19 July 2016

Namibia: Indigenous Veld Goat

INDIGENOUS goats arrived in southern Africa with migrating tribes and are found in the specific areas where the different ethnic groups settled.

The general appearance of these goats tends to support theories that they originated in different ecosystems and specific types have been described fairly accurately. The indigenous veld goat was officially registered as a breed in 2006 and a breeders' society was established.

Various ecotypes are distinguished: Nguni type (mbuzi) is a multi-coloured species with semi pendulous ears; Eastern Cape Xhosa - multi-coloured with lob ears; Northern Cape, lob eared, speckled (bont) goats and the Kunene type (Kaokoland) - multi-coloured with lob ears.

The goat is naturally bred for functional efficiency; they are antelope-like with longer legs, so they move with ease and can walk long distances, to either graze or browse on a variety of plants.

They are highly fertile even from a young age, have a long breeding season and produce offspring the year through.

The meat (chevon) is succulent with good flavour, and very low in cholesterol. The ecotypes in heart water areas are resistant to disease. Normal production environment is the hot, dry to hot, humid bush veld and savannah. The Nguni are small to medium frame, well-proportioned goats with females much smaller than the males.

Naturally polled animals are found in the breed, but are rare in most areas. Beards are present in both sexes, where they are small in females and large in males, where it flows into the longer hair of the neck.

The Nguni goat is a multi-coloured breed, with a wide variety of uniform colours, white, black, fawn, brown and red-brown, pied, dappled and speckled, and all combinations of these colours.

Most goats have a short, glossy hair coat, and some goats are inclined to grow cashmere in cold winters. Individuals with longer hair on the lower body and hindquarters are sometimes found. The Nguni type is probably more abundant than the other distinct types of indigenous goats in southern Africa.

They occur specifically in the higher rainfall area stretching from the Ciskei, Transkei, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, Northern Province, Botswana, the Caprivi, and extreme northern, high rainfall area of Namibia.

The Speckled goat's whole body is covered with red, red-brown or black spots. The head and legs are almost a solid colour, with a white blaze on the forehead between the horns. They have a dark stripe on top of the back, and on the front of the neck. The lower part of the legs is an almost solid dark pigmented colour.

Speckled goats have excellent pigmentation with good colouration on the most vulnerable parts of the body (muzzle, eyes, ears, top of the back, lower legs, front of the neck). Most goats have short glossy hair, and are inclined to grow cashmere in cold winters.

The Kaokoland goat can be described as a hardy, lanky, large framed breed with slender, finely boned legs, well adapted to the harsh climate of the Kunene region. They are excellent walkers, adapted to walking the long distances between water points or any available water.

These goats have long narrow faces with a flat to slightly convex profile. The ears are large and droopy, similar to those of the Boer goat. Horns are present in both sexes. A very small percentage of the population is naturally polled.

Beards occur in both sexes, although the occurrence is much lower in females than in males. In females the beard is small, and in males it may vary from small to large.

The Kaokoland goat is a multi-coloured breed, with a wide variety of uniform colours, white, black, fawn, brown and red-brown, pied and all combinations of these colours, including speckled combinations. The goats are sometimes covered with hair varying from short straight hair, to long straight hair, and long slightly curly hair.

This breed is found in the north-western Namibia in the Kunene region. It is a very dry, mountainous area with low and very variable rainfall. The vegetation is mopani-savannah veld. The Ovahimba live a semi-nomadic lifestyle, moving with their animals to where grazing is available. - grootfontein agri college

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