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


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.

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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.


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

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Correspondence to M. Chimonyo.

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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.

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

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Mseleku, C., Ndlela, S.Z., Mkwanazi, M.V. et al. Health status of non-descript goats travelling long distances to water source. Trop Anim Health Prod 52, 1507–1511 (2020).

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  • Body condition score
  • Packed cell volume
  • Rectal temperature
  • Water scarcity