The parity and litter size of 116 does from 22 randomly selected herds were surveyed to determine the relationship between herd size, parity and litter size of smallholder goat herds. The study revealed that the average parity and litter size of smallholder goat herds was 2.7 and 1.7, respectively with a herd size of 15.0 goats. Majority of the breeding does were within the herd size of 11 to 20 goats (53.4%) followed by ≤ 10 goats (30.2%) and least, 21 to 30 goats (16.4%). Most of the breeding does were within the 1st and 3rd parity (74.2%) and a good number within the 4th and 6th parity (25%), while extremely few of the breeding does go beyond parity 6 (0.8%). Although the farmers started culling the does after the 2nd parity, majority of the does are culled after the 4th parity. Relating the distribution of the breeding does with their parity and litter size showed that single bearing does could remain in the herds up to parity 5 but with the number decreasing with increase in parity. Twinning does existed up to parity 6 with majority of the twin bearing does observed at parity 2 declining thereafter up to parity 5 with the peak at parity 3. Does giving birth to quadruplets continue to remain in the herd; however this litter size was attained at much latter parity by the does. Herd size was not significantly correlated with parity and litter size (P>0.05; r = 0.01 -0.09). However, litter size was significantly and positively correlated with parity (P<0.01; r=0.49). The results presented seem to indicate that parity is an important factor in the evaluation of litter size in goats and multiple births could be achieved with good breeding plan and better management practices.
Key words: Goats, herd size, litter size, parity, smallholder herd.
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