Small Ruminants: Farmers’ Hope in a World Threatened by Water Scarcity
Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko PMB 001, Ondo-State, Nigeria
Department of Agriculture, University of Zululand, Kwadlangezwa 3900, P.O. Box 3886, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
Water is one of the most important nutrients to livestock. It is so essential that more than half the volume of the animal's body is water. However, its availability is threatened by the irreversible changes in climate, which has culminated into reduced rainfall in most regions of the world. Such an increasing threat to regular water supply, and by extension to food security and livelihood has forced a shift from large to small ruminant production, especially in regions experiencing low rainfall, with farmers taking advantage of their adaptive process and efficiency of water use. Small ruminants, especially desert goats, can adaptively survive in water-limited areas while trekking long distance in search of feed and they will regain any weight loss at the next watering point. Further research is needed on adaptive indigenous breeds of small ruminants since tolerance to water scarcity is breed dependent, so that improvements can be made through effective selection and breeding program.