ANALYSIS OF PREWEANING PERFORMANCE OF WEST AFRICAN DWARF GOAT KIDS UNDER SMALL HOLDER OPERATIONS
Keywords:West African Dwarf goat, preweaning performance, management system
The study examined the effects of controlled suckling, season of birth, sex of kid, litter size and coat colour on the preweaning performance of West African Dwarf (WAD) goat kids under the smallholder production system of Southwest Nigeria. Two groups of 30 and 26 WAD goat kids under complete confinement and free range, respectively were compared from birth to weaning at standard weight of 5.5 kg or 13 weeks of age. The confined kids were further allocated to three suckling regimes namely: Day-suckling, Evening-suckling and unrestricted suckling while the free roaming kids all enjoyed unrestricted suckling. Data obtained was analysed by least square procedures. Effects in the model were suckling/ management method, litter size, season of birth, sex of kid and coat colour. Dependent variables included kids weights at weaning, growth rate, growth intensity, weaning age and survival rate. Suckling/ management method, litter size and season of birth significantly influenced (P<0.05) the kids weaning weight, growth rate and growth intensity whereas the weaning age was influenced only by the season of birth. The coat colour and sex of kid did not have any significant influence (P>0.05) on the preweaning performance of the kids. Free range kids gained more weights and were consistently heavier than the confined kids throughout the preweaning period. Performances and variabilities indicated that selection of superior WAD goats under the small holding operations of the southwestern Nigeria would need to take high cognizance of the rearing method and the season of birth.