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Synonyms. Chèvre rousse de Maradi.

Origins. One of the Savanna goat group but its relatively small size in relation to these indicates possible crossing with forest or dwarf goats before selection in its present area of distribution. The relatively high prolificity of the Sokoto goat would tend to support a hypothesis that such a fusion has occurred.

Sub-types and races. Outside the main centres of its distribution, the colour varies somewhat and various types are recognised such as Kano Brown, Bornu White, etc. The Buduma goat of Chad appears to be the same variety as the Bornu White.

Haemoglobin variants (3 variants and 5 phenotypes) have been reported to differ from the expected proportions and it has been postulated that these differences are due to differential susceptibilities to helminth infestation.

Distribution. Southern Niger and northern Nigeria between latitudes 12°N and 14°N and longitudes 4°N and 10°E. In Nigeria its main strong­holds are in Sokoto and Kano States and in Niger it is commonest in Maradi and Tessoua Departments but its sub-types extend to the west and east. The purebred population is probably about 1 million with a further 2.5 million of similar type.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid areas with a single rainfall season of 4-6 months duration. These areas are cultivated to millet, sorghum and groundnuts. Several species of economic trees (Baobab, Adansonia digitata; Shea-butter Nut, Butyrospermum parkii; Locust Bean, Parkia biglobosa) form an integral part of the agro-sylvo-pastoral system. In Maradi Department most goats are found in the cultivated valleys of seasonal rivers (rainfall 600 mm) which provide a favourable micro-zone with out-of-season crop residues and browse shrubs.

Management systems. Agro-pastoral. Owned mainly by sedentary cultivators of the Hausa tribe or of related Hausa-speaking groups. Often confined within house compounds, either loose or tied to stakes, especially during the crop growing season when they may be zero-grazed. Flock sizes are usually small (< 10 head) but as skins are the main product, the imbalance in the sex ratio between females and males is less marked than in many other systems. In a traditional system in the Zaria area in northern Nigeria 64.6 per cent of families own goats, average flock size being 19.2 in the range of 2 to 70. In the Zaria area flock structures are 79.3 per cent females (45.8 per cent with 1 or more pairs permanent incisors) and 20.6 per cent males (2.2 per cent with 1 or more pairs permanent incisors) with a ratio of breeding males to females of 1.0:19.7,

Physical characteristics. Relatively small size 60 cm (male 60-65 cm; female 54-65 cm). Weight: male 27 kg; female 25 kg. Bornu White is larger, up to 80 cm.

Head fine, forehead prominent, profile rather short and straight or slightly dished, mucous membranes black.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 38 Red Sokoto buck or Chèvre ,rousse de Maradi at Zugu Sokoto State, Nigeria

Horns in both sexes: short to medium in length, slightly heavier in males but set close together on the skull; rather flattened dorso-ventrally and growing backwards close to the head and neck (Figure 38). Ears short, medium width and usually carried horizontally; rather longer and semi-pendulous in Niger; longer also in Bornu White. Toggles rare. Beard of profuse hair in males but usually often covered with hair which isabsent 1n females. Forehead longer, bushier and darker in males than in females. Males carry a light mane extending to the shoulders.

Neck short, thin and very mobile. Chest rounded and well pro portioned. Withers not prominent. Back of medium length and Croup short.Legs rather short and strong but well muscled both fore and hind. Udder of good conformation, well rounded and with well spaced teats (Figure 39).

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 39 Female Chèvre rousse de Maradi straight. at Maradi station, Niger

Colour usually deep red in the Sokoto but lighter and occasionally almost chestnut in the Maradi. A government order promulgated in Niger in 1945 made the culling of spotted females obligatory in parts of Maradi and by 1950 this order had been extended to other Departments including Zinder, Tahoua and Goure: undesirable males were to be castrated before 6 months but animals of the correct type of both sexes could not be slaughtered at less than 18 months. Males are invariably darker than females and may have a black back stripe. Tail hairs usually black. Coat of fine and short hair but males may have longer and wavier hair. Bornu White is white, occasionally with black or brown spots on ears, nose and around eyes.

Products. Skins; milk (especially in Niger); meat.


REPRODUCTION. Age at first oestrus: 157 ± 5.92 (s.d.) days (n=8), youngest at 120 days in Kano Brown. Weight at first oestrus: 10.5-18.0 kg. First kidding: 435 ± 135.0 (s.d.) days (range 243-882) (n=51) at Shika experimental farm in Nigeria; apparently rather late in Nigeria traditional system near Zaria where only 2.4 per cent of does with milk teeth and 75.6 per cent with 1 pair of permanent incisors had kidded; 7.1 per cent at 10 months on station in Niger, 21.4 at 12, 14.2 at 13, 35.7 at 14, 14.3 at 16, 7.1 at 17; 426.7 + 204.40 (s.d.) days (n=227) in a traditional Hausa village in Niger in a study of 3 years duration; 416 ± 86 (s.d.) days for Kano Brown and also 9-16 months; in traditional systems in Niger it has been recorded that 31 per cent of first births take place when the dam is 7-10 months old, 25 at 10-11, 27 at 11-12 and 7 at > 12 months. Kidding interval: 240 + 57.8 (s.d.) days at Shika; 332 ± 109.3 (s.d.) days (n=665) in Niger traditional system with 11.3 per cent of intervals < 240 days, 43.5 at 240-340 and 45.2 at > 340; under research station management in Niger 20.0 per cent of intervals were < 180 days, 25.0 at 180-210, 17.5 at 210-240, 17 at 240-275, 12.5 at 275-305, 2.5 at 305-335 and 5.0 at > 335; intervals following an abortion (220 ± 16 (n=59)) and those following kid deaths in the first 15 days of life (269 ± 22 (n=32)) were significantly shorter than all intervals (332 ± 109 (n=665)) in the Niger traditional system; intervals were also influenced by season of previous birth and when this took place in the rainy season of Jul-Aug, interval was 266 + 97.3 (n=56) days, in the dry season of Sep-Apr was 343 ± 164.5 (n=552) days and in the pre-rains season of May-Jun was 302 ± 105.7 (n=57) days; breeding occurs all year round but there are markedly more births in early hot dry season in Niger than at other times of year. Multiple births: extremely common; 32.6 per cent single, 58.8 twin, 7.2 triplet, 1.8 quadruplet (n=123) at Shika; 32 per cent multiple births in Zaria traditional system; 56.1 per cent single, 40.9 twin, 2.8 triplet, 0.1 quadruplet (n=1668) in Niger traditional system; 48.6 per cent single, 47.5 twin, 3.9 triplet on station in Niger. Litter size: about 1.8; 1.45 at first parity (n=51) at Shika increasing from 1.17 for dams of 8-9 months to 1.70 for dams > 24 months, 1.86 at second parity (n=37) and 2.00 at third (n=8); 1.35 (n=1938) in northern Nigeria traditional system near Zaria (Table 28); 1.47 ± 0.83 (n=761) in Niger traditional system rising from first to third and older parities being 1.08 ± 0.60 (n=227), 1.20 ± 0.79 (n=51) and 1.72 ± 1.10 (n=483) respectively; considerable variation in litter size in relation to month of birth and maximum litter size not occurring at period of maximum number of births (Figure 40) as seen also in West African Long-legged goats in Mali and Burkina Faso. Annual reproductive rate: 1.50-2.00; 1.67 in Niger. Oestrus cycle: 15-30 days but up to 66 days on station in Niger; heat lasts 24-120 hours in Kano Brown. Gestation period: 153 days (range 142-165) in Niger.

Table 28 Reproductive data established from owner recall in 116 flocks of sedentary Red Sokoto goats in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria

Parameter Physiological age of goat Overall
Pairs permanent incisors Temporary incisors
4 3 2 1
Number in sample 280 205 173 254 665 1577
Type of birth
  single 605 334 204 174 14 1331
  twin 402 103 52 18 2 577
  triplet 43 4 1 0 0 2
quadruplet 2 0 0 0 0 2
Total births 1052 441 257 192 16 1958
Total young born 1546 552 311 210 18 2637
Litter size 1.47 1.25 1.21 1.09 1.13 1.35
Births per doe 3.76 2.15 1.49 0.76 0.02 1.24


Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 40 Distribution of parturition and variations in litter size in Maradi goats in Niger

Repeatability of litter size 0.28 ± 0.07 for 37 first to second kiddings and heritability at first kidding 0.08 ± 0.02 for 50 dam-daughter pairs, both estimates from Shika.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 1.7-2.0 kg; 1.8 + 0.021 (s.e.) kg (n=1301) and 1.9 ± 0.022 kg (n=624) in Niger. Height for age: 3 weeks-2.7, 1 month-3.9, 2-8.1, 4-9.9, 5-12.1 kg for twins, both sexes combined, on station in Niger (Table 29); 2 months-8.0, 4-8.9, 6-10.5, 12-18.5, 18-26.3 kg for females from all birth types in traditional system in Niger; 2 weeks-3.6, 4-4.6, 8-6.2, 12-7.6 kg for singles on station in Nigeria and 3.0, 3.7, 4.8 and 5.7 kg at same ages for twins. Average daily gain: 7-120 days - males 63 females 55 g, 4-18 months - females 41 g.

MILK. Yield: 500-1000 g/d; 545 g/d in 12 week lactation, does with twins producing 50 kg, outyielding singles by 20 per cent (Figure 41). Composition: total solids 18.2 per cent; fat 4.7-7.8 per cent, does suckling twins have higher fat content and fat content diminishes sharply to fourth week of lactation; protein 3.8-4.7 per cent; lactose 4.7 per cent; energy 22.2 KJ/g dried milk, 381 KJ/100 g whole milk; all values except lactose higher in colostrum than in milk.

Table 29 Weights (kg) at early ages of Sokoto goats at Maradi research centre in 1986

Age Male Female
Single Twin Triplet Single Twin Triplet
Birth 2.1 1.8 1.5 2.1 2.1 1.4
1 month 3.0 3.9 3.0 3.7 4.4 3.0
2 months 6.1 5.8 5.4 5.0 5.0 4.2
3 months 7.7 7.0 6.8 7.5 7.5 4.4
6 months 10.3 10.1 10.9 10.4 11.1 6.5

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 41 Lactation curves of Red Sokoto goats having given birth to single or twin kids (smooth curves represent Wood's gamma function)

MEAT. Dressing percentage: 45-50; 44.7-48.6 at 20.5-25.0 kg live weight for Bornu White and 43.7-48.1 at 19.8-24.2 kg live weight for Red Sokoto at Maiduguri abattoir; young male castrates 54-55.

SKINS. Average dry weight of skins from Nigeria and Niger is about 420 g, "extra light" being 250 g and "heavy" 625 g. Useful tanning area is 3-7 ft2 (0.28-0.65 m2). Red Sokoto skins are of exceptional quality and known as "Morocco" in the tannery trade. They are characterized by deep pronounced grain, dense compact elastic fibres, little grease, and ease of tanning; they are in demand for the fancy goods trade, particularly for gloves, high quality shoes, patent leather and suede clothes. Skins of Kano goats are heavier and weigh 430-460 g.

Research. Centre d'élevage caprin du Maradi, BP 379, Maradi, Niger. National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Shika, P.M.B. 1096, Zaria, Nigeria.

References. Beaton, 1939; Robinet, 1967; Haumesser, 1975; Mba, Boyo & Oyenuga, 1975; Molokwu & Igono, 1978; Adu, Buvanendran & Lakpini, 1979; Akinsoyinu et al, 1981 ; Buvanendran et al, 1981; Ehoche & Buvanendran, 1983; Ngere, Adu & Okubanjo, 1984; Djibri1lou Oumara, 1986; Otchere et al, 1987; Fasanya et al, 1988.


Synonyms. Danakil; ?Abyssinian Short-eared; Adal - adopted by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research as the official designator within the country.

Origins. Probably from south-west Asia (North Yemen and Saudi Arabia) where similar goats are common.

Sub-types and races. There are possibly some morphological and performance differences throughout this type's range from Eritrea in the north to Djibouti in the south.

Distribution. Coastal strip and Rift Valley in Ethiopia from 12°N to 6°N in the area where the Afar (Danakil) tribe is found. Northern two-thirds of Republic of Djibouti.

Ecological zones. Desert and coastal desert.

Management systems. Pastoral. Free-ranging transhumant and/or nomadic Afar. Kids are separated from adults and housed in small stone houses. Male kids, except those required for breeding, are usually killed (especially in drier than usual periods) a few days after birth. Flock sizes generally large (> 100 head). Flock structures, related to requirement for milk, overwhelmingly female: females 98.0 per cent (breeding 84.5); males 2.0 per cent (no castrates).

Physical characteristics. Small size 55-65 cm (male 60-65 cm; female 55-60 cm). Weight: male 26-39 kg; female 22-28 kg.

Small head, flat forehead, profile straight or slightly dished, narrow muzzle (Figure 42).

Horns in both sexes: erect or pointing slightly backwards in males, half to full twist, up to 45 cm in length, flattish in cross-section and slightly ribbed; light and scimitar shaped in females although assymetrical and deformed horns not uncommon, round to oval in cross-section (Figure 43); few females polled (?and possibly males). Ears medium length (10-12 cm), medium width, noticeably pricked and erect; less than 1.5 per cent have atrophied (3-4 cm) ears (Figure 43). Toggles in both sexes (6 per cent). Males usually bearded and lightly maned; females unbearded except for a few with very wispy beard.

Neck medium long. Chest very narrow and shallow. Croup sharply sloping. Legs tend to be short in relation to height, a character more noticeable in some flocks than others. Scrotum usually split for at least half its length.

Colour very variable, whole whites common, reds and blacks less so, multicoloured and spotted and blotched animals commonest. Coat of very fine, short hair.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 42 Afar goats at a desert well in Djibouti

Products. Milk; (meat); skins for water carriers.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 43 Afar goats showing (left) horns of female, immature and male; and (right) vestigial ears on a female


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 24 months. Kidding interval: once a year although some only every 2 years; related to short rainy period, not otherwise controlled. Multiple births: very uncommon (or uncommonly admitted) in traditional systems; 65 per cent single, 35 per cent twin at Melka Werer. Litter size: ?1.02 in traditional systems; 1.24 for 21 does at Melka Werer. Annual reproductive rate: ?0.9. Kidding rate (=kids born/does mated): 1.07 (n=352 does mated).

Very low conception rates of 45 per cent obtained at Melka Werer in 1970s but increased to 79 per cent in 1980s.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 2.0 kg in traditional system; 2.1 kg on station. Weight for age: 6 months-11, 9-13, 12-16, 18-21, 24-23, 36-27 kg in traditional system in Tigray; 90 days-7.6, 180-15.3, 365-22.1 kg on station. Average daily gain: birth-26 weeks - 45 g in Tigray; 90-180 days - 48 g at Melka Werer. Mature weights: males 34.1 kg (n=4) in Tigray traditional system, 33.0 kg on station at Melka Werer; females 26.8 ± 3.71 (s.d.) kg (n=431) in Tigray, 24.0 kg at Melka Werer.

MILK. Lactation length: 90-120 days; 84 days on irrigated pasture and with 200-300 g concentrate at Melka Werer. Yield: 20-25 kg; 491 g/d (range 230-1080) at Melka Werer.

MEAT. Carcass yield: males 12 kg; females 10 kg.

Research. Melka Werer Research Station, Institute of Agricultural Research, P.O.Box 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Some minor and incomplete field studies.

References. Wilson, 1975; Galal & Getachew, 1977; Galal, Sebhatu & Getachew, 1977; Galal & Kassahun, 1981; Kassahun, Yibrah & Fletcher, 1989.


Origins. Part of the Small East African group but said to be specifically selected for its skins.

Distribution. Mainly in the former Kingdom of Buganda in the Mubende district of west-central Uganda and in Masaka district to the south but also elsewhere in higher rainfall areas of Uganda north and west of Lake Victoria.

Ecological zones. Sub-humid highland areas of Uganda, usually with bimodal or a prolonged unimodal rainfall pattern.

Management systems. Agro-pastoral. Animals are tethered or allowed to roam freely, particularly in the non-cropping season. In addition to being reputed producers of skins and meat, goats have important cultural and social functions in the Baganda area and are used in divine healing.

Physical characteristics. Small size. Weight: male 35 kg (up to 51 kg); female 31 kg.

Horns in both sexes although polled animals not uncommon: generally short and carried close to nape of neck. Ears short to medium length, pricked forward and upward. Males and some females bearded. Males have a mane along the length of the back (Figure 44).

Colour, selected, generally black: other colours also occur. Coat short and fine.

Products. Meat; skins.


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 13.5 months on station at Makerere; 567 ± 11.6 (s.e.) days (n=80) on station at Mbarara. Kidding interval: 9.6 months at Makerere, 10.6 months at first and 8.5 months at second and third intervals; 297 ± 8.5 (s.e.) days at Mbarara. Multiple births: common; 69.0 per cent single, 31.0 per cent twin at Makerere, 86.4 per cent single at first, 50.0 per cent single at second and third parturitions; 68.3 per cent single, 30.0 per cent twin, 1.7 per cent triplet at Mbarara. Litter size: 1.4 (n=42) at Makerere. Lifetime production: 6 parturitions at Mbarara.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 44 Male Mubende goat at Lweza station, Uganda (photograph by K.L. Okello)

GROWTH. Birth weight: 1.22 kg on station at Makerere, single 1.39, twin 1.04, male 1.26, female 1.19; male singles 2.14 ± 0.045 (s.e.) kg (n=538) at Mbarara. Weight for age: 4 months-10.3, 12-21.3 kg at Makerere; 2 months-7.4, 5(weaning)-11.9, 12-20.3 kg for male singles at Mbarara. Average daily gain: birth-120 days - 75.7, post-weaning-12 months - 44.9 g at Makerere; birth-2 months - singles 86 twins 68, 2-5 - singles 45 twins 40, 5-12 - singles and twins 36 g at Mbarara.

MEAT. Dressing percentage: 56.4 for males at live weight of 35.7 kg, 50.7 at 36.0 kg and 44.1 at 28.4 kg for castrates, 54.4 for females at 31.5 kg.

Research. Department of Veterinary Physiological Sciences, Makerere University, P.O.Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.

References. Trail & Sacker, 1966; Okello, 1985; K.L. Okello, pers.comm.


Origins. Part of the Small East African group.

Sub-types and races. Sebei and Karamoja types are also recognized in Uganda.

Distribution. South-west Uganda and neighbouring Zaire and Rwanda.

Ecological zones. Warm or hot semi-arid lowlands to sub-humid uplands and cool mountains.

Management systems. Agro-pastoral and agricultural of the Bakiga tribe.

Physical characteristics. Small size 50-60 cm. Weight: 30 kg.

Horns in both sexes. Ears shortto medium length, pricked.

Colour black or grey in Kigezi. Hair long, especially on hindquarters, in Kigezi.

Products. Hair; meat.


MEAT. Dressing percentage: males 49.4 at live weight of 30 kg, castrates 52.0 at 28.8 kg, females 51.6 at 30.3 kg.

HAIR. Used for clothing by Bakiga tribe.

References. Okello, 1985.


Synonyms. Galla; Somali.

Origins. Part of the Small East African group.

Sub-types and races. In the Somali systems the 'yeygirr' is smaller than the 'deguen' and has short prick ears in contrast to the forward-inclined pendent ears of the latter which is bred by the Muruli clan. Several Somali clan types have names, including Mudugh, Abgal, Benadir and Ogaden.

Distribution. Northern Kenya, southern Somalia and parts of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid bimodal rainfall areas, bordering on arid.

Management systems. Pastoral, agro-pastoral and agricultural.

KENYA COAST. Three agro-ecological zones are recognised, these being the coconut-cassava (1000-1230 mm annual rainfall), the cashewnut-cassava (800-1100 mm) and the livestock-millet (700-880 mm) areas. About 20 per cent of farms keep cattle but about 60 per cent have small ruminants, mostly goats. Of farms with small ruminants, 59 per cent have goats only, 37 per cent goats and sheep and 3 per cent sheep only. Flock sizes are medium averaging 22.8 on farms owning small ruminants, 80 per cent being goats: the ratio of goats to sheep is 8.6:1.0 in the coconut zone and 3.0:1.0 in the millet zone. Goat and sheep numbers (on farms owning) increase from the coconut zone to the millet zone (Table 30). Flock structures are related mainly to meat production: females 73 per cent (51 per cent "mature"); males 27 per cent (11 per cent mature, 1 per cent castrates) (n=18 330); the proportion of males decreases from wetter to drier zones. About 5 per cent of goats are not owned by farmers in whose flocks they are found.

CENTRAL SOMALIA. Rainfall averages 100-250 mm per year and the vegetation is predominently low open thornbush. Animals are herded during the day and penned in thorn enclosures at night, kids separate from adults. Kids are allowed to suckle twice a day after milk for human consumption has been taken off. Bucks run continuously with does to ensure kidding (and a human milk supply) all year round.

Table 30 Small ruminant flock sizes in various agro-ecological zones on the Kenya coast

Agro-ecological zone Flock size
Goat flocks Sheep flocks Mixed flocks
n s.d n s.d n s.d
Coconut-cassava 11.2 8.4 5.3 4.5 18.2 9.6
Cashewnut-cassava 16.6 13.6 8.6 7.9 28.3 18.2
Livestock-millet 32.5 33.5 17.5 18.8 54.4 49.9
Overall 18.8 21.1 11.2 13.6 22.7 27.1

Flock sizes usually very large, 9000 flocks averaging 154 head in 11 'degaan' in Bulo Burti district in 1983, in range 52-241 head. About 8 per cent of goats are in multiple-owner flocks. Flock structures, with some very early offtake of males, are related to milk production: females 78.7 per cent (57.8 per cent breeding); males 21.3 per cent (6.6 per cent breeding bucks, 7.4 per cent mature castrates).

Physical characteristics. Small size 60 cm. Weight: male 30-40 kg; female 25-30 kg. Benadir is slightly larger.

Head fine, muzzle narrow, facial profile convex.

Horns small, usually slender with no marked twist, in about 97 per cent of animals. Ears short to medium, pricked sideways and slightly forwards and upwards (Figure 45). Toggles in about 5 per cent of both sexes.

Neck medium length. Chest narrow, girth exceeding withers height by about 10 per cent. Withers (58.1 ± 5.52 (s.d.) cm (n=293) in central Somalia) about same height as sacrum. Back fairly long and slightly dipped. Croup sloping. Legs rather long.

Colour usually brilliant white (> 70 per cent in central Somalia). Some Ethiopian goats from the Ogaden have black spotting or solid black on the head and fore part of the neck: some varieties have a black dorsal stripe.

Hair short,shiny, smooth. Skin thin.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 45 Boran or Galla goats at Kiboko National Range Research Station, Kenya

Products. Meat; milk; (skins).


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: very late, about 30 months in central Somalia. Kidding interval: about 14 months in central Somalia. Multiple births: fairly common. Litter size: 1.29 (n=108) at Kiboko in Kenya. Annual reproductive rate: 1.03 with 8 month mating at Kiboko; in Somalia national statistics indicate range of 0.65 to 0.90 kids per doe per year from 1970 to 1984. Fertility (=does kidded/does mated): about 75 per cent at Kiboko. Fecundity (=kids born/does present per year): 65 per cent in central Somalia.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 3.38 kg (n=139) at Kiboko. Height for age: 6 months-13.7, 18-19.2, 30-23.5, 42-25.6, 54-27.7 kg in central Somalia Average daily gain: birth-120 days - 82 g at Naivasha.

MILK. Yield: almost 1 million tonnes of which 360 000 tonnes used for human consumption from Somali national flock in 1984; in central Somalia does kidding during the rains yield 85 litres in 6 months, those during the rains 49 litres, of which about 40 and 20 per cent is used for human consumption.

MEAT. Exports of live goats from Somalia varied from 273 000 to 828 000 from 1970 to 1984; internal slaughter in the same period was 1.8 to 3.6 million head.

SKINS. Total production in Somalia of goats and sheep combined varied from 1.54 to 3.84 million pieces in 1970-1984.

Research. National Range Research Station, Kiboko, Kenya.

References. Rakoczi, 1974a; Dahir Mumin, 1986; Bourzat et al, 1988; W. Thorpe, pers.comm.


Origins. Part of the Small East African group

Sub-types and races. Goats of very similar type occur throughout much of East Africa and are given tribal or regional names. Gogo in central Tanzania, Arusha and Chagga in northern Tanzania.

Distribution. Kenya and northern Tanzania.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid bimodal rainfall areas, bordering on sub-humid to the west of their range in both Kenya and Tanzania.

Management systems. Pastoral, agro-pastoral and agricultural where they are owned by mainly cultivating tribes, for example on the slopes of Mounts Kilimanjaro and Meru. Often kept in mixed flocks about equally composed of goats and sheep. Both goats and sheep are herded by children by day and penned in thorn enclosures at night with unweaned kids being separated from adults. Flock sizes fairly large to large and average about 190 head on Elangata Wuas group ranch in south-central Kenya. Flock structure is related to meat, fat and milk production: females 66.2 per cent (48.3 per cent breeding); males 33.8 per cent (4.1 per cent entire > 14 months, 6.1 per cent castrates > 14 months).

Physical characteristics. Small size 64 cm. Weight: male 40 kg; female 31 kg.

Head fine, muzzle narrow, facial profile dished or straight (Figure 46).

Horns usually present in both sexes: short (10 cm) and fine and sweeping directly backwards, often curved upwards at the tip. In some flocks only about 65 per cent of animals are horned, possibly indicating some out-crossing to exotic breeds. Ears medium length (12-16 cm), slightly pendent, rarely pricked. Males and about 10 per cent of older females have a small beard of rather fine hair: 40 per cent of males under 14 months have beards. Toggles in both sexes in less than 5 per cent of animals. Males have a light or heavier mane extending to the withers or just beyond.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 46 Masai goat of Small East African type in west Mara region, Kenya

Neck fine and medium long. Chest fairly well rounded, girth measuring 10-15 per cent more than withers height (64 ± 3.2 (s.d.) cm (n=239) in females, 73 ± 4.4 cm (n=22) in mature castrates). Withers not prominent and lower than sacrum. Back short and dipped. Croup short and sharply sloping. Legs well proportioned and fleshed.

Colour extremely variable. Coat short and fine in both males and females but with occasional longer hair on the hindquarters.

Products. Meat; milk; fat.


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 556 ± 119.0 (s.d.) days (n=28) on group ranch in south-central Kenya which is very late for a traditional system and due to use of an apron to control breeding (Figure 8); of 211 first kidding dams 12.3, 37.9, 34.1, 13.7 and 1.9 per cent had milk teeth and 1 to 4 pairs respectively of permanent incisors. Kidding interval: 306 days at Elangata Wuas group ranch, decreasing with increasing parity, differing in different flocks and also varying with season, intervals being longer following parturitions in long and short rains seasons. Multiple births: fairly common. Litter size: 1.23, varying with parity and season, litters larger for parturitions in short and long dry seasons. Annual reproductive rate: 1.46.

GROWTH. Birth weight: about 2.9 kg at Elangata Wuas. Weight for age: 10 days-3.3, 550 days-21.8 kg, a growth equation y=axb having values of 0.95 and 0.48 for variables a and b respectively. Average daily gain: birth-150 days - 49.3, birth-365 - 38.3 g. Post-partum weights: 28.0 kg; 23.4 kg at first and 27.5 at fourth and subsequent parities. Mature weights: females 30.9 ± 3.99 (s.d.) kg (n=239), range 18-44 kg; castrates 42.2 ± 6.12 (s.d.) kg (n=22) in range 33-53 kg.

Research. Field studies in 1978-1983 by ILCA now discontinued.

References. Wilson, 1978; Wilson, Peacock & Sayers, 1983; 1984; 1985; Wilson & Ole Maki, 1989.


Synonyms. Chèvre commune rwandaise; chèvre commune burundaise.

Origins. Part of the Small East African group.

Sub-types and races. The "types" from Rwanda, Burundi and eastern Zaire are, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable.

Distribution. Rwanda, Burundi and Kivu province of Zaire and extending into southern Uganda and the extreme west of Tanzania.

Ecological zones. Sub-humid east-central African highlands from 1200 m to 2500 m altitude in 800 mm to 1500 mm rainfall zone. Rain falls in two more or less distinct seasons.

Management systems. Agro-pastoral and agricultural. Verging on pastoral in Ankole/ /Bahima areas of eastern and lower areas of Rwanda. Often attached individually to pickets (Figure 47). Some data on the importance of goats in 3 different areas of highland central Africa have been provided in Table 5. Approximately 76 per cent of families own goats, average flock size being 2.95 goats for those owning (2.88 in Burundi, 3.42 in Rwanda and 2.67 in eastern Zaire). Generalized flock structure is related mainly to meat production: females 82.6 per cent (65.7 per cent weaned); males 17.4 per cent (3.7 per cent weaned); 51.3 per cent of all goats in the traditional system have milk teeth only. The estimated total number of goats and sheep (of which probably 75 per cent were goats) in Burundi was 1 313 000 in 1984; total goats in Rwanda were 940 000 in 1983, according to an administrative census (for tax purposes), but a sample agricultural survey at the same time estimated 2.2 million goats. Goats are important sacrificial animals in Rwanda ('guterekera'), killed and eaten following the death of a family member: they are also used as dowry among the Twa of north-west Rwanda, 1 male and 1 female goat being offered by the man to his prospective in-laws.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 47 A Rwanda goat at a picket in the agricultural system near Kigali

Physical characteristics. Small size 64 cm (60-67). Weight: male 35 kg; female 27 kg.

Horns in both sexes: curving outwards and backwards in males, up to 20 cm in length; female horns lighter and scimitar shaped; polled animals very rare. Ears short to medium length, pricked forward and upward. Toggles present in both sexes (- 14 per cent). Most males and some females are bearded. Some males have a top-knot and a mane along the whole length of the spine is almost universal in this sex.

Neck fine and medium length. Chest reasonably well rounded, girth measurement 20-25 per cent greater than withers height. Withers level with sacrum. Back short and straight. Legs normally proportioned in relation to body, front cannon bone circumference about 7-8 cm. Udder rounded and small with short teats.

Colour very variable, whole blacks common but many parti- and multi-coloured animals. Coat is fine and short but a very few males have long hair on the hind legs.

Products. Meat.


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 640 ± 27.8 (s.e.) days (n=205) on station in Rwanda where does born as twins kidded more than 3 months later than those born as singles and females out of older dams kidded younger than those out of junior dams. Kidding interval: 343 ± 13.8 (s.e.) days (n=498) on station but this largely due to an imposed breeding season. Multiple births: very common; 61.1 per cent single, 37.1 per cent twin, 1.8 per cent triplet (n=221) in traditional system in north of Burundi; 54.6, 42.5, 2.8 and 0.2 per cent single, twin, triplet and quadruplet (n=1340) in large scale traditional study in 3 countries combined; 41.4 per cent single, 58.6 per cent multiple (n=256) under station management in south-east Rwanda. Litter size: 1.44 (n=1378 parturitions) in traditional system; 1.75 (n=726) on station, not differing significantly with season but larger litters at older parities were noted. Annual reproductive rate: 1.86 on station. Lifetime production: most females do not exceed 5 parturitions but up to 12 recorded (Figure 48); average of 2.39 parturitions for 1340 does in large scale traditional system survey.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 2.0 kg in north Burundi traditional system; 2.3 kg (n=156) on station in Rwanda. Height for age: 3 months-8.5, 6-12.1, 12-19.1 kg in traditional system; 30 days-3.9, 90-8.7, 150-11.1, 240-14.4, 365-19.9 kg on station in Rwanda. Average daily gain: birth-3 months - 68, 3-6 - 40, 6-12 - 39 g. Mature weights: 2 years-27.7, 3-31.2, 4-33.5, 5-36.4 kg on station in Rwanda.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 48 Frequency distribution of reproductive careers of Rwanda/Burundi goats in traditional systems in highland east-central Africa.

MILK. Yield: 33-86 kg in 108 days; average production of 380 ml/d for 12 goats on station, best female yielding 780 ml when fed concentrate.

MEAT. Dressing percentage: 52.2 at 18.2 kg live weight. Carcass composition: fifth quarter 16.6 and wet hide 7.9 per cent of live weight.

In 1983 a total of 37 800 goats was slaughtered at official abattoirs in Rwanda.

SKINS. Skin exports from Rwanda varied from 203 000 to 435 000 pieces from 1971 to 1975 inclusive, average dry weight being 470 g.

Research. Institut des sciences agronomiques du Rwanda, BP 138, Butaré, Rwanda. Projet de développement de l'élevage caprin de Ngozi, BP 45, Ngozi, Burundi. Faculte des sciences agronomiques, Universite de Burundi, BP 1550, Bujumbura, Burundi.

References. Hanon, 1976; Bizimungu, 1986; PDEC, 1986; Wilson & Murayi, 1988a; Wilson, Murayi & Rocha, 1989.


Origins. Part of the Small East African group.

Distribution. Malawi, but more common in the south than in the north. Estimated population 950 000 in 1988.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid to sub-humid uplands.

Management systems. Agricultural. About 43 per cent of households keep goats around Lilongwe with an average flock size of 9; 60 per cent of flocks are less than 10 animals. Tethering during the day to prevent crop damage is common (93 per cent). Night housing practices vary, some being in the owner's house, some in purpose built sheds, but whatever system is adopted goats are tied individually. Flock structure is related to meat production: females 72.4 per cent (57.1 per cent > 12 months); males 27.6 per cent (7.0 per cent > 12 months).

Physical characteristics. Small size 62 cm. Weight: female 29.1 kg.

Head fine. Profile straight or dished.

Horns in both sexes: light and short. Ears pricked.

Neck fine and fairly long. Chest fairly well developed, girth measurement greater than withers height by about 20 per cent. Rump higher than withers.

Colour is very variable with black, black and brown, brown and red, and white the commonest. "Badger" and reverse badger face markings occur. Hair is short and fine.

Products. Meat.


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 15.6 months (n=16) in village system; 17.5 months (n=21) on ranch; 451 days (=14.8 months) on development project. Kidding interval: 44.9 weeks (n=l17) in village; 35.2 weeks (n=80) on ranch; 254 days on development project. Multiple births: common. Litter size: 1.35 (n=422) in village; 1.38 (n=152) on ranch; 1.46 on develoment project. Kidding percentage (=number of kids born/does exposed): 107 in village; 175 on ranch.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 1.76 kg (Table 31). Height for age: 280 days-12.2 ± 2.4 (s.d.) kg (n=49) on development project. Average daily gain: birth-280 days - 36 ± 8 g on development project. Post-partum weights: 29.5 kg (n=421) in traditional system; 28.5 kg (n=151) on ranch.

Table 31 Birth weights (kg) of Malawi kids under various management systems

Type of birth and Sex


Traditional village


Development project

n x s.d. n x s.d. n x


2.0 0.5 45 2.0 0.6 143 2.1


1.8 0.5 49 1.9 0.5 137 1.9


1.7 0.5 57 1.6 0.6 51 1.6


1.6 0.5 55 1.6 0.6 47 1.6


1.2 0.2 3 1.5 0.0 - -


1.0 0.0 - - - - -

MILK. Yield: 290 g/d over 16 weeks (n=8) fed solely on natural pasture. Composition: fat 6.7 per cent; solids-not-fat 9.6 per cent; protein 2.2 per cent; lactose 6.3 per cent.

MEAT. Dressing percentage: 52.3 at 25.7 kg live weight for females, 52.7 at 19.6 kg for males, 53.6 at 21.7 kg for castrates. Carcass proportions: hindquarter percentage increases with age to 48.4 at 2 years. Carcass composition: head 7.2 per cent, liver 2.9 per cent, skin 6.9 per cent, lungs 2.0 per cent, heart 1.5 per cent, testes 2.1 per cent; 66.3/15.9/11.3 per cent lean/bone/fat in 15-24 months males weighing 29.1 kg.

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

References. Owen, 1975; Phoya, 1982; Kamwanja, Ayoade & Makhambera, 1985; Kasowanjete, Stotz & Zerfas, 1987; Karua, 1989.


Synonyms. Mashona.

Origins. Very similar to Small East African types.

Sub-types and races. Slight differences in type and productivity are evident in different areas. Possibly some slight trypanotolerance in some types in areas of low challenge?

Distribution. Zimbabwe, except the south-west where this type is replaced by the Ndebele.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid to sub-humid.

Management systems. Agro-pastoral and agricultural. In Mangwende Communal Area (medium/high potential, 800-950 mm rainfall) east of Harare, 27.8 per cent of farmers own 4.7 goats on average, whereas only 1.8 per cent of farmers own 1.0 sheep. In the low potential Chibi Communal Area (550-650 mm rainfall) in southern Zimbabwe, goats are owned by 51.9 per cent of farmers with an average flock size of 6.2, sheep by 5.3 per cent with a flock size of 7.7. Goats are kept in low potential areas infested by tsetse fly in the north and north-west of the country: in different communal areas the goat:humans ratio varies from 4.5:1.0 to 0.6:1.0, average flock sizes ranging from 37.5 to 7.0 but as many as 80 per cent of families own less than 5 adult does and very few flocks have more than 15 adult females; most flocks do not have an adult male goat and ratios of does to bucks vary from 30:1 to 6:1 in 3 communal areas. In most areas draught cattle are the main livestock wealth but goats have important social and cultural roles ('masungira', premarriage ceremony; 'kurova-puva', commemoration of dead; 'kurasira', exorcism of evil spirits; 'nhimbe', work party).

Physical characteristics. Small size. Weight: females 27 kg.

Head fine, profile flat and short.

Horns in both sexes: to 13 cm long in males, heavy at base, fine at tip. Ears short, held horizontally (Figure 49). Most males have a longish beard and beards are carried by a proportion of mature females. Males have a short mane to the shoulders.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 49 A Zimbabwe male goat in the high potential Mangwende Communal Area east of Harare

Neck short and strong. Chest deep and well developed. Withers not prominent and lower than sacrum. Back short and straight. Croup very sharply sloping. Legs rather short but reasonably well fleshed.

Colour very variable. Coat of short fine hair.

Products. Meat; (manure).


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 17-20 months (n=68) in north-west area traditional system. Kidding interval: 233 days (n=113) in Chibi; 214 ± 53.3 (s.d.) days (n=52) in north-west. Multiple births: common, 26-39 per cent twin births in 3 communal areas in north-west Zimbabwe. Litter size: 1.32 ± 0.12 (s.d.) (n=621) in north-west.

GROWTH. Average daily gain: 54.6 g (n=621). Mature weights: 27.2 ± 5.8 (s.d.) kg (n=88).

Research. Department of Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe, P.O.Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe. Farming Systems Programme, Department of Research and Specialist Services, P.O.Box 8108, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe.

References. Mombeshora, Agyemang & Wilson, 1985; Hale, 1986.



Synonyms. Chèvre de Fouta Djallon; chèvre guinéenne; chèvre naine.

Origins. An achondroplastic dwarf (Figure 50) with lack of ossification at the cartilage joints. Probably evolved specifically in response to the conditions of the humid forest zone by selection of recessive genes for dwarfism. More or less trypanotolerant.

Sub-types and races. Many are recognised, usually by the name of the country of their location and the type of habitat: Cameroon grassland (Figure 51); Ghana forest (Figure 51); Cote d'Ivoire dwarf (Figure 51); Congo Dwarf. Slightly larger goats than the typical West African Dwarf such as the Mossi of Burkina Faso, goats of southern Mali and the Kirdi of southern Chad and northern Cameroon are also sometimes included in this main type.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 50 West African Dwarf goat scavenging in Abomey market in Benin

Distribution. The true West African Dwarf is considered to be confined to 15 countries in West and Central Africa (Table 32), all of these except the Central African Republic having an Atlantic coastline. An experimental flock is maintained at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. There are many kept as pets and in zoos in the USA where it is known as the African Pygmy and for which there is a breed society. The total population in West Africa is probably about 16 million.

Ecological zones. Essentially confined to humid forest zones with more than 270 growing days per year and rainfall in excess of 1500 mm per year. Most of this zone is infested with the tsetse fly and trypanosome infections are prevalent.

Management systems. Agricultural, urban and (to a lesser extent) agro-pastoral. Owned by many ethnic groups. These goats are often not herded but left to wander in the vicinity of the household or village. Household waste is an important but unquantified source of food in many areas. Flock sizes are usually very small.

NIGERIA. Flock structure, related primarily to meat production, results from very early offtake of males: females 77.0 per cent (55.5 per cent breeding); males 23.0 per cent (3.0 per cent > 12 months). In south-west Nigeria (Ogun and Oyo states) 80 per cent of house-holds own 1.7 to 3.7 goats and far fewer households own lesser numbers of sheep. In south-east Nigeria (Bendel, Anambra, Imo and Rivers states) 92 per cent of households own goats, flock sizes being 7.5 head in those households owning, 6.9 head in all households. The range in flock size for house-holds owning is 1-183, the modal number owned being 3. There is a strong correlation between goat and sheep ownership. Three types of management are evident in south-east Nigeria: free roaming (59 per cent); confined for part of the year (5 per cent); confined the whole year (36 per cent); free range flocks are larger than confined ones. Percentages of households with different flock sizes are: 0=8; 1-4=54; 5-9=11; 10-19=2; >20=5.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 51 West African Dwarf goats of (top) the Cameroon Grassland sub-type at Mankon station, Bamenda, of (centre) the Ghana Forest sub-type in a house compound at Kumasi, and of (bottom) the Cote d'Ivoire type near Abidjan

Table 32 Distribution and importance of the West African Dwarf goat


Sheep and Goats ('000) Goats ('000) WAD goats (per cent of all goats)
Guinea Bissau 200 140






Liberia 440


Sierra Leone 433


Cote d'Ivoire




Ghana 3900 2150 33
Togo 1585


Benin 1910










Congo 211



Equatorial Guinea







Zaire 3664 2900


Central African Republic




Total 59820 38331 38

SENEGAL. West African Dwarf goats are mostly found in Casamance, in the southern part of the country. Almost all families own small ruminants, with more owning goats than sheep. Within families, 60 per cent of adult women and 40 per cent of adult men own either or both species, women owning 60 per cent of both species combined but owning 75 per cent of goats. Individual owners with more than 5 animals are rare, the average holding for each human adult being 2.5 goats and sheep combined. About 68 per cent of households own less than 10 head, these families owning only 32 per cent of the total small ruminants. In Fulani villages, increasing flock sizes are usually a prelude to barter of goats and sheep for cattle. Integration of goats with agriculture is evident from the seasonal feeding patterns. Crop residues are the main source of feed in the dry season from Oct-Mar/Apr, when animals may not be herded but provided with some supplement in the compound to entice them home at night: during the crop growing season animals are individually attached to pickets or herded. Flock structure is related to meat production: females 71.9 per cent (35.2 per cent breeding > 1 year, this low percentage indicating a very high reproductive rate), about 30 per cent not being born in the flock but bought in; males 28.1 per cent (1.4 per cent > 1 year showing very early offtake).

TOGO. Total population about 750 000 head. Approximately 45 per cent of households (- 118 000) own goats. Unlike sheep, goats are evenly distributed throughout the country except for Central Province where there are few. Average flock size is 7: more than 90 per cent of flocks are smaller than 10 head. Most animals are confined or tied individually to stakes and fed on household waste and crop by-products. Flock structure also related to meat production but from males at older ages: females 67 per cent (50 per cent breeding > 1 year); males 33 per cent (15 per cent > 1 year).

Physical characteristics. Markedly dwarfed 30-50 cm. Weight: male 20-25 kg; female 18-22 kg.

Strong head, bulging forehead, profile straight or slightly dished, narrow muzzle, lower jaw slightly longer than upper.

Horns in both sexes: curl outwards and backwards in males and fairly strong; light, sharp and pointing upwards and backwards in females. Ears short to medium length, narrow, carried horizontally. Toggles present occasionally in both sexes. Males normally bearded and with a weak mane; females occasionally have beards; degree of bearding varies greatly according to sub-type.

Neck strong and fairly long. Chest broad and deep, girth much greater than height (60-70 cm). Back straight and long. Croup well developed. Legs extremely short. Udder small but usually well shaped.

Colour very variable according to region, dark brown with black points possibly commonest but blacks, whites, reds, pied and mixed colours also occur. Coat usually of stiff short hair, longer hair with a varying degree of waviness in some sub-types.

Products. Meat (skin is eaten with meat).


Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 52 Distribution of parturitions in 3 traditionally man-aged populations of West African Dwarf goats in: a. Nigeria, b. Togo and c. Senegal

REPRODUCTION. First kidding: 12-18 months; 19.8 months at Ibadan University research farm; 17.0 + 4.56 (s.d.) months (n=206) in ILCA study of traditional system in south-western Nigeria; 361 ± 93 days (n=166) in Senegal; 450 ± 83 days (n=47) in Togo. Kidding interval: means of several studies vary between 228 and 283 days in overall range of 210-290; first interval 267 ± 49 (s.d.) days and subsequent intervals 219 + 27 at Ibadan; 283 ± 88.4 (n=350) in ILCA study; 206 ± 43.6 (s.d.) days (n=9) at Kumasi in traditional system; first interval 258 days (n=127) and subsequent intervals 231 days (n=293.) in Senegal; 208 + 38 (s.d.) days (n=201) in Togo where births occur, as they do almost throughout the type's range, all the year (Figure 52). Multiple births: very numerous; twins extremely common, triplets common, occasional quadruplets; 19.1 per cent single, 53.6 twin, 27.4 triplet at Ibadan; 32.7 per cent single, 54.0 twin, 12.8 triplet, 0.6 quadruplet in Togo; 55.1 per cent single, 40.0 per cent twin, 4.9 per cent triplet overall in Senegal traditional system changing from 80.7 per cent single and 0.3 per cent triplet at first parturition to 26.2 per cent single and 21.3 per cent triplet at sixth and subsequent parturitions. Litter size: 1.40-1.85; 1.56 ± 0.60 (s.d.) (n=890) in ILCA study where increased from 1.2 for dams < 20 months to 1.80 for dams > 40 months; 1.50 ± 0.575 (n=54) at Kumasi; 1.84 in Togo with primiparous does producing 1.18 kids per parturition and fourth to eighth parities all producing more than 2.00; 1.48 in Senegalese traditional system rising from 1.17 at first parity through 1.38, 1.55, 1.74 and 1.86 at second to fifth parities and then 1.95 at sixth and higher parities and with some evidence of slightly larger litter sizes in Mar-May related to conception in the post rains period and also in Oct related to conception in the early rains. Annual reproductive rate: 1.86-2.96; 2.01 in ILCA study. Oestrus cycle: 21.9 ± 0.58 (s.d.) in range 16-25 days with heat lasting 16.4-40.0 hours; no observed seasonality. Gestation period: 144.6 ± 0.93 (s.d.) in range 142-149 days; 146 ± 3.3 days (n=124) at Wageningen, single 147.5, twin 146.4, triplet 149.1 (s.d.) days.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 1.04-1.62 kg; 1.57 ± 0.513 (s.d.) kg (n=657) in ILCA study; in Ghana male single 1.45, twin 1.22, triplet 1.04 and female single 1.24, twin 1.25, triplet 1.06; in Togo 1.1 kg, male 1.2 ± 0.2, female 1.1 ± 0.2, twin (not distinguished by sex) 1.0 ± 0.2; single born females from primiparous does 1.5 kg, from multiparous does 2.1, twin born females from primiparous and multiparous does 1.1 in Senegalese traditional system. Weight for age: 3 months-4.6 ± 1.28 (s.d.) (n=657), 9-6.0 ± 1.58 (n=127), 12-9.5 ± 3.16 kg (n=127) in ILCA study; females with 1 pair permanent incisors in Togo-8.5, 2 pairs-11.7, 3 pairs-13.8, full mouth-17.4 kg; heavier weights at comparable ages recorded in traditional system in southern Senegal (Table 33). Average daily gain: birth-90 days - 35, 90-150 - 20, 150-365 - 16 g in ILCA study; birth-weaning - males 88.1 females 83.4, singles 95.0 twins 87.0 triplets 74.0 g at Wageningen under intensive feeding of 60 g concentrate per day per kg0.75; post-weaning-10 months - 52 g at Wageningen. Post-partum weights: first kidding does (361 days) 15.9 kg (=58 per cent of maximum weight), second kidders (619 days) 19.3 kg, third kidders (856 days) 21.8 kg, and fourth and subsequent kidders 25.2 kg.

Table 33 Weights (kg) at specific ages of West African Dwarf goats in a southern Senegal traditional system as affected by different variables (n=933 animals at 1 month)

Sex and Birth type

Age (months)









Overall average









single primiparous









single multiparous









twin primiparous









twin multiparous









triplet multiparous









single primiparous









single multiparous









twin primiparous









twin multiparous









triplet multiparous









MILK. Lactation length: 126 days in Nigeria. Yield: 320 ± 20 g/d with peak of 710 g at about 40 days. Composition: DM 19.2 per cent; fat 8.3 per cent; protein 5.1 per cent; lactose 4.5 per cent; energy 123 Kcal/100 g.

MEAT. Dressing percentage: 63 at live weight of 23.5 kg. Carcass composition: meat/bone ratio 0.41.

Carcass has more fat than dwarf sheep in the same environment.

Research. Department of Animal Production, University of Ife, IleIfe, Nigeria. Humid Zones Programme, International Livestock Centre for Africa, P.M.B. 5320, Ibadan, Nigeria. Laboratoire national de l'élevage et de recherches vétérinaires, Institut sénégalais des recherches agricoles, BP 2057, Dakar-Hann, Senegal. Institut de recherches zootechniques, BP 1457, Yaoundé, Cameroun. Societé pour le Développement de la Production Animale, BP 1249, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire. Department of Tropical Animal Production, Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands.

References. Epstein, 1953; Akinsoyinu, Mba & Olubajo, 1975; Mba, Boyo & Oyenuga, 1975; Akinsoyinu, Mba & Olubajo, 1977; Matthewman, 1980; Ademosun & Adebowale, 1981; Oppong & Yebuah, 1981; Mack, 1983; Togo, 1983; Akusu & Egbunike, 1984; Ngere, Adu & Okubanjo, 1984; Bourzat, 1985 (includes extensive bibliography); Ademosun, Bosman & Roessen, 1985; Asare & Wilson, 1986; Amégee, 1988; Francis, 1988; Hadzi, 1988a; ISRA, 1988.



Origins. Probably from the Himalaya region. Modern development dates from the middle of the 16th century in the Angora region of Turkey. Mohair production was a Turkish monopoly until the early 19th century.

Distribution. Southern Africa including the Republic of South Africa (which is now the world's main mohair producing area) and Lesotho. Also in Kenya. World distribution includes Turkey and southern Texas.

The first importation into South Africa was of 12 bucks (rendered sterile by the Turks) and one female in 1838. The female gave birth to a male kid and this became the foundation of the South African national flock. Other Turkish importations were made until 1896. By 1900 the breed was widespread over much of what is now the Republic of South Africa. Angoras were already present in 1900 in Lesotho. It is probable that Lesotho Angoras arrived by two main routes -- thefts from Republic farms by returning labourers and purchases from these farms by the same labourers. Labourers probably also received goats in lieu of cash wages and imported them to Lesotho. In 1908 the Lesotho administration imported 35 bucks and a further 140 were imported in 1910. No stud is established in Lesotho and 275 bucks were imported from South Africa in 1986. The Angora goat population was estimated at 1.0 million in Lesotho in 1986 and it is so important to the economy that it is depicted on a coin (Figure 53).

Commercial keeping of Angoras started on the Laikipia plateau in Kenya in 1920 when a Mrs Carnegie bought two South African bucks from the Naivasha Experimental Station. These were bred to local white or other light-coloured goats and the current flock, following continued importation of South African bucks, is considered among the best in the world outside the major stud flocks in South Africa. Two other Kenya breeders started flocks in the Laikipia area later in the 1920s but these flocks were later amalgamated, the joint flock now numbering about 3000 animals. Total pure and high-grade Angoras in Kenya is less than 4000.

Ecological zones. Semi-arid in South Africa. Highland sub-humid and mountainous areas in Lesotho. Upland semi-arid in Kenya.

Management systems. Ranching, pastoral and agro-pastoral. Producer cooperatives in Lesotho had 1877 members in 1982 and 4234 in 1986. Two large scale commercial flocks in Kenya.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 53 A Lesotho coin attesting to the importance of the Angora goat to the country

About 23 per cent of Lesotho households own goats, those owning goats only having a flock of 25.2 animals, those combining goats with sheep owning a flock of 55.0 animals. Older household heads are more likely to own, and own larger, flocks than younger ones. Only 12 per cent of flocks are owned or managed by women whose flocks are small.

Physical characteristics. Small size.

The South African Angora Goat Stud Breeders' Society has standards of which the following is an abridged version. The flock-book was closed to non-registered does in 1969, since when new members must buy animals from registered breeders.

Head bold in males, forehead wide, muzzle strong, mouth small. Hair should grow on forehead and down sides of face.

Horns present in both sexes: thick in males, set at least 2.5 cm apart at the base and spreading upwards, backwards and outwards; less heavy in females but also set apart and sloping backwards and out-wards; colour should not be wholly black. Ears long and lopped. "Beard" of mohair in males and females.

Neck long, well covered with hair. Chest deep with well sprung ribs. Back and underline straight. Croup full, not falling away. Legs straight and well set, well covered with hair. Tail straight and also covered with hair. Colour should be white as colour-ed hair reduces commercial value. Traces of colour persist in grade goats for many generations. Hair not excessively curly or straight, fine, dense and long (Figure 54).

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 54 An Angora buck, imported from South Africa, at a Lesotho government stud

Products. Mohair ("Angora" wool).

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 55 Angora goat fertility in different age groups in South Africa


REPRODUCTION. First kidding: first bred after eruption of first pair of perm-anent incisors in Kenya, first birth therefore at about 20 months; earlier in Lesotho traditional system. Kidding interval: once a year in Kenya (5 months gestation + 5 months suckling + l?-2 months rest). Multiple births: uncommon; twinning rate about 5 per cent. Kidding percentage: about 70 in Kenya, less in primiparous does as they are shy and poor mothers; up to 90 in mature does in South Africa (Figure 55).

Male Angoras show a "rut" in part of the year only when beard and caudal glands exude a dark, smelly, fluid.

GROWTH. Birth weight: 2.0-3.5 kg.

HAIR. Yield: 0.82 kg per head in Lesotho (507 t) in 1976, 0.80 kg (788 t) in 1986 (Figure 56); first-clip kids yield about 1.0 kg at 6 months in Kenya and mature females about 3.0 kg per year in 2 clips; in South Africa total production of Mohair in 1984 was 8.1 million kg from 1.9 million goats equivalent to an average yield of 4.26 kg. Fibre length: 15 cm at 6 months. Fibre diameter: 27-32 um.

Kemp should only be present at base of horns: kemp constitutes about 44 per cent of fibres at birth but this is reduced to 7 per cent at 3 months. Breaking strength of single fibres about 0.42 g/um (wool 0.31) and tensile strength about 2154 kg/cm2 (wool 1510 kg/cm2). The fleece can be washed on the goat but this should be at least 14 days before shearing to allow grease to redevelop. In Kenya kid mohair is baled separately from adult hair and carried a premium of about US$ 4 per kg in 1984 (US$ 18 compared to US$ 14). Urine-stained mohair is also baled separately but no other sorting is done in Kenya. Kenya hair (about 4 tonnes) is exported to Switzerland and used mainly for fine suitings and knitting yarns but also in space suits as it is radiation resistant.

Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa

Figure 56 Technical and financial productivity of Angora goats in Lesotho

Research. South African Mohair Growers' Association.

References. van der Westhuysen, Wentzel & Grobler, 1985; Makhooane, 1987; Hunter, 1989; L. Carnegie, pers.comm.

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