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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Foraging and Body Condition Characterization of Goats in Northwestern India


Our objective was to characterize feeding practices and nutritional status of goats in the Jhadol block, Udaipur district (Rajasthan) in northwestern India. Goat owners (n=64) were interviewed in 10 villages of Jhadol block. The questionnaire targeted aspects of the livestock system including socio-economic characteristics, livestock management, goat feeding and physical assessment of goat condition, and was broken into general household data, goat husbandry practices, goat diet composition, feeding habits, feed shortage mitigation, crop residue use and lactation. Local inhabitants relied heavily on their own land (77%) for subsistence and many depended on income as wage labourers (38%). Households owned between one and 22 goats, with an average of 6.59 goats. Goat health was assessed with body condition scoring, which was significantly correlated with geographic cluster (P=0.0049), household forage cultivation (P=0.0238) and rainy season lopping of tree branches for goat feed (P=0.0275). Goat management practices were defined by the total number of seasons that households took goats foraging away from home. Seasons foraged correlated with geographic cluster (P=0.0004), goat herd size (P=0.0055) and total number of other livestock owned (P=0.013). These aspects of the semi-intensive goat system in Udaipur district improve understanding of household characteristics and practices impacting nutritional management and goat condition. Information presented here advances knowledge of goat farming systems in rural northwestern India and can direct future goat nutrition research initiatives.

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