Grazing Behaviour of Saanen and Toggenburg Goats in Sub-Humid Tropical Conditions of Kenya

  • Njoka-Njiru, E.N. (Department of Animal Science, Egerton University) ;
  • Ojango, J.M. (Department of Animal Science, Egerton University) ;
  • Ambula, M.K. (Department of Animal Science, Egerton University) ;
  • Ndirangu, C.M. (Department of Animal Science, Egerton University)
  • Received : 2000.12.22
  • Accepted : 2001.03.31
  • Published : 2001.07.01


The behaviour of 6 Toggenburg and 6 Saanen female goats, grazing on natural vegatation in a modified sub-humid tropical environment of Kenya, was studied during the dry (January and February) and wet (April and May) seasons in 1997. The two exotic breeds grazed for 12 h daily. Observation on feeding, standing, lying and ruminating was done chronometrically at five minute intervals between 0600 and 1800 h. These grazing times were based on the current practice of small holder farmers. During the dry period, the average feeding, standing, lying and ruminating time per 12 h period for Saanens was 5.63, 4.57, 1.80 and 1.50 h respectively while that for Toggenburgs was 7.26, 3.21, 1.53 and 1.96 h, respectively. In the wet(Green) season, the mean feeding, standing, lying and ruminating time for Saanens was found to be 5.08, 4.63, 2.29 and 0.72, respectively.Toggenburgs spent more time feeding (p<0.05) than Saanens in both seasons. It was also observed that standing occured more often in Saanens than the Toggenburgs in the dry season. During the wet period, Saanens ruminated significantly longer than the Toggenburgs. The health status of the animals was determined by analyzing the respiratory frequency, heart rate, rectal temperature, hemoglobin, erythrocytes and leucocytes of the experimental animals. All the clinical and physiological parameters were within the normal physiological range of healthy goats. It was concluded that differences in the grazing behaviour of Saanens and Toggenburgs in the modified tropical environment of Kenya, do exist.


Supported by : Department of Animal Science, Egerton University