Health status of non-descript goats travelling long distances to water source

  • C. Mseleku
  • S. Z. Ndlela
  • M. V. Mkwanazi
  • M. ChimonyoEmail author
Short Communications


The objective of the study was to determine the influence of distance to water source on health status of non-descript weaners and does. The goats were situated at 0.25, 0.75, 1.25, 1.75, 2.25, 2.75 and 3.25 km from the Pongola river. Body condition score (BCS) declined faster in male weaners than female weaners as the distance to water source increased (P < 0.001). The rate of decline in BCS was similar between does and female weaners as the distance to water source increased (P > 0.05). Rectal temperature (RT) of all goat classes increased with an increase in distance to water source (P < 0.05). Rate of change in RT was higher in female weaners than male weaners and does as the distance to water source increased (P < 0.01). The increase in FAMACHA scores was higher in male weaners than does and female weaners as the distance to water source increased (P < 0.05). Does had the smallest drop in packed cell volume (PCV) than female and male weaners as the distance to water source increased (P > 0.05). All goat classes were severely affected by the distance to water source; however, the effects were more adverse in male weaners than in female weaners and does. Body condition score and PCV declined, whereas RT and FAMACHA increased with an increase in distance travelled by goats to the water source. It can be concluded that both male and female weaners were more susceptible to increasing distance to water source.


Body condition score FAMACHA Packed cell volume Rectal temperature Water scarcity 



The authors acknowledge the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) for the work space and facilities, key informants and veterinary services of Jozini community for their cooperation.

Funding information

This research is funded by the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge System-National Research Foundation (CIKS-NRF).

Compliance with ethical standards

The use and care of the experimental animals were ethically proved (Reference No.: AREC/043/017) by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Animal Research Ethics Committee.

Consent form for participation

The farmers were provided with a written consent form to participate in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal and Poultry Science, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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