Environmental factors affecting pre-weaning mortality of Turkish Saanen kids

Author: Funda Erdoğan Ataç
Year: 2022
Issue: 4
Volume: 52
Page: 521 - 529

One of the most important problems encountered in breeding Turkish Saanen goats, the dominant dairy goat in Turkey, is the death of kids. Deaths cause serious economic losses and jeopardize the need for qualified breeders. This study aimed to determine the factors that affected the survival of kids in the period between birth and weaning, when most deaths are observed. A total of 3343 records of Turkish Saanen kids were collected in 2019. The importance and order of the effects of environmental factors, such as gender, birth type, sex, birth weight, farm, season of birth, weight at death, and maternal age at the kid’s mortality were determined by using the decision tree statistical method. As a result of this study, the farm effect was the first effective factor in the survivability of kids, and death was less common in small farms (F3), with a rate of 7.8%. The death times of kids were divided into four groups: birth–first 24 hours (M1), 1–7 days (M2), 7–30 days (M3), and 30 days–weaning (90 days) (M4). Deaths were highest in M2 with 40.1% and least in M3 with 5.7%. The death weight variable had a primary effect on deaths. This was followed by birth weight, then farm variables. Two other factors came to the forefront to increase the survivability of the kids: deaths could be greatly reduced by providing good nutrition to the mothers in the prenatal period and offering good management, especially in the first week after birth, to obtain offspring with higher birth weights.

Keywords: decision trees, Environmental factors, pre-weaning mortality, Turkish Saanen kids
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