On-farm study of the growth performance of toggenburg goat and its crosses with the small East African goat in Mount Elgon area of Uganda
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Dairy goat production is considered one of the viable enterprises in poverty reduction and in the improvement of the health and nutrition of the rural poor. Pure exotic dairy goats such as the Toggenburg from the temperate regions have been imported into Uganda to improve milk production, but have not performed well to their production potential due to adverse local environment. An on-farm study was carried out in the Mt. Elgon area to establish the growth performance of the pure Toggenburg and its crosses with the local small East African goats under different husbandry regimes. It was found that good husbandry practices such as good nutrition, housing and disease control enhanced growth rates of the pure Toggenburg and its crosses. The SEA had a higher mean weight of 6.9 kg within the first 30 days of birth but was overtaken by the pure Toggenburg with 10.3 kg by day 6 up day 210 with 21.8 kg. The 75% toggenburg crosses steadily increased in weight gains to lead by day 240 with 25.5 kg ahead of F1s with 16.5 kg. It was also found that single kids had higher body weight gains than twins and triplets respectively, and females under all management practices had higher mean body weight gains and growth rates than males. Season affected the growth performances with goats having higher body weight gains in the wet season than in the dry season. The study concluded that good husbandry practices i.e. good housing, proper disease control and good nutrition were vital for the productive performances of the pure Toggenburg and its crosses with the SEA in the Mt. Elgon area. It was recommended that cross breeding programme of the pure Toggenburg and the Small East African goats to obtain 75% stabilized crosses should be encouraged. Farmers should be sensitized and encouraged to adopt good husbandry practices (good housing, good nutrition and health care) for their goat.