Which Is The Best Goat Breed to keep In Kenya?

herd-of-goats-grazing-in-pasture

Which is the best goat breed to rear in Kenya? In this post, we will give you a list of the best indigenous and exotic goats breeds reared for milk or meat in Kenya. They include the Kenyan Alpine Goats, Saanen and Toggenburg among others.

Goat farming in Kenya is one of the best agribusiness venture. According to the KNBS census results, Kenya had 28.01 million goats in 2019. Majority of them, are the indigenous types reared mostly for meat. The rest are the exotic dairy goats reared for milk.

How do you choose the best goat breed for your farm?  

To settle for the most productive or profitable goat to rear in your farm, look at the following factors.

  • Production: The age in months for the doe’s first kidding. A shorter period is preferred for you can easily double your goats’ herd.
  •  Productivity; or the yields of milk or meat.
    • For dairy goats keepers, choose a breed with highest milk volumes per day, highest fat and/or protein content. f
    • For commercial goat farming for meat, choose a breed with high meat proportion to body weight.
  • Climate: Choose goats breeds that are suitable for your agroecological zone. Exotic dairy goats do best in highland areas while indigenous meat goats are common in agro-pastoralist and ASAL areas.
  • Production system; Farmers prefer rearing goats in extensive, semi intensive or intensive production systems.

Small East African Goat (SEAG)

The Small East African goats are indigenous breeds to the region. They reared for milk rather than milk. There are of various variants. Some of the common strains are the East African dwarf, Sebei and Karamoja goats.

The SEAG are the most common goat breeds in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and spreads as far as Congo, Angola and Namibia. They are best reared under extensive production or nomadic pastoralism systems. Since they are hardy animals they do well in different ecological zones.

Indigenous goat’s characteristics

  • Mature weight doe; 32-36 kg
  • Mature weight buck; 36-42 kg
  • Average milk daily yield; 200-300 ml/day
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 20-24 months
  • Height at withers: 60-65cm.
  • Coat hair: short fine and smooth.
  • Coat color: variable in color and patterns

Galla Goat

Its another indigenous goat in Kenya. Commonly known as the larger-white-somali. Other common names are Digodi, Marebo, Borana, Benadir and Gigwain.  Two sub types are found in kenya

  • Degyir- reared for meat
  • Degeun- reared for milk

Its local names include common in ASAL parts of Kenya and its well spread in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia. You can rear the galla goats under extensive, semi-zero grazing, pastoral or agro pastoral production systems.

The Galla goat is best breed for you if you intend to rear it in Kenya’s dry areas. The breed is an extent browser . Its fit for walking long distances since it has long and strong legs. Besides it has a glossy white color that makes it heat tolerant.

Galla goat characteristics

  • Mature weight doe; 45-55 kg
  • Mature weight buck; 70-75 kg
  • Average milk daily yield; 1000 ml/day
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 20-24 months
  • Height at withers: 70-75cm.
  • Coat hair: short fine and smooth.
  • Coat color: predominantly white

Kenya Alpine Goat

The alpine goad originated from the Alps mountain regions of France, Switzerland and Germany. In Kenya it is a popular dairy goat in high rainfall areas of central (Nyeri, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Embu, Nakuru, Kiambu) and western (Vihiga) of Kenya.

The Kenya Alpine goat is a medium breed that is best reared under intensive or semi-intensive production systems.

Kenya Alpine Goat Characteristics

  • Birth weight; 2.0-3.5kg
  • Weaning weight; 15-18kg
  • Weaning age: 3-4 months
  • Mature weight doe; 50-60 kg
  • Mature weight buck; 70-76 kg
  • Average milk daily yield; 2.5-4.0 l/day
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 18-24 months
  • Height at withers: 70-76cm (doe) and 80-90cm( buck)
  • Coat hair: short on body but long on chest, thighs and mane.
  • Coat color: brown with shades of grey, or black and a black topline

Saanen Goat

Saanen is one of the large dairy goat breeds in Kenya. It was introduced from Germany in 1990s by the Heifer International.  Due to its high milk production, Saanen has heavily been crossbred with other dairy goats.

Saanen is best reared under intensive and semi-intensive production systems. Since they are photo sensitive, its better you rear them in a goat shed or shelter.

Saanen Goat characteristics

  • Birth weight; 2-3kg
  • Weaning weight;15-20kg
  • Mature weight doe; 50-70 kg
  • Mature weight buck; 70-100 kg
  • Average milk daily yield; 3-5 l/day
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 18-20 months
  • Height at withers: 81-92cm (doe) and 74-80cm( buck)
  • Coat hair: short fine and smooth.
  • Coat color: white or cream

Toggenburg goat

The Toggenburg is a dairy goat that is indigenous to the Switzerland.  In Kenya it was introduced in 1996 by the Farm Africa. You can find the Toggenburg goat in high populations in following Kenya counties; Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Kitui, Makueni. Considerable numbers are also found in Nakuru, Kiambu and Nairobi Counties.

The goat breed is of a good temperament. You can raise it under either intensive or semi-intensive production systems.

Toggenburg goat characteristics

  • Birth weight; 2.2-2.5kg
  • Weaning weight;15-18kg
  • Mature weight doe; 50-60kg
  • Mature weight buck; 65-70kg
  • Average milk daily yield; 1-3 l/day
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 18-20 months
  • Height at withers: 74-80 cm (doe) and 81-92 cm( buck)
  • Coat hair: short (females) fine and smooth.
  • Coat color: Brown or greyish brown with distinct white stripes on the face and legs

Anglo Nubian

Anglo Nubian is a cross breed of native British goats and several goats from India, Middle East and North Africa. It is a dual purpose and widely used in cross breeding programs in Kenya. Its cross breds have increased milk and meat production than the indigenous goats. Besides, its offspring’s with exotic dairy goats improves butter fat content in milk.

It is commonly reared in Kenya under extensive production system. It is well adapted to harsh hot climates. Its milk has highest butter fat content of 4-5%. Its protein content ranges from 3.8-4.5%.

Anglo Nubian goat characteristics

  • Birth weight; 2.2-2.5kg
  • Weaning weight;15-18kg
  • Mature weight doe; 25-35kg
  • Mature weight buck; 30-40kg
  • Average milk for lactation period; 2000-5000 L in 305 days.
  • Age of doe at first kidding; 21-27months
  • Height at withers: 130-150 cm
  • Coat hair: shiny, fine and smooth.
  • Coat color: Mostly light brown, grey or dull black.

Boer Goat

The Boer goat is native of the South Africa. It is a medium sized goat breed reared for meat. They are common in Laikipia and Nakuru counties and among small holder farmers in the Central Kenya region. The breed color is mostly white body with red head and neck. But, they can be all white or all red.

Why Boer goat is the best goat breed for meat in Kenya? Majority of commercial goat farmers and ranchers rear the Boer goat for following characteristics

  • Fast growth rate
  • High meat proportion to body weight
  • Good fertility
  • High adaptability to diverse environments and climates.

Oberhasil goat

The obehasil goat is famed to be one of the best dairy goat in the world. It is native to the Switzerland Mountains. In Kenya, it is reared for milk production or hobby purposes.

The breed is a medium sized, with its primary color being Chamois or Bey; light to deep red.It’s mainly reared under semi intensive production system.

Kalahari Red goat

The Kalahari red goat is native to the Southern Africa. They were developed for the harsh climate in the Kalahari Desert. It is known to have the most tender meat. In Kenya they are popular in the ODL Ranch in Laikipia.

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