Indicators of reproductive performance in goats and sheep meat production
Keywords:Reproductive Indicators, Goats, Sheep, Meat Production
Reproductive performance is a major contributing factor to the efficiency of goat and sheep meat production. Therefore, enhancement of reproductive capacity of goat and sheep flocks is among the most effective mechanisms of increasing the overall meat production. There is an inessential difference between productivity and reproductivity, as almost of the reproductive parameters are the ones that greatly influence production, consequently the viability of any goat and sheep enterprise: stated differently, production is equal to reproduction. Reproductive performance and its interactions on the productivity of goats and sheep flocks, especially with regards to the management of each ewe’s/doe’s lifetime production (female replacement determination), are structural grantors of a complex biological system that determine meat yield. The principal goal of goat and sheep reproduction is to iterate generations for a specified production intention, first and foremost meat, milk or wool as defined by species or breeds and their crosses and in special circumstances, the production of animals of superior economic priority. Some of the measures of reproductive performance include parameters such as survival rate, prolificacy, sexual maturity, lambing age and interval, conception rates, kid/lambs weaned per year etc. Reproductive characteristics are sensitive to environmental factors as a result can easily adapt to sound flock reproductive management practices. More or less important variables goat and sheep farmers need to attentively consider to promote reproductive performance are age of animals, weather, season, and nutrition. There is evidence that nutrition and management are major determinants of kids’/lambs survival rates, while genetic has been a dominant factor controlling prolificacy. Regardless of the fact that genetics of animals is important in goat and sheep reproduction, reproductive traits are lowly heritable as a result any attempt to genetically improve reproductive efficiency becomes slow and difficult. This entails reproductive efficiency through genetic selection is completely implausible. It is assumed that understanding the measures of reproduction, especially females in order to attain an optimum number of new-born of the required attributes at the most convenient time and at a minimum cost is critical for mutton and chevon producers. The earlier the replacement females starts to give birth to young ones, the more the young ones they produce in their life time, and also the longer the females’ productive life as a result contributing to long term flock productivity. Protracted kidding/lambing interval will reduce overall productivity in goats and sheep meat production, while persistent check on reproductive indicators throughout all phases in the reproductive cycle allows producers to adopt husbandry management practices that are meant to optimise overall meat productivity in goats and sheep. The present review gives an insight on some of the indicators of reproductive performance and their possible impact on the overall productivity in goats and sheep meat production.
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