Crossbreeding of the Galla Goat at the Centre of Excellence for Livestock Innovation and Business

Galla goats are white haired with a black skin, on the nose (muzzle) feet and beneath the tail. The Galla goat also known as the Boran or Somali goat is indigenous to Northern Kenya. It is reared for both meat and milk and is locally referred to as the milk queen of the Kenyan arid and semi arid areas. The female weighs 45-55kgs and is about 60cm wide at the shoulders. The male weighs up to 70kgs.

The Galla goat is known to exhibit remarkable prowess in regaining weight after dry spells. It produces relatively higher amounts of milk compared to the East African Goat and has heavier yearlings. It does quite well when crossbred with other breeds. There are numerous crossbreeds with the Boer and the East African Goat.

Genetic improvements are small but cumulative, making it a powerful way of increasing efficiency in animal production. Improvement by selection is however considered too slow and expensive. It also requires that most of the flocks be officially performance and pedigree recorded if desired levels and rates of genetic improvements are to be achieved. Opportunities exist to improve productivity, adaptation and welfare of these breeds through within-breed selection and crossbreeding. Therefore of some native breeds with selected exotic breeds has generally been accepted in principle and practiced as a shortcut to genetic improvement of indigenous livestock under smallholder farmer management. Fitness of the resulting crossbred doe population is typically overlooked as performance is often the focus of new breed assessment.

Minimal investments on breed improvement strategies have been laid out, yet these small ruminants continue to dominate most African households. Due to this reason, the Centre of Excellence for Livestock Innovation and Business purchased Seventeen Galla goats. The goats shall be crossbred to achieve a high breed vigour which will positively affect the functional traits such as fertility and milk production. Thereafter the F1 shall be distributed to farmers.

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