The Savannah goats
The white Savannah goat offers more opportunities because of its niche market in Arabian, especially for its tender meat.
The Savannah breed was developed from indigenous goats of South Africa. One of the advantages of these goats was the fact that the white colour is dominant over most others which is preferred by the Arabs, who consider white to be clean.
The other reason is that there is a big demand for white goats for slaughter purposes for various reasons, including religious Passovers. In 1957, Cilliers and Sons along the Vaal River became the best-known of the originators of this meat goat breed.
On the rugged, harsh bush country where temperatures and rainfall can vary by a marked extent, natural selection played a big role in the development of these fertile, easy to care for, heat and drought resistant animals.
These goats have thick, pliable skins with short white hair, which makes the skins good. The Savannah has excellent reproduction, muscular development, good bones and strong legs and hooves. Just like the Boer goats, the Savannah have large pendulous (floppy) ears and a convex face (‘Roman nose’).
The Savannah has a high reproductive rate of around 10% triplets and 50% twins in its lifetime. It can deliver as many as 10 times in its lifespan.
With the Savannah, a farmer has got a 50% chance of getting twins. Comparatively, while a local goat takes over a year to reach meat maturity, a pure Savannah takes five months.
At that time, it will have at least 45kg of live weight or at least 35kg of carcass weight.
The Boer goats
These also have their origins in South-Africa.
They are characteristically white with chest-nut red head and white main body. The horns are prominently rounded and set well apart, growing with a gradual backward curve.
The head is strong with large eyes. Ears are visibly broad, drooping and medium length. The coat is soft, smooth and glossy, while the hairs are short to medium in length.
Boer goats are excellent meat producers and have a good quality skin. The females are ready to start kidding by eight months and can kid at least three times every two years.
They have high reproductive rates of 7% triplets and 50% twins.
Mature males can grow to 120kg, while females weigh 100kg.
If a Savannah is cross-bred with another goat, one will get 50% Savannah. If the offspring is cross-bred with a Savannah, one will get 75% Savannah or boer. Further multiplication of the 75% with a pure Savannah or boer will give one a pure Savannah or boer goat.
Saanen and Toggenburg
These originate from Switzerland. The saneen is white, while the toggenburg is greyish. Both are excellent milk producers, with three litres per day if they are fed well. However, very few farmers are keeping them in Uganda because goat milk is not yet popular.
The Mubende goat
This is said to have originated from greater Mubende area, including areas of Kyenjojo and Kamwenge. It is one of the most popular local goats.
The Mubende goat can grow up to 30-35kg for the females while a male can grow to 50kg. When it starts developing horns, they turn backwards towards the nape of the neck, however, some do not have horns.
The mubende goat starts kidding after 18-20 months or one year and eight months and can produce a kid after every 300 days.
They averagely produce 68% singles, 30% twins and 1.7% triplets.
This has its origins from Kigezi region, which includes the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Rukungiri and Kanungu. It is medium in size and has a hairy coat, especially on the hind parts. The skin is dominantly black, with the average mature weight at 25-30kg.
When it starts developing horns, they grow upright, then backwards towards the nape. It starts kidding at around 20 months.
Small EA goat
This has its origins in the north of the country, including West-Nile, Acholi, Lango, Teso, Karamoja and Sebei regions.
This goat comes in many mixed skin colours including white with brown patches, black spots or stripes. Its skin is smooth.
This goat can grow up to 20-25kg of live weight.
Small EA goats attain sexual maturity under good management at just seven months and can produce at least twice a year.
The Karamoja goat
This is similar to the Galla goat found in Kenya. It can grow to up to 30kg and is adapted to the environment in Karamoja.
They are scientifically referred to as ‘locational’ varieties because they are nurtured according to their environments.
These have not been so much adopted outside Karamoja and Sebei.