Nigerian West African Dwarf Goats

  • Saidu O. Oseni
  • Abdulmojeed Yakubu
  • Adenike R. Aworetan


West African dwarf (WAD) goats represent a major livestock resource in the humid West and Central Africa where they are distributed across 15 countries. These goats are raised in low-input systems where they contribute to income and livelihoods of millions of people, with women playing key roles in local WAD goat value chains. These goats are renowned for their high fertility, multiple births, high twining rates, all season breeding, in addition to variations in qualitative traits within populations, justifying further policies for their conservation and sustainable use. Their rusticity and adaptation to backyard systems, as well as their cultural significance, contribute to their popularity. In spite of these attributes, severe constraints to production include absence of a policy-driven agenda for their sustainable production and utilization and no systematic long-term breeding programmes for their genetic improvement. This chapter reviews the status of WAD goat production and proposes strategies for their full exploitation as part of a poverty reduction agenda. Knowledge gaps including situation analysis (i.e. status of policies, institutions, infrastructure and capacities for sustainable WAD goat production) and analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to WAD goat production systems are suggested. Proposed interventions include the following: a regional policy-driven agenda on sustainable WAD goat production, systematic long-term research and development strategy (i.e. breeding policy, infrastructure for recording, genetic evaluation and provision of estimated breeding values to farmers as a clientele service, etc.), WAD goat value chain mapping, analysis, chain empowerment, gender inclusiveness and livestock entrepreneurship through WAD goat production. These programmes could contribute to the sustainable exploitation and conservation of the genetic potentials of WAD goats for wealth creation, especially for resource-limited families.



EU-funded iLINOVA project provided the platform and facilitated the development of this work. WAD goat farmers and market women in Osun and Oyo States, south-west Nigeria, who gave us full cooperation during the course of field work on WAD goat value chains.


  1. Abu AH, Mhomga LI, Akogwu EI (2013) Assessment of udder characteristics of West African Dwarf goats reared under different management systems in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. African J Agric Res 8:3255–3258Google Scholar
  2. Adedeji TA, Ogundipe RI, Ige AO et al (2015) Smallholders’ willingness to participate in a nucleus breeding programme for West African Dwarf goats under low-input environment. J Environ Issues Agric Developing Countries 7(1):55–60Google Scholar
  3. Adedeji TA, Ojedapo LO, Adedeji OS et al (2006) Characterization of traditionally reared WAD goats in the derived savannah zone of Nigeria. J Anim Vet Adv 5(8):686–688Google Scholar
  4. Ademosun AA (1987) Appropriate management system for the West African Dwarf goat in the humid tropics. In: Smith OB, Bosman HG (eds) Goat production in the humid tropics. Proceedings of a workshop at the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, pp 21–28Google Scholar
  5. Ademosun AA (1993) The scope for improved small ruminant production in the humid zone of West and Central Africa. The approach of the WAD goat project. Proceedings of an International Workshop, OAU, 6–9 July 1992, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In: Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (eds) Goat production systems in the humid tropics, Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp 2–13Google Scholar
  6. Ademosun AA, Jansen HJ, Van Houtert V (1987) Goat management research at the University of Ife. In: Sumberg JE, Cassaday K (eds) Sheep and goats in humid West Africa. ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pp 34–37Google Scholar
  7. Adeoye SAO (1985) Reproductive performance of West African Dwarf goats in southwestern Nigeria. In: Bourzat D, Wilson RT (eds) Small ruminants in African agriculture. ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pp 18–24Google Scholar
  8. Adjolohoun S, Bindelle J, Adandedjan C et al (2008) Some suitable grasses for ley pastures in Sudanian Africa: the case of the Borgou region in Benin. Base 12(4):405–419Google Scholar
  9. Akusu MO, Egbunike GN (1984) Fertility of the WAD goat in its native environment, following prostaglandins F2-alpha induced estrus. Vet Q 6(3):173–176CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (1993) The WAD goat project package. How it was developed and tested. Proceedings of an International Workshop, OAU, 6–9 July 1992, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In: Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (Eds.) Goat production systems in the humid tropics. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp 23–32Google Scholar
  11. Banda LJ, Dzanja JL, Gondwe TW (2011) Goat marketing systems and channels in selected markets of Lilongwe district Malawi. J Agric Sci Technol 54(1):1200–1203Google Scholar
  12. Batzias FA, Sidiras DK, Spyrou K (2005) Evaluating livestock manures for biogas production: a GIS based method. Renew Energy 30:1161–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bett RC, Kosgey IS, Kahi AK et al (2009) Realities in breed improvement programmes for dairy goats in East and Central Africa. Small Ruminant Res 85:157–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Birteeb PT, Danquah BA, Salifu A-RS (2015) Growth performance of West African Dwarf goats reared in the transitional zone of Ghana. Asian Aust J Anim Sci 9(6):370–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Biscarini F, Nicolazzi EL, Stella A et al (2015) Challenges and opportunities in genetic improvement of local livestock breeds. Front Genet 6:33. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Bitto II, Egbunike GN (2006) Seasonal variation in sperm production, gonadal and extra-gonadal sperm reserves in pubertal WAD goat bucks in their native tropical environment. Livest Res Rural Dev 18(9) (n° 134)Google Scholar
  17. Bosman HG, Ayeni AO (1993) Zootechnical assessment of innovations as adapted and adopted by the goat keepers. Proceedings of an international workshop, OAU, 6–9 July 1992, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In: Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (eds) Goat production systems in the humid tropics. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp 45–57Google Scholar
  18. Chiejina SN, Behnke JM (2011) The unique resistance and resilience of the Nigerian WAD goat to gastro-intestinal nematode infections. Parasit Vectors 4:12.
  19. Chiejina SN, Behnke JM, Fakae BB (2015) Haemoncho-tolerance in West African Dwarf goats. Contribution to sustainable, anthelmintic-free helminth control in traditionally managed Nigerian dwarf goats. Parasite 22:7.
  20. DAGRIS (2007) Domestic animal genetic resource information system database. The West African Dwarf goat breed traits. Available at: Accessed 20 Dec 2016
  21. Daramola JO, Adeloye AA, Fatoba TA and Soladoye AO (2007) Induction of puberty in West African Dwarf buck-kids with exogenous melatonin. Livest Res Rural Dev 19 (9):2007, n° 127Google Scholar
  22. Davran MK, Ocak S, Secer A (2009) An analysis of socio-economic and environmental sustainability of goat production in the Taurus Mountain Villages in the Eastern Mediterranean Region of Turkey, with consideration of gender roles. Trop Anim Health Prod 41:1151–1155CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Dormekpor E (2015) Poverty and gender inequality in developing countries. Developing Country Stud 5(10):76–102Google Scholar
  24. Dossa LH, Wollny C, Gauly M et al (2009) Community-based management of farm animal genetic resources in practice: framework for focal goats in two rural communities in Southern Benin. Anim Genet Resour 44:11–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Egbunike GN, Akusu MO, Carew BAR (1993) Vital reproductive statistics of WAD goats does. Proceedings of an international workshop, OAU, 6–9 July 1992, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In: Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (eds) Goat production systems in the humid tropics. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp 202–207Google Scholar
  26. Epstein H (1971) The origin of the domestic animals of Africa. Africana Publication Corporation, New York, pp 214–220Google Scholar
  27. ERA (2009) An integrated regional value chains approach to agricultural development in Africa. Economic report on Africa (ERA), 2009. Chapter 5, pp 143–182Google Scholar
  28. EURECA Consortium (2010) Local cattle breeds in Europe In: Hiemstra SJ, de Haas Y, Mäki-Tanila A, Gandini G (eds) Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 154 p. Available at
  29. Falconer DS, Mackay TFC (1998) Introduction to quantitative genetics, 4th edn. LongmanGoogle Scholar
  30. FAO (1985) Small ruminant production in the developing countries. In: Tilmon VM, Hanraho JP (eds) Proceedings of an expert consultation held in Sofia, Bulgaria, pp 1–15Google Scholar
  31. FAO (2004) 1st state of the world’s animal genetic resources. Nigeria country report. March, 2004Google Scholar
  32. FAO (2016) Development of an integrated multipurpose animal recording system. FAO animal production and health guidelines, n° 19. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, 167 pGoogle Scholar
  33. Gall C (1996) Goat breed of the World. CTA Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  34. Gizaw S, Getachew T, Edea Z et al (2013) Characterization of indigenous breeding strategies of the sheep farming communities of Ethiopia: a basis for designing community-based breeding programs. ICARDA working paper, Aleppo, Syria, 47 pGoogle Scholar
  35. Hagan BA, Nyameasem JK, Asafu-Adjaye A et al (2014) Effects of non-genetic factors on the birth weight, litter size and pre-weaning survivability of WAD goats in the Accra plains. Livestock Res Rural Dev 26(1) (n° 13)Google Scholar
  36. Haile A, Wurzinger M, Mueller J et al (2011) Guidelines for setting up community-based sheep breeding programs in Ethiopia. ICARDA—tools and guidelines No. 1. ICARDA, Aleppo, SyriaGoogle Scholar
  37. Heifer Project International (2013) Goat value chain toolkit: a guideline for conducting value chain analysis of the goat sub-sector. Retrieved from:
  38. IGAD (2016) Validation of the report of diagnostic goat value chains study. Retrieved from:
  39. Ikwuegbu OA, Tarawali G, Rege JEO (1995) Effects of fodder banks on growth and survival of West African Dwarf goats under village conditions in subhumid Nigeria. Small Ruminant Res 17:101–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ilu IY, Frank A, Annatte I (2016) Review of the livestock/meat and milk value chains and policy influencing them in Nigeria. In: Smith, OB, Salla A, Bedane B (eds). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States, 2016Google Scholar
  41. Kahi AK, Rewe TO, Kosgey IS (2005) Sustainable community-based organizations for the genetic improvement of livestock in developing countries. Outlook Agric 34:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. KIT-Agri-ProFocus and IIRR (2012) Challenging chains to change: gender equity in agricultural value chain development. KIT Publishers, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 347 pGoogle Scholar
  43. Knipscheer HC, Kusnadi U, de Boer AJ (1984) Some efficiency measures for analysis of the productive potential of Indonesian goats. Agric Syst 15:125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kosgey IS, Baker RL, Udo HMJ et al (2006) Successes and failures of small ruminant breeding programmes in the tropics: a review. Small Ruminant Res 61(1):13–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kumar S (2007) Commercial goat farming in India: an emerging agri-business opportunity. Retrieved from:
  46. Kumar S, Rama CA, Kareemulla K et al (2010) Role of goats in livelihood security of rural poor in the less favoured environments. Indian J Agric Econ 65(4):761–781Google Scholar
  47. Lemma H (2014) Livestock entrepreneurship as an emerging self-employment option for university graduates in Ethiopia: overview of concerns and potentials for growth. Eur J Bus Manage 6(4):95–105Google Scholar
  48. Mack SD, Sumberg JE, Okali C (1985) Small ruminant production under pressure: the example of goats in southeast Nigeria In: Sumberg S, Cassaday K (eds) Sheep and goats in humid West Africa. Proceedings of the workshop on small ruminant production systems in the humid zone of West Africa, held in Ibadan, Nigeria, 23–26 Jan 1984, ILCA, Addis Ababa, Nigeria, pp 47–52Google Scholar
  49. March C, Smyth IA, Mukhopadhyay M (1999) Harvard analytical framework and people-oriented planning. A guide to gender-analysis frameworks. Oxfam, p 43Google Scholar
  50. Mason IL (1996) A world dictionary of livestock breeds, types and varieties, 4th edn. C.A.B. International, 273 pGoogle Scholar
  51. Miller BA, Dubeuf J-P, Luginbuhl J-M, Capote J (2015) Scaling up goat-based interventions to benefit the poor: a report by the International Goat Association based on the IGA/IFAD knowledge harvesting project, 2011–2012. Retrieved from:
  52. Morrison PS, Murray WE, Ngidang D (2006) Promoting indigenous entrepreneurship through small-scale contract farming: the poultry sector in Sarawak, Malaysia. Singap J Trop Geogr 27:191–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Muthee AM (2006) An analysis of pastoralist livestock and livestock products market value chains and potential external markets for live animals and meat. AU-IBAR-NEPDP-2006, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  54. Ngere LO, Adu IF, Okubanjo IO (1984) Indigenous goats of Nigeria. Anim Genet Resour 3:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ngongeh LA, Onyeabor A (2015) Comparative response of the West African Dwarf goats to experimental infections with red Sokoto and West African Dwarf goat isolates of Haemonchus Contortus. J Pathog 728210.
  56. Notter DR, Baker RL, Cockett NE (2007) The outlook for quantitative and molecular genetic applications in improving sheep and goats. Small Ruminant Res 70:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Odubote IK (1992) Characterization of the WAD goat for certain qualitative traits. Niger J Anim Prod 19:37–41Google Scholar
  58. Odubote IK (1994) Influence of qualitative traits on the performance of WAD goats. Niger J Anim Prod 21:25–28Google Scholar
  59. Odubote IK (1996) Genetic analysis of the reproductive performance of West African Dwarf Goats in the humid tropics. In: Lebbie SHB, Kagwini E (eds) Small ruminant research and development in Africa. Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial congress of the African small ruminant research network, Kampala, Uganda, pp 33–36Google Scholar
  60. Odubote IK, Akinokun JO, Ademosun AA (1993) Production characteristics of WAD goats under improved management in the humid tropics of Nigeria. Proceedings of an international workshop, OAU, 6–9 July 1992, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. In: Ayeni AO, Bosman HG (eds) Goat production systems in the humid tropics. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp 202–207Google Scholar
  61. Ogebe PO, Ogunmodede BK, McDowell LR (1995) Growth and reproductive characteristics of Nigerian Southern goats, raised by varying management systems. Livestock Res Rural Dev 7(1) (n° 6)Google Scholar
  62. Okewu J, Iheanacho AC (2015) The marketing channels and chains for goats in Benue State, Nigeria. ARC J Acad Res 1(1):51–70Google Scholar
  63. Ola SI, Egbunike GN (2004) Behavioural and morphological attributes of oestrous in WAD goat does under different physiological states. Livestock Res Rural Dev 16(10) (n° 75)Google Scholar
  64. Omeke BCO (1988) Improving goat productivity in the humid zone of the tropics. Bull Anim Health Prod Afr 36(2):126–130Google Scholar
  65. Oseni SO, Ajayi BA (2014) Phenotypic characterization and strategies for genetic improvement of WAD goats under backyard systems. Open J Anim Sci 4:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Oseni SO, Sonaiya EB, Omitogun G et al (2006) West African Dwarf goat production under village conditions: 1. Characterisation and the establishment of breed standards. Conference on international agricultural research for development, 11–13 Oct 2006, Tropentag: University of Bonn, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  67. Otchere EO, Nimo MC (1976) Reproductive performance of West African dwarf goat. Ghana J Agric Sci 9:57–58Google Scholar
  68. Otuma MO, Onu PU (2013) Genetic effects, relationships and heritability of some growth traits in Nigeria crossbred goats. Agric Biol J North America 4(4):388–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Oyeyemi MO, Akusu MO, Ola-Davies OE (2000) Effect of successive ejaculations on the spermiogram of West African Dwarf goats (Capra Hircus L.). Vet Arh 70:215–221Google Scholar
  70. Ozoje MO, Mgbere OO (2002) Coat pigmentation effects in West African Dwarf goats: live weights and body dimensions. Niger J Anim Prod 29:5–10Google Scholar
  71. Pamo ET, Fonteh FA, Tendonkeng F et al (2006) Influence of supplementary feeding with multipurpose leguminous tree leaves on kid growth and milk production in the West African dwarf goat. Small Ruminant Res 63:142–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Peacock C (2010) Making livestock services accessible to the poor: moving towards a new vision for livestock service delivery. In: Book of abstracts. 5th all Africa conference on animal agriculture and the 19th annual meeting of the Ethiopian Society of Animal Production (ESAP), 25–28 Oct 2010, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, pp 13–16Google Scholar
  73. Peacock C, Devendra C, Ahuya C et al (2005) Goats. In: Owen E, Kitaili A, Jayasuriya N et al (eds) Livestock and wealth creation-improving the husbandry of animals kept by resource-poor people in developing countries. Nottingham University Press, United Kingdom, pp 356–386Google Scholar
  74. Philipsson J, Rege, JEO, Zonabend E et al (2011) Sustainable breeding programmes for tropical farming systems. In: Ojango JM, Malmfors B, Okeyo, M (Eds) Animal genetics training resource, version 3, 2011. International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya, and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  75. Sesay AR (2016) Review of the livestock/meat and milk value chains and policy influencing them in Sierra Leone. In: Smith OB, Salla A, Bedane B (eds). Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States, 66 pGoogle Scholar
  76. Sumberg S, Cassaday K (1985) Sheep and goats in humid West Africa. Proceedings of the workshop on small ruminant production systems in the humid zone of West Africa, 24–24 Jan 1984, Held in Ibadan, Nigeria, pp 3–5Google Scholar
  77. van Rooyen A, Homann S (2009) Innovation platforms: a new approach for market development and technology uptake in southern Africa. Tropical and subtropical agroecosystems. Retrieved from:
  78. Wilson RT (1991) Small ruminant production and the small ruminant genetic resource in tropical Africa. FAO animal production and health paper 88, Rome, Italy, 181 pGoogle Scholar
  79. Woode G (2013) An analysis of the goat value-chain as a strategy for poverty reduction in Ghana. Retrieved from:
  80. Wurzinger M, Escareno M, Pastor F et al (2013) Design and implementation of a community-based breeding programme for dairy goats in northern Mexico. Trop Subtrop Agroecosyst 16(2):289–296Google Scholar
  81. Wurzinger M, Sölkner J, Iniguez L (2011) Important aspects and limitations in considering community-based breeding programs for low-input smallholder livestock systems. Small Ruminant Res 98:170–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Yagoub YM, Babiker SA (2016) A study on goat meat production in Sudan. Int J Life Sci Eng 2(3):21–26Google Scholar
  83. Yakubu A, Salako AE, De Donato M et al (2016) Interleukin-2 (IL-2) gene polymorphism and association with heat tolerance in Nigerian goats. Small Ruminant Res 141:127–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Yakubu A, Salako AE, De Donato M et al (2017) Association of SNP variants in MHC-Class II DRB gene with thermo-physiological indices in tropical goats. Trop Anim Health Prod 49(2):323–336Google Scholar
  85. Yapi-Gnoare CV (2000) The Open nucleus breeding programme of the Djalloke sheep in Coted’Ivoire. In: Galal S, Boyazoglu J, Hammond K (eds) Workshop on developing breeding strategies for lower input animal production environments, 22–25 Sept 1999, ICAR Series 3, Bella, Italy, pp 283–292Google Scholar
  86. You L, Johnson M (2010) Exploring strategic priorities for regional agricultural R&D investments in East and Central Africa. Agric Econ 41(2):177–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zvavanyange RE (2016) Powering agribusiness with improved goat value chains. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation CTA Publication. Retrieved from:

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saidu O. Oseni
    • 1
  • Abdulmojeed Yakubu
    • 2
  • Adenike R. Aworetan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal SciencesObafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceNasarawa State UniversityLafiaNigeria

Personalised recommendations