Participatory identification of breeding objective traits and selection criteria for indigenous goat of the pastoral communities in Ethiopia
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Structured questionnaire, own-flock rankings and group discussions were undertaken to assess goat breeding practices and to identify traits of interest for genetic improvement of pastoral goats. Four pastoral villages in Ethiopia namely Jarso, Mesoya, Eleweya and Dharito were selected purposely based on their goat production potential and accessibility. A survey involving 70 households, and measurement of 199 goats in 4 villages was used. Data obtained from questionnaire, flock ranking and measurements were subjected to both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. In flock ranking experiment, goat owners were asked to choose the first three superior and a worst doe within their own flock. They were also asked to provide reason for ranking the animals. In addition, data on size traits, kid growth, kid survival, reproduction traits, and milk yield were recorded for each doe. Large variation was observed between top and last ranked does in most of the traits and price: for example, in body weight (33.6±0.88 vs 25.2±0.93 kg), doe’s kid survival (92.1±4.01 vs 59.6±4.48%) and doe’s price (1367±46.5 vs 833± 46.9 1Ethiopian Birr). Mobility is practiced with defined and known pattern, therefore recruitment of a mobile enumerators for data recording would assist in implementation of breeding programs. Breeding objective should emphasize mothering ability (kid growth and survival), milk yield of does and coat colour in all areas. Due to its good correlation with other traits like kid growth and pre-weaning kid survival, considering milk yield alone as selection criteria or giving more weight for milk yield in the breeding program could generate better genetic benefit. Setting-up breeding program should be based on full participation and context of pastoralists.