Les tiques dans un monde en évolution - Ticks in a changing world - Las garrapatas en un mundo en evolución - 74/75 - 1993/1-2. (FAO, 1993, 32 p.)
close this bookLes tiques dans un monde en évolution - Ticks in a changing world - Las garrapatas en un mundo en evolución - 74/75 - 1993/1-2. (FAO, 1993, 32 p.)
close this folderThe local Malawi goat
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOrigin and ecological distribution of the breed
View the documentPhysical characteristics
View the documentReproduction and breeding efficiency
View the documentFeeding and feeding systems
View the documentProduction characteristics
View the documentDiseases and parasites
View the documentFinal remarks
View the documentBibliography

The local Malawi goats resemble the small East African goat breed. The goats are hardy and small- to medium-sized and the hair is short. In many cases, horns are present, pointing backwards. Beard and sometimes wattles are seen, and ears are mostly short and prick-type. They have a wide range of colours, including black, black-and-tan, red-and-white and grey. Sometimes they look like deer, with a black line of hair extending down the back and up to the tail, as is common with deer-like goats. Face patterns are variable.

Weight and size

The birth weight of the kids is influenced by breed, age of the dam, season of birth, sex and litter size (McDowell, 1977). Single-birth kids weigh 0.4 to 0.5 kg more than multiple-birth kids (Table 1). Weaning weights are lower in female than in male kids by 3.4 to 8 kg. At birth the weight of multiple-birth kids is 80 percent, and at weaning 69 percent, of the weight of single-birth kids. This demonstrates that multiple-birth kids grow slightly faster than single-birth kids, although single-birth kids still show a weight advantage throughout their lives. Kids born in the early part of the dry season (April/May) tend to be heavier than those born later in the year (November/December), probably because of the availability of browse shrubs and trees, including field crop residues, coupled with lower parasitic infestation during the dry season (Reynolds, 1979). Mature weight of local Malawi goats is about 21 to 28 kg, with a body length of 61 cm and a heart girth of 66 cm. These are close to the values given by Devendra and McLeroy (1982).

Pre-weaning and post-weaning performance of kids

The birth weights, weaning weights and growth rates of local kids only have been discussed above. Attention will now be given to studies that have compared the growth rates of local Malawi kids with those of Boer x local Malawi cross-bred kids reared on both smallholder and government farms. In both cases, all animals depended on the grazing and browsing of natural vegetation. During the night, these animals were kept in kid kholas (houses) or in the farmers' houses themselves in the case of smallholders.

Preliminary results of the cross-breeding programme at a government farm in central Malawi show that the birth weights of the half-bred kids are about 15 to 19 percent higher than those of the local kids, and those of the three-quarter-bred kids (75 percent Boer) about 50 percent higher (Table 2).

During the dry season (May to November) of 1984, body weights and deaths were recorded for local Malawi kids and local Malawi x Boer kids at Mkoche village in the Chief Chadza area of Unit 31 of Lilongwe Agricultural Development Division. Mkoche village, about 10 km from Bunda College, has an average annual rainfall of 875 mm. The kids (pure and cross-bred) were weighed within one week of birth (initial body weight) and then weighed monthly over the following four months (the last month taken as the weaning weight). Records of deaths were also kept. The data collected are summarized in Table 3. Pre-weaning body weight changes of the local Malawi kids were better than those of the cross-bred kids. However, there was no significant difference (P>0.05) between the local and the cross-bred kids in terms of weaning weight (fourth-month weight). This supports the previous observations of Ayoade and Butterworth (1982). It may be because the milk from the dams of the cross-bred kids was insufficient to support their growth potential during the pre-weaning period or because too few animals were used in the study.

Examination of further cross-breeding work carried out at later dates shows contrary results. In Table 4 the pre-weaning growth rates and the weaning weights discussed above are compared with the results reported by Kasowanjete, Stotz and Zerfas (1987). Calculations made from their findings for female kids showed that, after weaning, the growth rate of cross-bred kids was 40 g/day, which was better than that of the local kids (23 g/day), giving a higher overall growth rate of 8 g/day from birth to 280 days (9 months). Banda (1992a) observed that the milk yield of Boer x local does was 12 percent higher than the average of the parental breeds. This may have contributed to the 7.5 percent weight gain advantage of their offspring of the same genotype over the offspring of the two other parental breeds. It shows that the potential of the crosses could be higher if they were given extra feeding. The reduced growth rate of the cross-bred kids born to cross-bred does after weaning might indicate a severe growth check and feed restriction for kids with liberal pre-weaning milk intakes. The increased post-weaning performance of Boer kids might indicate that the Boer goat is a late maturing breed Despite these differences, Banda (1992b) further reported that the local goats had the highest biological productivity rate followed by the crossbred goats. The differences were the result of variations in litter size, kidding interval and the postpartum weight of the dams. Ayoade and Kamwanja (1985) reported that the mortality rate of the half-bred kids was not markedly higher than that of the local kids, which is different from what has been discussed above for the smallholder management system. This shows there is room for improvement in husbandry so that farmers realize the clear advantage of using local and cross-bred goats. The causes of death should also be investigated before recommendations are made.

1 Body measurements and weights of local Malawi goats - Mensurations et poids des chèvres de race locale du Malawi - Medidas corporales y pesos de cabras de raza local


Number

Sex

Average

Source



Male

Female



Birth weight (kg)

Singles

38

2.6±0.5

2.3±0.5

2.5

Ayoade & Butterworth, 1982


139

2.0±0.6

1.8±0.5

1.9

Karua, 1989b


280

2.1

1.9

2.0

Kasowanjete, Stotz & Zerfas, 1987

Multiples

14

2.0±0.3

1.9±0.5

2.0

Reynolds, 1979


150

1.7±0.5

1.6±0.5

1.7

Karua, 1989b


98

1.6

1.6

1.6

Kasowanjete, Stolz & Zerfas, 1987

Weaning weight (kg)

Singles (a)1

38

16.3±3.0

15.4±3.6

15.6

Ayoade & Butterworth, 1982


(b)2

22

9.0±1.4

8.9±2.0

9.0

Reynolds, 1979

Multiples

7

6.6±0.6

5.4±1.4

6.0

Reynolds, 1979

Postpartum dam weight (kg)

Singles

275

27.9±6.5

27.8±5.0

27.9

Karua, 1989a

Twins

144

32.4±5.2

29.6±5.0

31.0

Karua, 1989a

Adult weight (kg)

50

45.0±6.0

32.4±5.9

38.7

Banda & Karua, 1992 (unpublished)

Body length (cm)

50

77.0±2.8

68.9±3.9

73.0

Banda & Karua, 1992 (unpublished)

Heart girth (cm)

50

87.3±3.2

74.9±4.6

81.1

Banda & Karua, 1992 (unpublished)

Withers height (cm)

50

74.0±4.2

60.5±2.8

67.3

Banda & Karua, 1992 (unpublished)

1 Weaning at 16 weeks.
2 Weaning at 12 weeks.

2 Birth weights of various breeds by sex - Poids à la naissance de différentes races selon le sexe - Peso al nacer de diversas razas por sexos


Males

Females


Number

Mean

Number

Mean


(kilograms)

Singles





Pure local (L)

139

2.0

133

1.8


45

2.0

49

1.9


143

2.1

137

1.9

Pure Boer (B)

4

2.4

3

2.8

B x L (50% B)

85

2.2

65

2.3

B x (50% B)

6

2.8

4

3.1

Twins





Pure local (L)

92

1.7

146

1.6


57

1.6

55

1.6


51

1.6

47

1.6

Pure Boer (B)

6

2.4

8

2.8

B x L (50% B)

16

2.0

12

1.8

B x (50% B)

12

2.8

10

2.0

Source Kasowanjete, Stotz and Zerfas, 1987: Karua, 1989a.

3 Pre-weaning body weights and mortality rates in local Malawi kids and local Malawi x Boer kids at Mkoche village - Poids et taux de mortalité au sevrage des chevreaux de race locale pure et croisés x Boer au village de Mkoche - Peso corporal antes del destete y mortalidad de cabritos de raza local y de raza local x Boer, en la aldea de Mkoche


Local Malawi

Local Malawi x Boer


Number

Mean

SD

Range

Number

Mean

SD

Range

Pre-weaning body weight (kg)

Initial weight

6

4.88

1.14

3-6

8

5.06

1.76

2.5-7

1 st month

6

8.25

1.08

7-10

7

8.86

2.78

4-11.3

2nd month

6

11.4

1.50

10-12

5

10.8

3.72

5-15

3rd month

5

14.9

1.48

13-17

5

13.6

5.26

5-20

4th month

5

17.2

0.84

16-18

5

15.2

6.50

5-23

Calculated rate of growth (g/day)

110.0

90.5

Mortality rate (%)

16.7

37.5

SD = standard deviation.
Source. Ayoade and Kamwanja, 1985.


Mature local male - Bouc adulte de race locale - Macho cabrío adulto de raza local