Environmental influences on pre-weaning growth performances and mortality rates of extensively managed Somali goats in Eastern Ethiopia
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Bahir Dar University, PO Box 1866, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Records of 326 Somali goats born from 1994 to 2004 in eastern Ethiopia were used to assess effects of major environmental factors on growth and survival traits. Year of birth had significant effect (P<0.01) on birth weight, pre-weaning daily weight gain and weaning weight of kids. Male kids had higher (P<0.01) birth weight (3.35±0.18kg vs. 3.04±0.18kg), pre-weaning daily weight gain (61.60±7.06g vs. 55.87±7.15g) and weaning weight (12.27±0.89kg vs. 11.10±0.91kg) than female kids. Kids born from fifth parity dams had the least birth weight (2.98±0.23kg) and the highest pre-weaning mortality rate (33.33%) than those born from dams younger than fifth parity. Similarly, single born kids had heavier birth weight (3.17±0.06kg vs. 2.30± 0.20kg), higher pre-weaning daily weight gain (55.80±2.22g vs. 47.31±7.92g), higher weaning weight (11.47±0.28kg vs. 9.50±1.00kg) and less pre-weaning mortality rate (8.78 vs. 42.86%) than twin born kids. Similarly, mortality rate was found to be the highest (75%) in kids weighing <1.5kg. Improving feeding management for pregnant and lactating dams to assure moderate birth weight and adequate quantity of milk for twin born kids, and stringent culling practice of dams beyond fourth parity can be suggested to improve the productivity of Somali goats.