Influence of body weight, age and management system on reproduction of South African Angora goat does
The effect of doe age, body weight and different management systems, as practiced in various Angora goat studs, on reproductive performance of does was investigated. The data used were collected from 2000 to 2004 on 12 Angora goat studs kept under different management systems. The data set analysed for this study contained data of 6271 does, each with a varying number of kidding opportunities. This amounted to 14644 doe records where each record included body weight before mating, body weight at scanning (ultrasound scanning for pregnancy diagnosis) and all reproductive performance data. There was a wide range pertaining to reproductive performance among the various studs. Apart from a high kid mortality rate, which is regarded by breeders as the most important factor contributing to low weaning percentages, nearly 20% of the does did not conceive or lost their foetuses before birth. Body weight of does before mating ranged from 13.0 kg to 59.6 kg (average = 34.6 kg) among animals, while body weight at scanning ranged from 18.0 kg to 67.0 kg (average = 38.6 kg). All reproductive parameters recorded had a typical inverted U-shaped relationship with age of dam, where the 2- and 3-year-old does and does older than 9 years of age fared significantly worse than the 4- to 9-year-old does. Management system had a significant influence on reproductive performance of does in the different studs. Higher reproductive rates were recorded under those management systems where additional or supplementary feeding at various stages of the reproductive cycle were supplied. Body weights before mating and at scanning had significant positive relationships with reproduction. For every kilogram increase in body weight before mating, 0.0237 and 0.0218 more kids will be born and weaned, respectively. Body weights before mating of young does that were kept on pastures until 18 months of age were higher than those of maiden does in the other management systems, resulting in
higher reproductive rates. Number of kids scanned, born and weaned per maiden doe at first kidding increased with an increase in body weight at first mating. From the results it is evident that body weight, age of the doe and management system all have a significant effect on the reproduction of Angora goats.
Keywords: Nutrition, mating, pregnancy, kidding performance