Characterization of Maasai Goats in Extensive Production System in Northern Tanzania: Description of Phenotype, Reproductive and Productive Performance

  •  Emil Hyera    
  •  Athumani S. Nguluma    
  •  Zabron C. Nziku    
  •  Eligy J. M. Shirima    
  •  Maria-Salome H. Mashingo    
  •  Raimundo N. B. Lobo    
  •  Tesfaye Getachew    
  •  Barbara Rischkowsky    
  •  Aynalem Haile    


The study was designed to offer information on phenotype, reproductive and productive features of Maasai goats for amelioration in breeding programs utilizing these animals. Live measurements and qualitative traits were collected from 75 bucks and 165 does. A detailed survey was used to acquire information on reproductive and productive traits. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and General Linear Model procedures for age and sex as main effects. The results revealed that body weight, heart girth, chest depth, rump width, head length, head width and horn length differed (p < 0.05) among age groups. Body weight increased from young to old age and ranged from 25.83 kg to 30.34 kg. Body length, heart girth, head length, head width and cannon bone length were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in bucks than does. Plain white was the foremost coat color manifested. Nearly, 76% of bucks and 78.2% of does had straight short hairs. Beards were in 80% of bucks and 9.1% of does. All goats had short and erect ears; whereas, more than 88% had horns, 48% of the horns were curved, 33.1% lateral and 18.1% straight. Almost 76% and 83.6% of the horns in bucks and does, respectively, were pointing backward. In both sexes, facial profile was mainly concave, back profile was straight and wattles were absent. Twinning rate, age at sexual maturity, age at first kidding, kidding interval and lactation length were averaged at 8.7%, 11 months, 16.7 months, 7.7 months and 82.3 days; whereas, pre weaning kid survival rate was 77.1% and 79.9% for dry and rainy season, respectively. The strain was comparatively similar to most African indigenous goat populations. Thus, the strain can be utilized through selection for the traits preferred for the arid and semi-arid tropics.

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