Know your Indigenous Livestock: Goats

1. Malawi local goat
The Malawi local goats are hardy and small- to medium-sized

with short hair and resemble the Small East African goat breed. Most animals of this breed are horned. When present horns, point backwards. Some animals are bearded and wattles are sometimes seen. Ears are mostly short and prick-type. Animals of this breed have a wide range of colours, including black, black-and-tan, red-and-white and grey. As is common with deer-like goats, some animals have a black line of hair extending down the back and up to the tail. Face patterns are variable. The breed is found mainly in Malawi and is more common in the south than in the north of the country.

2. Small East African Goat
The Small East African goat breed is found throughout East Africa. The colour ranges from pure white to pure black with various intermixes of roan and speckled brown. Up to 30% of the animals are tasseled. Adult males can weigh 30- 40kg and female’s 25-30kg. Males can grow up to a height of 64cm at the shoulders. Both sexes are horned. The horns sweep directly backwards and mostly curved upwards at the tip. The length of the horns varies from 2.5 cm to 20cm. The ears are of medium length (about 12cm), are slightly pendent and rarely pricked. 40% of the males under 14 months have beards. The coat hair is short and fine in both males and females but is longer on the hind quarters. Males often have a pronounced mane running the full length of the back. This breed is mainly kept for meat as their milk is rarely enough for one kid. They are a useful animal to use as a base in an upgrading programme.

3. Galla Goat
Galla goats are white haired with a black skin, on the nose (muzzle) feet and beneath the tail. The Galla goat also known as the Boran or Somali goat is indigenous to Northern Kenya. It is reared for both meat and milk and is locally referred to as the milk queen of the Kenyan arid and semi arid areas. The female weighs 45-55kgs and is about 60cm wide at the shoulders. The male weighs up to 70kgs.

4. West African dwarf Goat
The West African dwarf goat is found on the coast of west and central Africa. This breed is reared mainly for meat. It occurs in all colors and is trypanotolerant. The African Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf in the United States, the Dutch Dwarf and the Pygmy breed in Great Britain all originated from the West African Dwarf.


5. Maasai goat
The Maasai goat is widely found in Kenya and northern Tanzania in pastoral, agro-pastoral to agricultural production systems. Animals of this breed are relatively small (64 cm height and 31 to 40 kg) and are characterized by a fine head with dished or straight facial profile and narrow muzzle. Horns are usually present in males and females, but in some flocks up to 35% of the population are polled. Ears are medium in length and can either be pricked or slightly pendent. Coat colour of animals of this breed is extremely variable. Coat hair is short and fine, and can be longer hair on the hindquarters.

6. Red Sokoto goat
Animals of this breed are relatively small in size signifying possible crossing with forest or Dwarf goats before selection in its present area of distribution. The breed is found mainly in northern Nigeria (the Sokoto and Kano States) and southern Niger. Coat colour is usually red in Nigeria but lighter and occasionally almost chestnut in Maradi.  Males are usually darker than females and may have a black back stripe. The tail hair is usually black. This breed is famous for the good quality skin. Males and females have short to medium horns with ears that are short and usually carried horizontally. Ears are longer and semi-pendulous in the Niger sub-population of the breed. Toggles are rare; males have beards of profuse hair. The forehead is often covered with hair which is often longer, bushier and darker in males than in females. Males carry a light mane that extends to the shoulders; neck is short, thin and very mobile.

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