Alternative goat kid-rearing systems for improved performance and milk sharing between humans and offspring in climate change mitigation

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Springer International Publishing AG


Intensification of livestock production reduces the amount of land required to sustain a livestock unit and frees up the land necessary for carbon sequestration. Transforming the goat sector from meat only to a dual-purpose system with both milk and meat is reported to increase food production per unit of land. Dairy goats have been widely adopted among smallholders in Tanzania and are now gaining popularity in Malawi. High mortalities due to poor feeding of goat- kids have been identified as a major challenge and therefore kid rearing systems of different milking systems for dairy goats and use of different creep feeds and alternate rearing systems for meat goat on Likoma Island were evaluated. In study I, the methods used were (a) suckling one teat twice daily and milking the other teat; (b) suckling in daytime only and morning-milking of dams, and (c) early weaning and bottle-rearing using goat’s milk. In study II, three different types of locally available creep feed supplements were evaluated for animals grazed on unimproved rangeland. The third study qualitative differences in kid rearing systems for local goats, with or without milking, were evaluated on Likoma Island in Malawi using a semi-structured questionnaire. In study I, kid growth rates, ranging from 62 to 76 g/day did not significantly differ; one teat milking provided the most milk for human consumption and artificial rearing was found to be the most labor intensive and therefore not recommended under small-holder condi- tions. Goat farmers on Likoma Island preferred faster kid growth to more milk for human consumption. It is concluded that successful kid rearing systems should address farmer milk utilization and kid growth and evaluate locally available feeds for creep feeding and dam feeding.


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Goat, Kids, Milking, Smallholder, Consumption, Teat, Suckling, Likoma