Original Research

A questionnaire survey on diseases and problems affecting sheep and goats in communal farming regions of the Eastern Cape province, South Africa

Gareth F. Bath, Mary-Louise Penrith, Rhoda Leask
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 87, No 1 | a1348 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v87i1.1348 | © 2016 Gareth F. Bath, Mary-Louise Penrith, Rhoda Leask | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 October 2015 | Published: 31 August 2016

About the author(s)

Gareth F. Bath, Department of Production Animal Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Mary-Louise Penrith, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Rhoda Leask, Department of Production Animal Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

A questionnaire of 15 questions was completed by four categories of respondents with the aim of establishing the experience and opinions of these groups on the constraints including animal health problems for communal, small-scale sheep and goat farming in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The questionnaires were completed independently and categories were representative of the areas investigated. Analysis of responses was done by means, ranges, votes and clusters of responses. Comparisons between the responses of the four categories were made to identify similarities or contrasts. The results revealed that of non-veterinary concerns, stock theft was the major problem for these farms. Nutrition was a further major constraint. A third area of significant concern was the provision or availability of facilities like fences, water troughs, dips and sheds. Lack of marketing and business skills were also seen as important deficiencies to be rectified so as to promote profitable farming. Of the most important veterinary problems identified, the provision, availability, cost and care of drugs and vaccines were seen as major stumbling blocks to effective disease control, as well as lack of access to veterinary services. The most important diseases that constrain small-ruminant livestock farming in the farming systems investigated were sheep scab and other ectoparasites, heart water, enterotoxaemia, internal parasites and bluetongue. A lack of knowledge in key areas of small-stock farming was revealed and should be rectified by an effective training and support programme to improve the contribution of small-ruminant farming to livelihoods in these communities.

Keywords

sheep; goat; diseases; communal farming; survey; Eastern Cape

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