Reproductive performance of the Galla and Toggenburg goats and their crosses in Mwingi district, Kenya
Goats are an important component of mixed and sustainable livestock and agriculture farming systems in the tropics and form an integral component of the livestock sector in Kenya. Three exotic breeds, the Toggenburg, the German Alpine and the Saanen have been introduced in various parts of the country by a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO). Since their introduction, their reproductive performance and that of their crosses has not been documented in most parts of the country. Retrospective data from 311 animals comprising Galla, Toggenburg and their crosses over a seven year period was obtained in order to determine and compare their reproductive performance in Nzeluni division of Mwingi District in Kenya. Goats in the study area were kept under extensive conditions. There was occasional supplementation for the pure Toggenburg with acacia seeds during the dry season. Breeding was natural and kidding occurred throughout the year with peaks in February and August. The average age at first kidding (AFK) was 1066.7 ± 37.7 (x ± s.e) and 976.0 ± 79 days for the Galla x Toggenburg cross and the Toggenburg respectively. The average kidding intervals (KI) were 464.6 ± 28.7, 439.2 ± 39.5 and 371.7 ± 63.1 days for the Galla, Galla x Toggenburg crosses and Toggenburg breeds respectively. The effect of breed on the litter size and number of services per conception (NSC) was significant (p< 0.05). The average litter size were 1.25 ± 0.02, 1.29 ± 0.04, and 1.0 ± 0.07 for the Galla, Galla x Toggenburg crosses and Toggenburg respectively while the average number of services per conception was 1.6 ± 0.05 and 1.36 ± 0.07 for the Galla and Galla x Toggenburg crosses, respectively. In spite of feed supplementation, the purebred Toggenburg performance was lower than that observed in the Galla and the Galla x Toggenburg crosses. The study indicated that the Galla x Toggenburg cross was a better genotype in terms of reproductive performance, under the Mwingi district conditions hence better adapted to the area than the pure Toggenburg.