Influence of water salinity on growth performance and physiological responses in Nguni goats.
Mdletshe, Zwelethu Mfanafuthi.
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A survey was conducted to investigate factors influencing water scarcity for goats in areas where there are seasonal and perennial river systems in poor resource-limited smallholder communal farming systems. About 8 and 26 % of the elderly respondents reported that over the past 30 years, the river that are seasonal used to be perennial flow. Households located close (≤ 3 km) to the nearest water source and areas where there were seasonal rivers reported drinking water for goats a scarce resource compared to those located far (> 3km) from the nearest water source and located in areas where there was perennial rivers. Negative effects of climate change associated with drought conditions increased incidences of dry spells during the rainy seasons and short season varieties. It was concluded that river systems, seasonal water sources, distance from the nearest water source, and negative effects of climate change associated with drought conditions were major factors which influenced water scarcity for goats in resource-limited communal farming environments. Although farmers did not regard water quality as a factor which causes water quality, however, water is an attribute which affects livestock. An on-station experiment was conducted to assess the extent at which Nguni goats tolerate drinking saline water. Goats which received 5.5 g TDS/L salt level had a significantly higher ADFI and ADG when compared to those on the 11.0 g TDS/L salt level. The PR was significantly higher in goats that received 11 g TDS/L than those on the 5.5 g TDS/L salt level. It was concluded that Nguni goats can tolerate drinking water with salinity levels not above 5.5 g TDS/L. It is recommended that Nguni goats be provided with greywater not contain salt levels above 5.5 g TDS/L in areas were fresh drinking water is a scarce resource. This will reduce the demand for fresh water.
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