Camel Herd Structure and Performance in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties, Kenya

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Thiakunu, Florence K.
Njehia, Bernard K.
Nguhiu, Purity N.
Arimi, Joshua M.
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Canadian Center of Science and Education
Urbanization and improved middle-level class income have caused an increase in demand for animal products and allowed economic growth in developing countries. Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), which support high livestock populations have an opportunity to contribute to the economy. However, their potential may not be realized fully due to the effects of climate change. This study aimed to establish camel herd structure and performance in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties, Kenya. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and a cross-sectional study were conducted from July to August 2022 in each County. Data on the herd size and composition (the number of age and sex categories) was collected from 388 households through structured questionnaires. The pregnancy test was done on seventeen camels four months after the mating season by tail cocking and progesterone assay method. Analysis was done using descriptive, correlations, and linear regression statistics at a 0.05 significance level. There were more female camels over 4 years in Isiolo (above 12%) than in Marsabit (below 10%). In Isiolo, milk yield was above 20 and 10 liters per day in wet and dry seasons respectively, while Marsabit production was below 10 liters in both seasons. Milk production coefficients were significant for the females above four years (p < 0.05). There were more households in Marsabit (63%) having a calving interval of 24 months and below than in Isiolo (50%). The tail cocking method did not correlate with the progesterone assay method in pregnancy diagnosis. The study concludes that, in Isiolo County, pastoralists are doing camel rearing with the objective of milk production unlike in Marsabit County. The recommendation is that pastoralists should be encouraged to adjust age and sex categories to increase milk production. Further, they need to apply an accurate cost-effective pregnancy testing method.
Herd size, Male-female ratio, Age sex percentage, Milk yield, Calving interval, Tail cocking, Progesterone assay
Thiakunu, F. K., Njehia, B. K., Nguhiu, P. N., & Arimi, J. M. (2024). Camel Herd Structure and Performance in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties, Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Science, 16(1).