Breeds of Goat in Nigeria

There are some 300 breeds of goat, many of them located in the tropics and subtropics. 
They have developed not only in response to a particular environment but also because man has selected animals for specific characteristics. 
These characteristics include temperament, productivity and ease of management. 
There has also been a great deal of crossing between breeds to produce animals that have the characteristic that are genetically controlled. 
Goat breeds are not well recorded in the tropics and are often defined only by the geographical area in which they live. 
Goats can be characterised by 
• Origin 
• Function 
 milk, meat, fibre 
• Appearance 
Ear shape and length 
Body size 
Horned or polled shape of face 
No one particular method of identification is satisfactory when taken by itself. Details of some of the most interesting and important breeds in Africa are presented in Table 9.2.

Description of Goat Breeds in Nigeria 

Sahel Goat (W. African Long- legged goat) 

This is also known as the Arab goat in Chad and the Maure in Mauritania. It is similar to other breeds in North Africa, being very long legged (70-85cm), and is found in the semi-arid areas in the north of W. Africa. 
Many goats of Sahel breed are kept by pastoralists in mixed 
flocks with sheep. Not being trypano-tolerant the breed does not survive 
in forest and dense savanna where the tsetse fly, the carrier of trypanosomiasis, is found. 
Males weigh 40 kg and females 27 kg when mature. They have small triangular heads, usually with horns. Their coats are short and very fine. 
Sahel goats are primarily kept for their meat, and little milk (less than 80 litres/lactation) is produced. Around 40 per cent of births give twins, and under pastoral conditions the kids grow very slowly. A carcass dressing percentage of 48-50 per cent is common in adult goat. Like many desert breeds, Sahel goats have the ability to maintain their weight long periods under adverse conditions. 


This distinctive re-coloured goat lives in Nigeria and Niger where it is kept in small flocks by Hausa-speaking tribes. Animal are confined away from growing crops and may be stall-fed. The breed is well 
adapted to arid conditions and grows to 25 kg for females and 27 kg for males. Both sexes have similar shaped horns and males have beards. 
Because of the importance of the breed for their skins, the ratio of males to females in flocks is higher than in many other breeds. The skins are of the highest quality in the tannery trade and are known as Morocco. Their ease of tanning makes them very popular for shoes and gloves. 
Twining is very common and a litre size of 1.8 is the average. Milk yields of 0.5-1.0 litre per day have been recorded in experimental stations over three-month periods. Nannies with twins out-yield those with singles by some 20 per cent. When killed for meat the carcass yield 
is 45-50 per cent of live weight.

West African Dwarf Breed (Fouta Djallon Dwarf)

This breed is very short-legged and measure 50 cm or less in height. 
They are usually also in the 18-25 kg weight range. Dwarfs can be k proportionately small all over or just short in the leg. 
This dwarf breed is found in west and central Africa, along the Atlantic coast. It is trypanosome- tolerant and is adapted to the humid forest zone. Goats are kept in small groups and left to roam about homesteads as scavengers. In Nigeria, few bucks are kept. In Senegal, flocks are 
owned by women and numbers rarely exceed five. When crops are  growing goats will be tethered. 
Bucks weigh 25 kg and nannies 22 kg when mature. Their height is 30-
M50 cm. Both sexes have horns and toggles whilst bucks have beards. 
Colours vary from dark brown to white and red. Twinning is very common, so average litter size ranges from 1.4 to 1.85kids. Milk yields reach 0.3 litre per day.

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