Evaluation of Management and Performances of Dairy Goats in Aridlands of Northern Kenya, Marsabit County

Michael Okoti, Moses Lengarite, Tura Isako


A study aimed at establishing feeding management and performances of dairy goats in arable pockets of Marsabit County in arid lands of northern Kenya was conducted in six sites.  Semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from randomly selected individual dairy goats keepers, dairy goats rearing groups and development agents who supported dairy goats production. The data was entered and analyzed using the SPSS version 10.5.  The study established that, 93.3% of farmers rely on natural forages to feed their dairy goats and about 50% of dairy goats keepers lacked appropriate management skills. The study further established that about 70% of the farmers on Mt. Marsabit and 64.3% in Kalacha owned conserved fodder plots, of natural pastures, lack of storage sheds was noted among key constraint to storage. Mineral supplements were provided by all farmers on Mt. Marsabit and only 14.3% in Kalacha. The age of  reproductive  maturity for female  Alpine was  is 10.7±2.3mo and 10.5±1.7mo was comparable to young cross breeds at 10.5± 2.01mo and 13.2± 2.1mo in the oases and mountain areas, respectively. Crosses had shorter kidding intervals (7.13± 1.47mo in Kalacha and 6.54±1.19moon Mount Marsabit) than Alpines (8mo in Kalacha and 7.77± 1.03mo in the mountain). The average milk yields for alpine, crosses and local goats were 2.62, 1.43, and 0.64 kg/day, respectively. In conclusion, Alpine and crossbreed goats have high milk yield than the local goats. This implies that dairy goats production in arable pockets is a viable project which can be integrated with crops. Unlike other indigenous goats and livestock which move from place to place in search of pasture and water, dairy goats are kept in intensive or semi-intensive systems in farms i.e. the keepers would always access milk from daily goats and by extension households’ food security is increased. Children in sedentarized pastoral farming households would feed on this milk and thus their nutritional status enhanced. The household food and nutrition security is also increased as households keeping dairy get income from sale of milk and breeding stock.

Keywords: Dairy goats, Marsabit, arable pockets, northern Kenya, feeding management, performances.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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