Status of goat keeping
According to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), there were around 13.5 million goats in Uganda in 2018. This was however a tremendous growth in numbers from just 3.5million goats in 1990, 5.7 million in 1996 and around 7.6million in 2002.
About 95% of goats in Uganda are indigenous breeds, while just 5% are cross breeds or pure exotic goats like the savannah, toggenberg and boer. These were imported to improve meat and milk production from cross breed off springs.
However, the challenge is that most farmers cannot distinguish the various goat breeds hence leading to indiscriminate cross breeding, unsuccessful breeding programmes and reducing the intended benefits.
The Savana goats
The most profitable goats at the moment are the white savanna goat. The white Savana goat offers more opportunities because of its niche market Arabian market, especially for its meat. The savana breed was developed from indigenous goats of South Africa. Various farmers bred what was known as white Boer goats for a number of years in South Africa. One of the advantages of these white goats was the fact that the white color is dominant over most other colors. The other reason is that there is a big demand for white goats for slaughter purposes for various reasons. The savana have large pendulous (floppy) ears and a convex face (‘Roman nose’). The savannah has a high reproductive rate of around 10% triplets and 50% twins in its lifetime.
The Boer goats
These also have their origins from South-Africa. They are characteristically white with chest-nut red head and white main body.The horns are prominently rounded and set well apart, growing with a gradual backward curve. The head is strong with large eyes. Ears are visibly broad, drooping and medium length. The coat is soft, smooth and glossy while the hairs are short to medium in length. Boer goats are excellent meat producers and produce good quality skin. The females are ready to start kidding by eight months and can kid 3times in two years. They have high reproductive rates of 7% triplets and 50% twins. Mature males can grow to 120kgs while females weigh 100kgs.
These originate from Switzerland.
The saneen is white in color. If well fed,, a saanen can produce up to 7 liters of milk, making it good for milk and milk products businesses.. A female can grow up to 63-77kg whereas the male, 80-100kgs of live body weight. They have shot fur, have no horns and have higher chances of producing 2 kids per birth. It is important to note that a saanen does not prefer hot areas.
They are brownish in color with a white line on the face, legs and tail. The male often weighs between 70 – 110 kgs while the female 60 – 70 kgs as live body weight.
A toggenburg can produce up to 5 liters of milk if well looked after.
More, it is excellent for cheese and butter making because it have a higher butter fat content.
Other Local Breeds are …
The Mubende Goats
The Mubende goat is an indigenous breed from the Kabale and Bundibugyo districts of Uganda. This breed has shiny, straight hair that is normally black or a mixture of black and white. Its meat is of high quality, as is its skin, which is used as leather in the tanning industry. Males have manes, and usually are hornless. Adult males weight 25 – 35 kg, and females weigh 22 – 28 kg. It has a high twinning rate.
This has origins from the highlands of Kabale and Bundibugyo districts. It has a small compact, short legged body. Average weight is about 30 kg.
The Small East African goat
Kept for meat, the Small East African goat grows slowly, has a heavy-set conformation and is resistant to heartwater (a tick-borne disease) and worms and possibly other diseases such as mange.
The hides give a good quality leather. An adult weighs between 25- 30kg and the age for first kidding is 18 months.
Sudanese Dwarf goat
Found in the Acholi and Karamoja regions, these goats are much smaller than the Small East African goats.
Although, the Karimojong milk them sometimes, it is only the large numbers kept that make this feasible–only 100ml, or occasionally 200ml of milk is obtained per goat.
This breed is adapted from the Karamoja region. It is suitable for the arid areas of Kotido, Moroto,Abim and Nakasongola districts. It is a short-haired, mainly white breed. It is a relative of the Galla goats breed of Kenya.
Crossing with local goats
When a farmer crosses an exotic with a local breed, the kids will be 50% (100%/2).
If the kids (50%) are again crossed with a local, then those kids born will be 25% (50%/2)
If the kids (50%) are again crossed with the pure exotic breed, then the kids born will be (100%+50%=150%/2=75%)
“Gradually, you can build your stock into the pure bred using the formulae above. It is also important to note that crossed goats are more resilient to diseases compared to pure breeds.