A study was carried out to assess the effects of nutritional supplementation (flushing) and season of kidding on reproductive performance of Small East African (SEA) does and growth performance of their crossbred (Norwegian x SEA). Seasons of kidding were defined as season 1 (June- August) and 2 (September to November) which represented the early and late dry months of the year, respectively. A total of 90 grazing does were divided into three groups of 30 does each and monitored for two years. In each observational year, one group (control goats) received no concentrate supplementation while the remaining groups were subjected to 200 or 400 g of concentrate diet/doe/day for a period of 60 days (November to January) before mating. Does were then exposed to sexually active bucks from January through June in 2008 and 2009. Nutritional flushing and season of kidding had no effects (P>0.05) on fertility, prolificacy and fecundity. Nonetheless, the relative weight increase during gestation was 35.8 % in season 1 being higher (P<0.01) than 12.6% recorded in season 2. The proportion of weight loss of does kidding in season 1(6.1%) was, however, lower (P<0.05) than 8.9% in season 2. Kids born in season 1 grew at a faster rate than their counterparts born in season 2 (80 vs. 57 g/day, P<0.05). Consequently, the average weight of kids weaned per doe kidding was 2 kg in favour of season 1. It is concluded that nutritional flushing during peak-dry season may not be necessary for goats to conceive especially when raised on lightly grazed rangeland and that breeding activities of goats should preferably be restricted to January to March for kidding to take place during early dry season (June to August).
Key words: Goats, nutritional flushing, seasonality, reproductive performance, growth rate.
Copyright © 2022 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0