Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Veterinary Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparison of Boer, Kiko, and Spanish meat goat does for stayability and cumulative reproductive output in the humid subtropical southeastern United States

Ashley N Pellerin and Richard Browning*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research, Tennessee State University, Nashville, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:136  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-136

Published: 17 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Longevity is the amount of time breeding females stay active in a herd by avoiding death or culling because of illness or reproductive failure. This is a trait of economic relevance in commercial small ruminant breeding herds as it affects lifetime reproductive output. The purpose of this study was to determine if breed of meat goat influences breeding doe survival rates and cumulative reproductive performance under semi-intensive management.

Results

Boer (n = 132), Kiko (n = 92) and Spanish (n = 79) does were evaluated for longevity trends and cumulative kid production. The herd was managed on humid subtropical pasture. Does had the chance to complete 2 to 6 production years. Survival curves were analyzed for 2 culling methods. The actual culling practice removed does after two failures to wean a kid. An alternative culling protocol removed doe records after the first failure to wean a kid. Kid production traits analyzed across herd life were the total number of kids weaned and cumulative kid weight weaned to the 2-, 3-, and 5-year stayability endpoints. Most (82%) doe exits were illness-related under the actual culling method. Reproductive failure represented 51% of doe exits under the alternative culling protocol. Boer does had greater survival declines (P < 0.01) from 2 to 6 years of herd life compared with Kiko and Spanish under both culling protocols. Boer does had lower stayability rates (P < 0.01) at each year endpoint for both culling protocols. Under the alternative protocol, over 50% of Boer does failed to complete 2 years, whereas over 50% of Kiko and Spanish does successfully completed 4 years. Boer does had lower (P < 0.01) total number of kids weaned and cumulative weight weaned through each stayability endpoint compared with Kiko and Spanish.

Conclusion

Boer does had low stayability and cumulative kid production rates compared with Kiko and Spanish does. Poor health was the primary driver of does exiting the herd. Kiko and Spanish does did not differ for longevity and lifetime performance indicators.

Keywords:
Meat goats; Boer; Longevity; Lifetime performance; Adult; Mortality; Reproduction