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Production systems of Creole goat and their implications for a breeding programme

Gunia, M., Mandonnet, N., Arquet, R., Chevrotière, C. de la, Naves, M., Mahieu, M., Alexandre, G.
Animal 2010 v.4 no.12 pp. 2099-2105
goats, goat breeds, livestock production, goat meat, tropics, animal breeding, genetic improvement, crossing, crossbreds, breeding value, selection criteria, national surveys, farmers, farmers' attitudes, disease resistance, breeding stock, Guadeloupe
The Creole goat is a local meat breed well adapted to the tropical environment of Guadeloupe, a French island in the Caribbean. A survey of 47 goat farmers was conducted in May 2008 to describe the Guadeloupean goat farming systems. It was the preliminary step for the implementation of a breeding programme for Creole goats. Farmers had 31 does on average. A small number (4%) kept only Creole goats. Most of them (62%) had a mixed herd of Creole and crossbreds. One-third of them (34%) reared only crossbred goats. Farmers appreciate the rusticity and resistance of the Creole goat but consider its growth as too slow. The most desired traits for goat selection were conformation and growth for males (77% of the answers). These traits were also important for females (30% of the answers). Maternal qualities were also frequently cited (maternal behaviour 23%, reproduction 20% and milk production 17%). Disease resistance was not seen as an important trait (10% and 7% of the answers for bucks and does, respectively). A typology constituted of five groups of farmers was also created. Farmers of three groups were retained to participate at a selection programme. They kept Creole goats and have expressed a strong willingness to join a selection programme. The results of the survey suggest that a breeding programme should mostly focus on the Creole goat as a maternal breed. Real consideration should be given to disease resistance. The Creole goat has indeed a key role to play in the sustainability of local farming systems.