Indigenous Knowledge Used in Breeding and Management of Capra hircus Populations in Kajiado and Makueni Counties, Kenya


The aim of this project was to study indigenous breeding practices used in management of Capra hircus (Galla and Small East African goats) populations in Kajiado County in Rift valley province and Makueni County in Eastern province. Data were obtained through a field survey using questionnaires (Appendix I) and personal observations between 1st September, 2013 and 2nd December, 2013. This study covered key characteristics of goats production and areas of goat breeding, such as general farm details, number of goats, main activities of the farmers, farming types, breeds, flock structure, feeding, housing, catastrophes, selection, mating systems, breeding systems, average age at parturition, breeding problems, and the importance of goats. Results showed that the average number of goats in Kajiado was 100.65 ± std 49.88 while in Makueni it was 12.28 ± std 6.46. The main activity of the people interviewed was farming as 58 people (96.67%) in Kajiado and 42 people (61.60%) chose farming as their main activity because this was their main source of livelihood. Flocks were dominated by breeding females at a mean of 39.06 ± std 16.75 in Kajiado and a mean of 5.62 ± std 3.50 in Makueni because females were kept to reproduce to increase the size of the flock and the males were kept majorly for cash and only one or two were left to reproduce with the females. Drought was the major catastrophe as it killed an average number of goats of 6.33 ± std 4.36. Pneumonia and diarrhoea were the major diseases according to 28 farmers (46.66%) in Kajiado and 31 farmers (51.66%) in Makueni. Ticks and fleas were the major parasites according to 42 farmers (70%) in Kajiado and 4 farmers (63.34%) in Makueni. Treatment was mostly done by the farmers individually as 54 farmers (90%) in Kajiado and 46 farmers (76.67%) in Makueni treated the animals by themselves. This was so because it was either not easy to get a veterinarian or expensive for them to hire veterinarian doctors. Some farmers used traditional medicine like mavuavui; Steganotaenia araliacea was used to treat pneumonia. Farmers also devised feeding methods during drought as 48 farmers (80.00%) in Kajiado and 23 farmers (38.33%) in Makueni cut leaves from up trees to feed the goats. When doing selection of breed, 58 farmers (96.67%) and 57 farmers (95%) considered large body size and drought resistance respectively in Kajiado. The farmers in Makueni considered age and drought resistance at equal chances of 59 farmers (98.33%). The main mating system was naturally uncontrolled as 113 farmers (95.17%) of the overall 120 farmers interviewed in Kajiado and Makueni chose this as the main mating method. The major breeding system was pure breeding at 85 farmers (70.83%). The average age at parturition of the goats was 1.435 ± 0.125 years in Kajiado and 1.44 ± 0.121 years in Makueni. Abortion was the major breeding problem because it was caused by environmental stressors like drought and diseases as 54 farmers (93.92%) in Kajiado and 55 farmers (95.66%) claimed that it was a problem. Goats were majorly kept for cash (100%) and meat (100%) in Kajiado and for cash (100%) and dowry (100%) in Makueni. In conclusion, the study showed that crossbreeding was encouraged by mating that occurred at the markets, water points, free ranging feeding method, pastoralism due to drought, selection methods and translocation of female goats from Makueni County to be mated with the males in Kajiado County. Environmental problems like drought and diseases caused several deaths and reduced the level of existing gene pool of the goats.

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Otieno, O. , Junga, J. , Badamana, M. and Amimo, J. (2015) Indigenous Knowledge Used in Breeding and Management of Capra hircus Populations in Kajiado and Makueni Counties, Kenya. Open Journal of Genetics, 5, 111-135. doi: 10.4236/ojgen.2015.53009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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