Influences of breed, sex and age on seasonal changes in haematological variables of tropical goat kids
Abstract. The influences of breed, sex and age on seasonal changes in haematological variables of kids (1–4 months old) belonging to Red Sokoto (n = 60) and Sahel (n = 60) goats were studied at the peaks of the cold-dry, hot-dry and rainy seasons in a West Africa Guinea savanna climate. The results showed that, during the hot-dry season, Sahel goat kids had significantly higher (P < 0.05) packed cell volume (PCV) and red blood cell (RBC) count but lower (P < 0.05) mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and total leucocyte count than Red Sokoto kids. Similarly, younger kids of both breed had significantly higher (P < 0.05) PCV and RBC but lower MCV, MCH and MCHC compared with the older kids during the hot-dry season. Younger kids (1–2 months) of both breeds exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) high PCV and RBC but low MCH and MCHC during the hot-dry season as compared with the cold-dry and rainy seasons, with the magnitude of the change being greater in Sahel kids. More remarkable seasonal fluctuations in haematological parameters were observed in buck kids than doe kids of both breeds. Multivariate analysis revealed a clear distinction between the change in haematological parameters during the cold-dry as compared with the hot-dry and rainy seasons, with MCV having the strongest discriminating power (0.91*). In conclusion, breed, age and sex variations in haematological variables of goats were more pronounced in the hot-dry season, during which the seasonal changes were more dramatic in kids of Sahel goats, as well as in younger and male kids of both breeds. These findings may be useful in the management of tropical goat kids in different seasons.