|Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (7) 2014||Guide for preparation of papers||LRRD Newsletter||
Citation of this paper
The study was conducted in Enebse Sar Midir district of East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia, with the main objective of investigating the smallholder goat husbandry practices. For the study, data were collected by interviewing 150 sample households who are selected purposively from three agro ecologies using semi-structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed using SPSS (version 16). The survey result showed that the major feed source and water sources for goats were natural pasture (48.7%) and river water (81.3%), respectively. Goats are housed for protection from adverse climatic conditions and predators. The most common type of goat house in the study area is the one which is constructed attached to the family house sharing the common wall. Majority (80.7%) of farmers in the study area practice castration of goats for the purpose of fattening and selling. The majority (54.5%) of farmers in the area used modern method (using Burdizzo) of castration. The major reason for culling of goats in the area was reported to be old age (48.9%). The overall mean age at first kidding and kidding interval was reported to be 12.2 ± 0.17and 7.39 ± 0.09 months, respectively. Disease and parasites and feed shortage were reported to be the two major constraints of goat production in the area. Even though the current productivity of goats in the area is fairly good, full potential need to be exploited by improving husbandry practices, applying appropriate disease prevention methods and applying strategic forage development and feeding practices.
Key words: castration practice, constraints, culling practice
Animal husbandry is the major occupation in agriculture, which from time memorial have played a significant role in improving the rural economy. Livestock sector is directly linked to the livelihoods of more than 70% of rural households. Cattle wealth is still considered as an index of wealth among rural community (Chinnaiah 2012). Apart from generating employment and income, it also provides products like milk, meat, egg, wool, bone, skin, hide, offal, manure (dung) and draught power (Sivapathi 2011). Mismanagement (poor feeding, watering), poor hygiene and precarious housing conditions all contributed to the incidence of disease and high mortality and low productivity of goats (Niekerk and Pimentel 2004).
Small ruminants are integral part of livestock keeping in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that are mainly kept for immediate cash sources, milk, meat, wool, manure, and saving or risk distribution (Kosgey 2004). Rearing of small ruminants (shoats) plays a very important role in the lives of households in developing countries. This is because small ruminants provide the easiest and most readily accessible source of credit available to meet immediate social and financial obligations (Isaac and Titilayo 2012).
According to Lebbie (2004), goats account for about 30% of Africa's ruminant livestock population and contribute to about 17 and 12% of the total meat and milk production, respectively. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for over 60% of the total goat population in Africa, with estimated 147 million goats representing about 80 indigenous breeds or strains distributed across all agro ecological zones and ruminant livestock production systems.
Ethiopia is home to the largest population of livestock in Africa (NABC 2010; CSA 2012). Recent estimates from Ethiopian central statistical agency put the total number of goats to be about 24.2 million. These figures do not take into account livestock in the predominantly non-sedentary pastoralist regions of Somali and Afar, which means that the total number of livestock in Ethiopia is significantly higher than these figures (CSA 2012).
Enebse Sar Midir district is the area with 53% lowland which is suitable for small ruminant production and has higher number of sheep and goat next to cattle population. Despite there is potential in the area, productivity of goats is affected by different factors. Therefore the objective of this paper is to describe the husbandry practice and to assess constraints and opportunities of goat production in order to plan and design appropriate research and development interventions that are relevant for better improvement.
The study was conducted in Enebsie Sar Midir district, East Gojjam Zone of Amhara National Regional State. The district town (Mertule Mariam) is found 370 km Northeast direction from Addis Ababa and 180 km southeast from Bahir Dar (the Regional Capital City).The district is located at 10° 52' North latitude and 38° 17' East longitudes and at an average altitude of 2650 meter above sea level. It has an average annual rainfall of 1053 mm (941 mm - 1203 mm) and mean temperature of 23.63 °C which ranges from 22.5 °C to 25 °C (Agri-service Ethiopia 2004; WFEDO 2010). Even though the district has uni-modal rainfall pattern which usually starts around June and stops in September, there is a chance of getting little shower rain from February to April. However the rainfall pattern in the area is inconsistent and inadequate particularly for long season crops.
Both primary and secondary data were collected on various aspects of goat husbandry practices and productivity. Primary data were collected from 150 sample respondents through semi structured questionnaire. Focus group discussion was also held to strengthen the information collected from the questionnaire survey. The questionnaire covers various aspects of goat husbandry practices and productivity parameters such as socio-economic characteristics of households, purposes of keeping goats, feeds and feeding, breeding systems and reproductive performance of goat, opportunities and constraints, and other husbandry practices.
Multistage sampling technique was used to select sample respondents. Agro-ecology was used to stratify the peasant association (PAs) in the district.
In the second stage, proportional sampling technique was used to determine the number of sample PAs from each stratum. In this manner, three PAs from the lowland, two PAs from the midland and one PA from the highland, a total of six PAs were selected. PAs were selected with dry season road accessibility. Finally, sample households used for the study were selected using simple random selection method after identifying the goat owners from the community. Households with at least two goats were selected for the survey. Accordingly, 25 households from each PA (a total of 150 households) were randomly selected to participate in the interview.
Data collected were organized, summarized and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 16.). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data.
The majority of the small ruminants owning households were male headed (90.7%). Female headed household in this particular study refers to either the husband has died or they are divorce. Marital status of most of the respondent was married (88.7) while the rest of the respondents are widowed (2.0%), single (3.3%) and divorced (6.0%). All of the households were Orthodox Christians. The majorities (56.7%) of the interviewed household heads were literate. The occupations of majority of households that are included in the study are farmers (97.3%) followed by students (2.0%) and government employees (0.7). The proportion of respondents above sixty years were very low (8.7%) and most of them (91.3%) were between 19 and 60 years.
The main aims of keeping goats in Enebse Sar Midir district is presented in (Table 1). The ranking index indicated that sale (income sources) 46% , meat consumption 26%, and saving 20% were the first three major reasons of keeping goats in the area, respectively. Similar to this finding, small ruminants are reared in many parts of the country mainly for income generation (Tsedeke Kocho 2007; Getahun legesse 2008; Tekleyohannes Berhanu et al 2012). This implies that sale of sheep and goats to generate cash constitute the primary purpose among others to rear flocks.
|Table 1. Purpose of keeping goats by households in the study area|
|Purpose of keeping Goats||Response of HH in %(N=150)||Weight||Index||Rank|
|Sale (income source)||121(80.7)||22(14.7)||2(1.3)||409||0.46||1|
|Social and cultural functions||0||0||21(14.0)||21||0.023||5|
|Distribute benefits/risks with other animals||1(0.7)||0||11(7.3)||12||0.01||6|
|Index = sum of [3 * respondents in rank 1 + 2 * respondents in rank 2 + 1 * respondents in rank 3] for particular purpose divided by sum of [ 3 * respondents in rank 1 + 2 * respondents in rank 2 + 1 * respondents in rank 3] for all purpose; N= Number of respondents; HH= households; Numbers in brackets are percentages.|
In the study area, availability of different feed types varies based on the season of the year. From the feed type that are available in all season, natural pasture accounts the largest proportion (48.7 %) followed by local brewery by product (atella) (44%). The other feed types such as grazing after math, private gazing land, concentrates, weed and crop tillers are season dependant feed type. For majority of respondents weeds (46%) are abundant feed resources for goats from September to November and grazing aftermath (62.7%), local brewery byproducts atella (40.7%), food leftover (43.3%) and crop residues (50%) are more abundant from December to February. Most of the feed sources are not available for most respondents from March to May. In this season, most of the respondents face shortage of feed for their goats. In line with this many authors (Tesfaye Tsegaye 2008; Belete Shenkutie 2009; Tsedeke Kocho 2009) indicated that natural pasture is the main feed source for sheep and goats.
In Enebse Sar Midir district, the majority of goat owners (96%) feed crop residues for their goats. But the type of crop residue used for goat feed varies based on ago-ecologies of the area due to the variation in agronomic practice.
Majority of the farmers (86.7 %) in the area reported feed shortage problem especially in dry season. The reported reasons were cultivation, settlement and protection of grazing lands (65.4 %%); increase in human population (26.9%) and decline in the productivity of grazing land (3.8%).
From the total respondents, 51.3% of them keep sheep and goats together followed by 30.7% who keep goats with other livestock during grazing. The practice of keeping goats alone during grazing is not common which accounts only 19.3%. The reason for keeping goats with sheep and other livestock is to save labor for keeping different livestock classes. In contrast to this, Belete Shenkutie (2009) reported that the tendency of keeping small ruminants with large ruminant is lower in Goma district of Jimma zone, this because of their feeding behavior.
Important water sources of goats in the study area are rivers, ponds and rain. In dry season, 81.3 % of HHs used river water. Belete Shenkute (2009) also reported that the major water source (56.9%) for small ruminants in Gomma district is river. In rainy season, the major water source is rain (42 %) followed by river water which accounts 30.7%. In contrast to this, Endeshaw Assefa (2007) found that ponds are the main water sources during the wet season while in dry season; rivers are most common water sources.
In three agro ecologies, the majority of respondents from lowland (52%), midland (64%) and highland (84%) responded that the distance from watering point of goat is within 1-5 kilometer during the dry season. Whereas 40% from lowland, 36% from midland and 16% from highland travel less than a kilometer to water their goats in dry season. Some proportion of respondents 6.7% and 1.3% in lowland area travel 6-10 km and greater than10 km, respectively, in dry season. According to Endeshaw Assefa (2007), in moist Kola during dry season 86.7% and 13.3% of respondents travel to watering point 6 to 10 km and above 10 km, respectively.
In wet season, the majority of respondents (68.7%) travel less than a kilometer to water their goats followed by (31.3%) respondent who travel 1-5 kilometer. According to Endeshaw Assefa (2007), during the wet season only 20% of respondents in Moist Kola travel 6-10 Km to water their goats and can be available within less than 1Km for most of them. Similarly, water is available with in less than a kilometer for most (>75%) of farmers in the other two agro ecologies.
Watering frequency for goats in Enebse Sar Midir district varies from season to season and from area (agro ecologies) to area. During the dry season, the majority of farmers in lowland (53.3%), and in midland (76%) of respondents provide water for their goats once a day whereas; in highland area, 80% of farmers provide their goats with water every two days interval. But in wet season, 86.7% of respondents in lowland, 100.0% in mid land and 28.0% in highland provide water for their goats any time when goats require water. This result agrees with the result of Endeshaw Assefa (2007) on which more than 90% of the respondents provide their animals with water once a day. According to Tesfaye Tsegaye (2008), almost all of the respondents allow their goats to drink water once per day. However, during the wet season, 22.2% and 38.9% of farmers allowed their flock to drink water freely as they want.
All farmers in Enebse Sar Midir district shelter their goats during the night to protect them from predators and adverse climatic conditions. Small ruminant are sheltered for protection in most rural communities such as, southern part of Ethiopia (Endeshew Assefa 2007; Tsedeke Kocho 2007); and Metama district (Tesfaye Tsegaye 2009). However, places of sheltering and type of house vary. In Enebse Sar Midir district, goats are sheltered in most cases in a house attached to the main house. Most of households (52.7%) in the area used a house attached to the main house for goats. According to Tsedeke Kocho (2007), about 98.6% of respondents accommodate their flocks in the main houses together with the family members.
The majority (80.7 %) of farmers interviewed castrate their goats for different purposes. This result is in line with farmers in Alaba district, Southern Ethiopia (Tsedeke Kocho 2008) where 91.3% of respondents reported to castrate their male animals. Similarly in Goma district of Jimma zone (Belete Shenkute 2009) reported that most of the farmers castrate their animals to add value. In the study area, the majority of people (57%) castrate their goats at the age of ≥1.5-2 years. The rest of respondents 13.2%, 1.6%, 1.6%, and 26.4%, indicated to castrate their goats at the age of < 1year, ≥1-1.5 year, ≥2-2.5 year, and ≥2.5 years, respectively. This result showed that unless farmers are educated to castrate their goats before 3 months, the severity of inbreeding problem is high. In agreement with this, in Alaba district of Southern Ethiopia (Tsedeke Kocho 2007) the average age of castration was reported to be 1.1 year for sheep and 1.6 year for goats.
The majority of respondents (76.85%) in Enebse Sar Midir district castrate their animals to fatten and sell followed by 20.67 % to tame their goats. This result agrees with finding in Alaba district, Sothern Ethiopia, where the major reason of castration by 68.7% of the total respondents was to fatten and sale.
In the study area, the majority of farmers (54.55 %) use modern method using Burdizzo for castration and the rest 45.45% used traditional methods due to low accessibility of the equipment to the farmers. In line with this Belete Shenkute (2009) reported that farmers mostly took their animal to nearby veterinary clinic to be castrated by burdizzo (60.2%) while 38.3% used traditional methods. In Goma district, most farmers are familiar to use Burdizzo may be due to the availability of veterinary clinic within the vicinity in most places and its wider usage in the area. On other hand, Tsedeke Kocho (2007) reported that traditional methods of castration as the major method used in Alaba and only 10% used burdizzo.
The majority of farmers (92.7%) in Enebse Sar Midir district practice culling of goats due to various reasons. The reason for culling goats varied in different agro- ecologies. In low land area the major reason of culling is old age (53.8%). In high land the major reason was health problem (54.2%). The overall reason of culling in the area was old age (48.9%), Reproductive problem (18.7%), health problem (15.8%), and unwanted physical characteristics (black color) (15.8%).
In the study area, 77.3 % of the respondents reported to practice selection of breeding male and female goats but, the practice of selection breeding was not deliberately performed rather, they allow mating with whichever buck is around when the doe show signs of heat. From the total respondents 49.3 % of farmers have their owned breeding male from their flock, while the rest 50.7 % of farmers use breeding males from neighbor's flock. Most households retain young male for castration and fattening and the majority of breeding rams and bucks originated from the same or another village.
In Enebse Sar Midir district, most of the kidding was observed from September to November (68%) followed by from December to February (18.7%). According to the respondents' view there is better feed availability from June up to august that initiates goats for mating. According to Tesfaye Tsegaye (2009), for 58.0% of goat owners, major breeding time of the flocks is between November and January. Until crops are harvested, flocks are usually tethered and maintained under nutritional stress. Between November and January, immediately after harvest, the flocks freely graze grazing aftermaths (stubbles). Thus, adequate nutrition for reproductive process and access to breeding males creates favorable situation to the reported intensive flock breeding.
The major important reported goat diseases in the study area are presented in Table 2. The major diseases that affected productivity of goats in the area includes, Fentata (Goat pox), Sal (Lung warm), Kizen (Diarrhoe), yesanba mich (pneumonia), mantie (Antrax), adifik (Pasteurellosis), Afemaze (Foot and Mouth Disease), Berere (Fasciolosis). From the above listed diseases, Antrax is the most common disease that was reported by the majority of farmers (90%). Sudden death with bleeding through opening and swelling around the neck, teat and throat were the most commonly observed symptoms of disease in the area which are the common sign of Antrax and Goat pox.
From the interviewed households, 62.7% of them are accustomed with treating their animals at public veterinary clinics while the rest 24.7% and 12.7 treat their goats with traditional medicines and by medicines purchased from private drug venders, respectively.
|Table 2. Reported goat disease in Enebse Sar Midir district|
|Reported symptoms||Expected disease types||Response of HH N(%)|
|Local name||Common Name|
|Sudden death with bleeding through opening||Mantie||Antrax||135(90.0)|
|Swelling around the teat and openings||Fentata(Agureberebe)||Goat pox||105(70.0)|
|Wound around mouth||Afemaze||FMD||73(48.7)|
|Emaciation, loss of appetite||Kizzen||Diarrhea||48(32.0)|
|Dischargeof fluid from nose||Adifik||Pasturolosis||11(7.3)|
|Swelling in the neck region||Berere||Faciolosis||10(6.7)|
|High fever, coughing||Yesanba mich||Pneumonia||2(1.3)|
|N=Number of respondents; HH=households; Numbers in brackets are percentage|
In Enebse Sar Midir district, herding of goat is mainly undertaken by sons (64.7%). House wives are primarily responsible for cleaning goat barn (40%) and taking care of kids (24%) while husband is responsible for works such as taking care of sick animals (58%), fattening management (53.7%), and construction of goat barn (66.7%). According to the findings of this study, 69.3 % of decisions on use of income were made by both husband and wife and 30% of the decision is made by husband only.
Reproductive performance of goats in the area is presented in Table 3. The overall mean age at first kidding and kidding interval of goats obtained was 12.2± 0.17 months and 7.4 ± 0.09 months, respectively. The overall mean litter size of goats is 1.9 ± 0.03 kids per parturition.
The mean age of slaughtering female goats in Enebse Sar Midir district was 6.2 ± 0.11 months while the mean age of slaughtering male goats in the study area was 5.8 ± 0.09 months. Most of the time, the majority of farmers (91.3%) in the study area prefer male goats for slaughtering and while female goats for breeding.
|Table 3. Mean ± (S.E) of some reproductive traits of goats|
|Age at first kidding (months)||12.0±0.25||12.2± 0.29||12.4±0.38||0.694||12.2±0.17|
|Kidding interval (months)||7.16±0.13b||7.44± 0.51ab||7.96±0.18a||0.007||7.39±0.09|
|Average litter sizes (single, twin, triplets)||1.84 ±0.04||1.9±0.04||1.84±0.08||0.326||1.87±0.03|
|Slaughter age (months) /marketing age ( Female)||6.07±0.166||6.44±0.21||6.28±0.14||0.313||6.23±0.11|
|Slaughter age (months /marketing age (Male)||5.67±0.13||6.04±0.16||5.96±0.17||0.133||5.83±0.09|
|abMeans with different letters in the same row differ at p<0.05; N=Number of respondents|
The major constraints of goat production in the study area were disease and parasite (43%), feed and grazing land shortage (35%), drought (16 %) water shortage (3.1%). In agreement with this, Tesfaye Tsegaye (2009) reported that disease is the major constraints of goats in Metema. According to Tsedeke Kocho (2007), diseases and parasites are overriding problems in sheep and goat production followed by feed and nutrition. But according to Belete Shenkutie (2009) feed and grazing land shortage were the most limiting constraint (74.4%) in small ruminant production in Gomma district of Jimma Zone followed by disease and parasite and then lack of input (71.3%) as a third major constraint and predators (68.1%) as a fourth constraint.
Enebse Sar Midir district is a place in Amhara region where 53% of its land is kola with ragged land surfaces and difficult for agricultural activities (there is enough land which is not utilized for food crop production). This problem forces the farmers in the area to practice subsistence farming and still supported by the safety net program of the government to achieve their day to day food demand. Therefore, the existence of large unmanaged land can be taken as a great opportunity of goat production in the area if the extension system supports forage development (specifically feed conservation during excess time) and, the land is managed properly. As respondents indicated, the immediate return in goat production can be also taken as opportunity for farmers to overcome their existing problem.
The improvement in veterinary service from time to time, availability of improved forage seeds, the improvement in extension service from time to time, availability of ATVET College in the district and presence of NGOs such as Alem Birihan are also some opportunities to be engaged in goat production in Enebse Sar Midir district.
Moreover the demand for mutton and goat meat have been increasing due to an increase in income and increased population hence there is a growing demand for sheep and goats in both the domestic and export markets. Young male flocks have huge demand by the export abattoirs. With the increased competitiveness in the market, farmers have bright future to change their living condition if they produce goats in adequate quality and quantity. The establishment of slaughtering and meat processing facilities like ASHRAF in agro industry in Bahir Dar (only 100 Km from this district) and the increment in price of goats can be also taken as an opportunity to engage in goat production.
The authors would like to thank Mertule Mariam ATVET College for providing different facilities for the field work. We are also thankful to goat owners in Enebse Sar Midir district for providing information.
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Received 10 February 2014; Accepted 21 June 2014; Published 1 July 2014
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