Milk production from the indigenous Malawi goat
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/70868
In a 2x2 factorial trial involving 80 does kept under traditional management, the milking potential of the indigenous Malawi goat was determined and the effects of supplementary feeding examined. Feeding was based on grazed indigenous pasture, largely Hyparrhenia spp only and with supplementation of 250±10 g maize bran daily. Does were separated from their kids each evening at housing and hand milked before turn out. Kiddings occurred between duly 1991 end April 1992. Milk yields from 25±3 days postpartum varied between 1.5 and 61 litres per lactation and lactation length between 13 and 252 days. Lactation patterns were similar, with peaks of 270±99 ml on day 26 for supplemented animals and 259±99 ml on day 19 for controls but a significant interaction between date of kidding and supplementation was noted. Does kidding in August had higher yields (31.6±17.5 vs 21.2±13.66 litres for supplemented and unsupplemented does, respectively) than those of does kidding in March (17.7±7.5 vs 9.1±5.7 litres, P<0.05). Mean daily yields for supplemented does were 191 ml over weeks 1-10 and 139 ml over weeks 1-20. For control animals the equivalent figures were 158 and 104 ml. Reproductive performance was not affected by milking, with kidding to first oestrus intervals of 110±57 days for the milked does and 80±52 days for unmilked does. Anoestrus period was not affected by supplementation. Most kid mortality occurred in the first 30 days and was not influenced by milking or level of supplementation. There was no effect of doe treatment upon kid growth to 28 weeks, when live weights were 7.25±0.87 kg, 7.63±0.75 kg, 6.75±0.66 kg and 7.33±0.6 kg for the unmilked and unsupplemented; unmilked and supplemented; milked and unsupplemented, and milked supplemented animals, respectively. It is concluded that with minimal modification of traditional husbandry methods the indigenous Malawi goat may be milked daily without detriment to her or her offspring.