Goat Production Practices and Constraints in Mixed Crop Livestock and Agro-Pastoral Production Systems of Dire Dawa Administration, Ethiopia
A survey was conducted to assess goat production system and production constraints under two farming systems (Agro-pastoral (AP) and mixed crop livestock (MCL)) in the rural areas of Dire Dawa Administration, Ethiopia. Semi structured questionnaire was used to collect information from 150 goat owning households. Household goat holding was higher in AP (32.00±2.3) as compared to MCL farming system (14.13±1.08). Lower age at first kidding (16.08±0.24 months) and shorter kidding interval (7.64±0.11 months) was reported in MCL as compared to AP farming system (17.00±0.21 and 8.23±0.14 months, respectively). Age at marketing in AP (13.83±0.89 months) was lower than MCL farming system (17.55±0.75 months). In both farming systems, cash income from sales of live goat was the primary objective of goat production. Grazing on natural pasture in wet season and crop stubble after crop harvest were the main sources of feed. About 79.3% of the total respondents have got their own buck. Higher proportion of respondents in AP farming (84%) practice breeding buck selection as compared to MCL farming system (53.3%). In both farming systems, size, parent performance and body conformation were the three main criteria to select breeding buck. Goats are kept overnight in an open kraal in AP farming (72%) and with human in the same main living house in MCL farming system (48%). Feed scarcity was ranked as the first important constraint of goat rearing, while disease and predator attack in MCL, and scarcity of water and market access in AP farming system ranked as second and third important constraints, respectively. Thus, enhancement of goat production in the study area requires improvement in quality and quantity of the available feed, improved breeding practices, housing practices, utilization of health services, and access to water and market.