In Nigeria, commercial and domestic goat farming plays a vital role in the development of agriculture in the country. The Northern part of Nigeria is actively involved in commercial goat farming and goat meat is in high demand in the country.
There are different breeds of goats in Nigeria and these breeds produce different quantity/quality of meat, hides, skin, fiber, and milk.
Breeds of Goat in Nigeria & Their Characteristics
The 3 main breeds are:
1) West African Dwarf
This type of goat is commonly found in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, their meat has a special taste and they are commonly reared for beef. This breed of goat has a high resistibility to trypanosome, a common disease of goats.
2) Sokoto Maradi Red
This breed is commonly found in northwestern Nigeria, it is darkly red in colour and weighs between 20 – 30 kg at maturity.
3) Borno Sahel
They are commonly found in the Sahel region of the country, they are well adapted to trekking long distances for grazing, and mature goat weighs between 25-30 kg.
Although these are the main breeds in Nigeria, farmers have begun to import foreign breeds for rearing purposes. Breeds such as Boer, Sirohi, and Kalahari are frequently being purchased from South Africa and India by Nigerian farmers. These breeds are popular for their good body formation and skin quality, helping to provide immense profitability for the farmer.
With good maintenance and feed, an average Boer can grow up to 80 kg in weight, which is much more than an average West African dwarf. The advantages of rearing foreign breeds of goat are numerous, that is if a farmer can overcome the challenges involved.
However, foreign goat breeds can be costly, Importing a 30 kg Sirohi breed can go up to N72, 000, while an 80-100 kg goat of the same breed goes for almost N200, 000. Generally, the full cost of importing these goats breed varies which is due to cost like vaccination, customs duty, and air freight.
If a farmer can surmount these challenges, foreign breeds can be very profitable. They can also be cross breed with the local breed or raised breed pure. Kid goats of a foreign breed can be sold for nice sums to other livestock farmers in Nigeria.
To properly benefit from raising a foreign breed of goat, it would be advisable to buy one or two male goats and three or more female goats for starters based on the finances of the farmer.
Although foreign breeds are very profitable, with the right amount of care, feed and management, farmers can make a good profit from raising local breeds of goats.
Now, let’s take a look at the local and exotic breeds of goats in the country.
This breed is characterized by a short fine coat that could be black, red, white or spotted. They can have medium or large body size. The goats have short ears possessed horizontally, the horns drop down. Both male and female have horns, these animals well adapted for long-distance trekking, and can survive in desert areas of the country. The goats have long legs that make them adapted for nomadic life. The weight of a mature goat is 25 – 30 kg. This breed of goats mostly used for meat. They also called “Ogufe” especially in the South-west of the country.
Maradi or Red Sokoto
This bread is found mostly in Sokoto. This breed is considered one of the most well defined African breeds. The color of the skin coat is red, and it is very valued for leather production. There is also a sub-breed of this goat, they are called Kano brown and Boronu white. The goats have horns and horizontally positioned short ears. Mature animals have 20- 30 kg of weight.
African Dwarf Goats
This is a different breed of goat in Nigeria. Such a type of goats can be founded in forest areas of the country. The animal has a small size of body and short legs. Such characteristics allow them to move easily through thick vegetation of the forest. The colors can be different from black to white or gray or even multicolored. The height of a mature goat is 40 or 50 cm, and the weight is from 18 to 20kg. The breed is resistant to trypanosome and very hardy.
This is another small-size type of goats. The weight of an adult person is around 39 kg. They are short and slightly chubby. The time of life is ten years on average. They are characterized as very smart animals and can be great pets. They can easily adapt to different climate conditions.
This breed is widespread all over the world but originates from Switzerland. The animal has a white coat and large in size. Mature goats obtain a weight of about 75 kg. They are also able to produce 3 liters of milk a day.
This breed came from England, it can have different colors, but white and brown dominate. The weight of mature breed can be from 60 to 70 kg. This breed is very adaptable to a tropical climate.
This is another breed from Switzerland. It is widespread and known all over the world. They have chocolate or brown coat. The weight of mature animals is usually from 50 to 65 kg. They usually produce 2-2.5 liters of milk a day.
The goats originate from Alp region, they are known for a variety of colors. The weight is usually from 60 to 65 kg. Farmers usually use them for both milk and meat production.
This breed originated from India, the animals have large lopped ears and most often has black or brown colors. An adult animal can rich 75 kg of weight. Such goats are adapted for tropics and have good potential for meat and milk production.
This breed is white in color usually with brown neck and head. The adult goat weighs 130 kg and farmers kept them mostly for meat production. They are horned and have lop ears.