Morphological characterization and evaluation of heat tolerance traits in Nigerian goat breeds
There are three main breeds of goat in Nigeria: The West African Dwarf (WAD), the Red Sokoto and the Sahel. Goats are renowned for their hardiness and can survive in most environments. The goats sampling was carried out from farms and markets across different states in Nigeria, according to the geographical distribution of the breeds published by Blench (1999). This experiment was carried out to analyse morphological variability among Nigerian goats. A total of 318 goats spread across the three Nigerian breeds were used in the following populations (57 Sahel, 187 Red Sokoto and 137 West African Dwarf). Data were collected on body weight, linear body measurements and heat tolerance traits and were subjected to analysis of variance using the fixed effects of breed, sex and location. Results showed that breed, sex and location significantly (P<0.05) affected all the linear body measurements and heat tolerance traits. The Sahel breed had the highest values in most of the measured traits compared to the West African Dwarf and the Red Sokoto breeds of goat. It was observed that goats from the northern part of Nigeria were heavier than their southern counterparts, and this can be likened to their genetic makeup and the extent of its interaction with the environment. The results of the study confirmed the population structure of Nigerian goat breeds and showed that they possess enough diversity to enhance genetic improvement for higher survival and productivity.
Keywords: Goat, Breed, Traits, Respiratory rate and Pulse rate