Birth weight, birth type and pre-weaning survivability of West African Dwarf goats raised in the Dangme West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana

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Abstract

A study was conducted on 441 West African Dwarf goat (WADG) kids born from September 1999 to August 2002 at three locations in the Dangme West District of the Greater Accra Region in Ghana to determine the effect of environmental factors on birth weight, birth type and pre-weaning survivability. The overall mean birth weight was 1.32 ± 0.01 kg. Birth weights were similar (p >0.05) between single births (1.43 ± 0.04 kg) and twins (1.34 ± 0.03 kg), but singles were significantly heavier (p < 0.05) than triplets (1.24 ± 0.05 kg). Kids born in the major wet season recorded the best mean birth weight (1.37 ± 0.04 kg). Sex, parity of does, and year of birth of kids had no significant (p > 0.05) effect on birth weight. Mean litter size was 1.93 ± 0.03. Does that kidded in the dry season had a significantly (p < 0.05) higher litter size (2.05 ± 0.06) than those that kidded in the minor wet season (1.80 ± 0.10). Litter size of first-parity kids was significantly smaller (p < 0.05) than in subsequent parities. Litter size dropped significantly (p < 0.05) from year 2 (2.03 ± 0.07) to year 3 (1.83 ± 0.07). Pre-weaning survivability was 79.1% and season of kidding had a significant (p < 0.05) effect on survivability. Survivability of quadruplets (61.8%) was significantly (p < 0.05) lower than in the other birth types.

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