Supervisors: Lars Olav Eik / Tormod Ådnøy (IHA) / Dr. T.N. Gondwe (Univ. Of Malawi)
Summary from the thesis - PhD thesis 2011:50
Kid rearing strategies are a key to continuous supply of milk to Dairies and reduction of kid rearing cost that will also optimize farmer's income by increasing by-products and maintaining the beautiful cultural landscape in Norway. Traditionally goats are bred for kidding around February and supply milk to Dairies according to quota. As a result of concentrated kidding, there is uneven supply to Dairies. In addition, farmers prioritize kid rearing of replacement stock and lay off the others kid at birth. Therefore, study I evaluated dam kid rearing methods on natural pasture, and also assessed the effect of increasing the grazing hours on milk yield, kid growth and milk composition. Goat behavior and feed selection pattern of dam in each of the grazing systems were also studied. To offer alternative kid rearing system, automatic suckling machines were also evaluated to increase milk supplies for goats kidding in periods of short milk supplies in study II. Unlike focusing only on kid growth, kid rearing methods need to focus on farmer's available milk.
Traditional kid suckling methods used by dairy goat farmers in Tanzania were also evaluated in Study III for farmers' available milk and kid growth. Traditional methods of one teat milking and one teat suckling twice a day; and once milking and whole day kid suckling were evaluated along with twice milking and kid bottle feeding. Though household milk utilization is the driving force for promotion of goat milk interventions for human nutrition, goat milk utilization is a challenge for goat milk interventions. Study IV was conducted on Likoma Island which has a tradition of milking local goats in Malawi to identify the missing link for goat milk utilization in goat milk interventions.
In experiment I, none suckling goats gave 42% more milk than suckling does in year 1 and 38% more in year two. Kid growth rates were similar for one and two kids reared by the dam in year two (162g/day vs 158g/day) and (172g/day vs 162g/day) in year one. While in experiment II, day and night grazing gave 14% more and higher kid growth rates. In experiment III, pre-weaning kid growth rates were higher for dam reared kids but automatic suckling gave comparable post weaning kid growth rates on pasture. In experiment IV, twice milking and bottle feeding resulted in loss of 55% of farmer's milk as compared to one teat milking and one teat suckling twice a day and 47 % loss compared to once milking and suckling whole day in year one. Similar losses were observed in year two, at 49% and 64% as compared to one teat milking and one teat suckling; and once a day milking and suckling kid whole day respectively. Finally, experiment V, showed that goat milking found its niche in a cultural context where the tea culture expresses both local identity and social motivation. Goat milk in tea enhances both the social - and nutritional - value of the tea and the cultural values within the community.
It is therefore concluded that dam kid rearing is profitable for better quality milk delivery to Dairies and labor saving on kid rearing which can offer extra income from sales of goat kids. March kidding also ensures even supply of milk to Dairies. Moreover, adopting day and night grazing for dam kid rearing on mountain pasture would optimize utilization, allow for better kid growth rates and offers high milk yield. Where farmers have lactating goats in winter, automatic suckling machine offers alternative rearing method of replacement stock which allow for high milk supplies when prices are high. In support of dairy improvement programs in the tropics, traditional suckling regimes of once a day milking offers high amounts of farmer's available milk. Where fresh supplies of milk are required for household use, one teat milking and one teat suckling is beneficial. The study also highlights the significance of cultural, social and environmental context of dairy goat interventions for sustainability and utilization of livestock interventions.