5.0 Breeding


 At the end of the session farmers should be able to:
Understand different breeding systems         
Understand different mating systems 
Formulate their own breeding calendars.  


5.1 Breeding systems

The breeding system is an important aspect of goat production in terms of meat and milk production. It has a significant influence on immediate and long-term flock productivity.


This involves the mating of different breeds to combine characteristics found in the different breeds and to make use of the “hybrid vigour”. In simple terms this means that the offspring performs better than the parents.  Crossbreeding is one of the methods used in meat and milk production. It can be disastrous, if not done properly, leading to the disappearance of the existing genetic pool.

            A                                 B  
(Boer Goat male) X (Indigenous female goat)
AB (Crossbred)    

Pure breeding:

  In this system purebred females are run with purebred males (bucks) to maintain the desired traits (colour, size, meat and milk qualities) of that particular breed.

5.2 Mating systems

It is important for the farmers to know different mating systems that can be applied to their breeding flock.

Random mating is letting any number of bucks to run with a flock of females uncontrolled 

Advantages of random mating

1) Simple 

2) Cheap

3) Goats can kid any time, therefore a farmer can sell any time.


  1. High risk of inbreeding 
  2. High risk of spread of diseases.

Assortive mating is putting the best females to the best buck. This is better than the random mating 

Advantages of Assortive mating

.           1) High quality breeds

            2) Maintain genetic base 


  1. Unavailability of appropriate breeding stock
  2. Difficult to implement in communal set ups
  3. Lack of technical skills, including records

5.3 Selection and Culling

Selection:  is a process of choosing the animals with desirable characteristics to be parents of the next generation. 

Culling: It is the process of removing unproductive animals (old goats, animals with poor mothering abilities, poor reproductive performance, and animals with chronic sicknesses) from the flock

5.5 Mating Ratio 

In a controlled mating system:

  • A male goat should run with females for 36-42 days. The reason being that a female which misses mating or coming into heat has a second chance within the mentioned period. 
  • A mature buck can be given 40-50 females to service. A young buck can be given 25-30 females. The effectiveness of both male and females depends on their body condition at mating. 

5.4 Breeding calendar

Below is a calendar that can assist the farmers to plan their flock breeding cycles. This helps the farmer to plan when to purchase inputs, market and to carry strategic operations.