Smallholder goat breeding and flock management practices in the central rift valley of Ethiopia
The study was conducted in the central rift valley of Ethiopia to define Arsi-Bale goat keepers' breeding objectives and breeding practices and to describe flock management practices and rate of inbreeding in Arsi-Bale goat population. Two-stage sampling techniques were employed to select study sites and 202 respondents. Semistructured questionnaire and group discussion were used to collect the required information. Data were analyzed using statistical package for social science. Rate of inbreeding in the population and indices were also calculated. On average, each respondent holds around 12 goats in which 30.7, 66.6 and 2.7% were males, females and castrates, respectively. The most important purpose of goat production in the study area was for milk utilization. Farmers have multiple breeding objectives and they considered both subjective and objective selection criteria with slightly more emphasis on morphological characteristics for buck selection than replacement doe selection. Only 39.1% ( = 79) of respondents have their own breeding bucks. None of the respondents practiced controlled mating. Average rate of inbreeding in the population was around 0.20. Arsi-Bale goats are found to be adaptive to the prevailing condition. Therefore, any breed improvement strategy to be designed or implemented in the study area and other similar areas should consider important traditional breeding practices.