Breeding practices and trait preferences are key to defining sound breeding objectives and designing genetic improvement programs at community level. The current study identifies these factors for village goats within a pilot community-based breeding program in Pella village, North West province, South Africa. Thirty-five farmers were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire survey to characterize goat farmers’ production system. Breeding objectives were identified in 26 households using own flock ranking experiment and the body weight (kg) and linear measurements (cm) were collected for 10 best does and bucks. Majority of famers were males (83%) and literate (85.7%). Fifteen (43%) farmers owned a buck, and those that did not, relied on communal bucks. Average flock per household was 21±19. Farmer selling price for does was R1588.68±313.17 and bucks were sold for R1663.89±861.91. Body size traits were ranked high for both bucks (0.22) and does (0.10), followed by growth rate of 0.10 does and 0.08 for bucks. Average live body weight for all goats was 38±12 kg. Except for rump length, all linear body measurements studied were significantly correlated with body weight (p<0.0001) with chest girth having the highest correlation coefficient (r = 0.70). Breeding objectives and trait preferences established in this study provide primary data required to design a sustainable breeding program and must be incorporated into selection decisions to address farmer preferences.
Key words: Breeding objectives, selection criteria, ranking, goat improvement, trait preference.
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