) goat of Malawi has been extensively investigated (Karua, 1989; Kasowanjete et al, 1987). Results on milk yield indicate that the Malawi goat is a poor yielder (Mwenifumbo and Phoya, 1982; Mchiela, 1989; Banda, 1989; Banda, 1992). Crossbreeding may be a more rapid way of improving their milk yield. The choice of the most efficient breed/genotype requires estimates of the relative performance of the genotypes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the milk production and reproduction performance of local goats and their Saanen crosses. Crossbreeding with Saanen dairy goats was started in 1988. This paper reports the results of the study.

Material and methods

The SEA goat indigenous to Malawi (local) and Saanen x local halfbreds were randomly mated to either local or Saanen bucks. The four kid genotypes produced were pure local, 1/4 Saanen, 1/2 Saanen and 3/4 Saanen and were compared for birth weight. The 1/4 and 3/4 Saanen genotypes were not included in the comparisons for daily weight gains due to their small numbers. The dams were compared for milk yields and litter size.

Both the dams and kids were fed indoors on stargrass (cynodon nlemfriensis) and Napier grass (pannisetum purpureum) for the first month after parturition. Thereafter they were herded on natural pasture with the rest of the flock. Supplementary feeding comprising 30% Leucaena (leucaena leucocephala) was given at 1 kg/goat during milking times. The kids were supplemented with the same concentrates at 1/2 kg per kid/day until weaning. The animals were milked once daily in the morning. Kids were left with their dams during grazing hours but separated in the evening and weaned at 12 weeks of age.

Data collected included: birth weight; sex of kid; weekly body weight gains; litter sizes; dam postpartum weight; and milk yields. The milk yield was multiplied by two, assuming equal intake by the kids. The data was analysed using Harvey's (1977) Least Square analysis and the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programmes available at Bunda College.

Results

Birth weight

Birth weight was examined in four genotypes. Results show that the birth weight increased (P<0.001) with the level of crossing with Saanen (Table 1).

Table 1. Least square means for birth weight of kids (kg).

Source of evaluation

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Pure local

120

2.025a

0.146

1/4 Saanen

7

2.285b

0.191

1/2 bred Saanen

128

2.406c

0.044

3/4 Saanen

15

2 733d

0.130

Means bearing different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05).

Dam parturition weight

Parturition weight was affected by breed and season of kidding (Table 2). Saanen crosses had a higher (P<0.01) parturition weight than the local dams and dams kidding in the dry season had significantly higher (P<0.05) parturition weights. Year of parturition did not affect the dam parturition weight.

Litter size

Results indicate that the breed of dam, season of birth, or year of birth did not affect litter size. Saanen crosses had slightly higher litter sizes. Dams kidding in the dry season also had higher litter sizes, but the differences were not statistically significant (Table 3).

Milk yields

Results show that the total weekly milk yield was affected by breed and year (Table 4). The Saanen crossed dams produced significantly more milk (P<0.001). There were significant differences in milk yield in 1988, 1989 and 1990 (P<0.01). Season did not influence milk yield. Although lactation stage did not significantly affect total weekly milk yields, indications were that peak yield was reached in the fifth week of lactation.

Table 5 shows the total milk yield in 12 weeks. The overall milk yield was 69.6 ± 5.70 Kg. The total milk yield in 12 weeks was affected by breed; Saanen crosses produced more milk than the locals (P<0.001). Neither the season of kidding nor the year of kidding affected milk yields.

Growth rate to weaning

Table 6 shows the daily weight growth of the kids. Saanen crosses grew faster (P<0.01) than pure local, and growth was higher in the dry season (P<0.05) than in the rainy season for both genotypes. Daily weight gains were higher in 1988 than in the subsequent years.

Weaning weight also followed the same pattern with Saanen crosses having a higher weaning weight than the local. Those weaned in the dry season and in 1988 also had higher weaning weights (P<0.01). Male kids were heavier (P<0.05) than female kids.

Table 2. Least square means for parturition weight of dam (kg).

Main factor

Sub-class

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Breed

local

23

27.64a

1.57


Saanen x local

10

37.7b

3.67

Season

rainy

15

29.6a

1.81


dry

18

35.7b

3.10

Year

1988

10

32.3

3.21


1989

10

35.5

2.73


1990

13

30.27

2.60

Regression

litter size





linear


3.35

2.90


lactation no.





linear


3.70

1.26

Means bearing different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05).

Table 3. Least square means for liner size.

Source of variation

Sub-Class

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Breed

local

23

1.35

0.10


Saanen

10

1.52

0.23

Season

rainy

15

1.38

0.12


dry

18

1.48

0.19

Year

1988

10

1.42

0.20


1989

10

1.61

0.15


1990

13

1.27

0.15

Lactation

1

14

1.21

0.13


2

8

1.78

0.17


3

9

1.50

0.14


4

2

1.24

0.27

Table 4. Least square estimates of total weekly milk yields (kg/wk).

Source of variation

Sub-class

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Breed

local

276

3 08a

0.14


Saanen x local

120

8.50b

0.33

Season

rainy

180

5.65

0.17


dry

216

5.94

0.28

Year

1988

120

6.88a

0.29


1989

120

4.74c

0.25


1990

156

5.97b

0.24

Lactation week

1

33

4.80

0.35


2

33

5.47

0.35


3

33

5.41

0.35


4

33

5.97

0.35


5

33

6.35

0.35


6

33

6.11

0.35


7

33

5.67

0.35


8

33

6.06

0.35


9

33

6.08

0.35


10

33

5 94

0.35


11

33

5.69

0.35


12

33

5.96

0.35

Regression

litter size


0.26

0.26


lactation no.


0.48

0.11

Means bearing different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05).

Table 5. Least square means for total milk yield in 12 weeks (kg).

Source of variation

Sub-class

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Breed

local

23

37.1a

4.79


Saanen

10

102.0b

11.21

Season

rainy

15

67.7

5.52


dry

18

71.4

9.47

Year

1988

10

80.3

9.79


1989

10

56.8

8.32


1990

13

71.5

7.93

Regression

Sibsta linear


3.2

8.85


lactation no. linear


5.70

3.85

Means bearing different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05).

Table 6. Least square means for daily weight gains (g).

Source of variation

Sub-class

No. of observations

Mean

SE

Breed

local

19

70.78a

4.81


Saanen x local

8

139.22b

18.49


dry

14

115.82b

10.78

Year

1988

11

132.45c

14.88


1989

12

85.07a

8.70


1990

4

97.48b

16.73

Regression

weaning weight


10.53

10.88


lactation no.


-5.16

5.54

Means bearing different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05).

Discussion and conclusion

Kids born to both Saanen crosses and local goats grew at similar rates. Results indicate that Saanen crosses are superior to locals in terms of milk yields and kid birth weight. Survival rate was the same for both Saanen and the locals. The higher daily weight gain of the Saanen crosses indicates that they can be used for meat as well as milk production.

The higher birth weights of kids sired by Saanen bucks reported in this study confirms the findings of Karua and Banda (1992). Litter sizes were similar irrespective of the breed, season and year of birth, showing an equally high reproductive capacity in both genotypes.

Results show that crossbred goats produced 275% more milk than did the locals. Similar results have been obtained in India using the Saanen to improve milk production in native goats (Sahni and Chawla, 1982). These authors obtained increases of between 65 and 130%. They suggest that the improvement in milk production is greater when the native breed has a lower potential milk production than the well established dairy breeds. The current results are encouraging, showing that Saanen sires could be used on Malawi local goats to improve milk production.

The results also indicate that the goats perform better in the dry season than in the rainy season. Similar results were reported by Karua (1989) among village goats. Tethering was given as the major reason for loss of condition. The likely reason for difference in performance could be a higher worm burden with the onset of rains (Eldestein, 1988; Senganimalunje, 1992; Banda, 1992).

The better performance seen in 1988 could be management or environment related. Production is likely to fall when there is drought or too much rain, both of which reduce grazing periods and intakes. Unless the animals' feed supply is supplemented, productivity is likely to be affected.

References

Banda J W. 1989. Milk production potential of goats and sheep in Malawi. Phase 1. Genotype and seasonal influence on milk yield and composition. Final Technical Research Report. Contract Research Committee, Ministry of Agriculture, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Banda J W. 1992. Genotype and seasonal influence on milk yield and milk composition of sheep and goats in Malawi. PhD thesis, University of Gissein, Germany. 227 pp.

Eldestein M. 1988. Health problems associated with intensification of livestock industry. Proceedings of the first workshop on livestock production in Malawi, Zomba, Malawi, 3-9 January 1988.

Harvey W R. 1977. User's guide for LSML76. Mixed model least-squares maximum likelihood computer programme. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA. (Mimeograph).

Karua S K. 1989. A study of some of the phenotypic characteristics of the indigenous goats in Malawi. MSc thesis, University of Malawi, Malawi. 130 pp.

Karua S K and Banda I. W. 1992. Dairy goat breeding in Malawi: Gestation length, birth weights and growth of the indigenous Malawi goats and their Saanen crosses. In: Rey B, Lebbie S H B and Reynolds L (eds), Small ruminant research and development in Africa. Proceedings of the First Biennial Conference of the African Small Ruminant Research Network, ILRAD, Nairobi, Kenya, 10-14 December 1990. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Nairobi, Kenya. pp. 453-459.

Kasowanjete D, Stotz D and Zerfas H P. 1987. Goat development programme in Malawi. The Small Ruminant and Camel Group Newsletter 8:15-21. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mchiela A F. 1989. Milk production and growth rates of goats maintained under free range, tethered and confined management systems. MSc thesis, University of Malawi, Malawi. 119 pp.

Munthali J T. 1987. Cattle fattening on basal diets of maize stover and groundnut tops in Malawi. In: Little D A and Said A N (eds), Utilisation of agricultural by-products as livestock feeds in Africa. Proceedings of a workshop held at Ryall's Hotel, Blantyre, Malawi, September 1986. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. pp. 45-52.

Mwenifumbo A L and Phoya R K D. 1982. Composition and milk yield of Malawian local goats. Tropical Animal Production 7:71.

NSO (National Statistical Office). 1988. Malawi population and housing census 1987. National Statistical Office, Zomba, Malawi. 28 pp.

NSSA (National Sample Survey of Agriculture). 1981/82. Department of National Statistics. Government Printer, Zomba, Malawi. April 1984.

Sahni K L and Chawla D S.1982. Crossbreeding of dairy goats for milk production. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Goat Production and Disease, 10-15 January 1982, Tucson, Arizona, USA. pp. 575-583.

Senganimalunje T C. 1992. The effect of dry season treatment on helminth infestation in goats. BSc Dissertation, University of Malawi, Malawi.


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page