Protection, characterization and sustainable use of the domestic Balkan goat in the Southwest Region of Macedonia
Protection, characterization and sustainable use of the domestic Balkan goat in the Southwest Region of Macedonia
The development of goat breeding in the Republic of Macedonia has suffered undoubtedly great damage with the adoptation of the Law for Prohibition of raising goats in 1947, which despite the massive destruction of almost the entire stock of goats also contributed for the desapearing of a long tradition in the breeding of this farm animals. The occuring re-development of this livestock industry in the last twenty years, results with significant interest among farmers who wants to increase the number of goats, which however according to our realistic estimation and assumption is difficult to reach a figure of around 500,000 goats who were destroyed shortly after the implementation of the Law.
Within FAO recommendations, the protection of the indigenous breed varieties should be a priority of the National Programs and Strategies in every country in the world. In that context the protection of the domestic Balkan goat as indigenous Macedonian breed varieties of goats should be done.
Considering that most of the goats that were destroyed by the Law for Prohibiting of goat breeding in 1947 were the indigenous domestic Balkan breed (almost 90%), and the rest were cross-breds with other more productive breeds (Alpine and Sanski) which lead to higly reduction of the number of goats from this breed.

An additional argument for starting the project activities for protection of this breed is the constant pressurecarried out especially the last 10-15 years by high productive goat breeds, especially the Alpine. As a result, in the country there are significant number of cross-breeds with the Alpine breed. Of course also the presence of the cross-breeds with Sanski breed, should not be underestimated, which is also quite attractive for growers especially as goat variety that is breed in almost every houshold with presense of 2-3 heads. All this contributed to the domestic Balkan goat for years to be suppressed and thus their number substantially reduces.

The main characteristcs of the Balkan goats are long, thick and shiny coat, which can be black, black and brown, black and gray or multicolored as combination of all these colors. The head is medium sized with good moving ears. The neck is long and thin with weak muscles. There are goats with horns and without them. The rear part of the body is more developed than the front, where the good is epitomized high ridge. The legs are thin and solid, with solid hooves. Udder is poorly developed but fairly soft and elastic. Goats are quite moving and exuberant, with good ability to move in the worst inaccessible terrain from which they take advantage of low quality plants. According to the literature there are two varieties of Balkan goat such as lowland and height. The mass of the height land goats is 30-38 kg, while the other one is 35-40 kg. The height variety has average fertility of 100% of the second variety has 120% of fertility. The milk yield in mountain type is 100-130 liters, and those of the lowland type 200-250 liters per lactation of 250 days. From these goats annually is produced 0.5 kg hair.

The current number of Balkan goats is very low and most of them are breeded in poor conditions accurant for marginal regions, with application of modest zootechnical breeding conditions who are not suitable for high yielding breeds of goats.
According to the data from the Food and Veterinary Agency in 2012 in the country are registered around 5746 goat farms with a total of 48,492 cattle in all categories. From the total number of goat farms in the country the majority (65.1%) accounted to the largest farms with 1 to 5 goats, and 26.1% of the farms with 6 to 20 goata. A small percentage (6.6%) of farms range are consist of 21 to 50 cattles, while very low percentage of farms consist over 50 goats.

From the total number of goats in the country, according to data from the FVA, Southeastern and Eastern Region has the largest number of goats that occupy 46.7% of the total number in the country. Of the total number of goats that are breed in the country 31,198 cattles (45.87%) belong to the indigenous breed variety - domestic Balkan goat (2013).

By achieving the overall objective of the project it will contribute to the achievement of the thematic focus which is protection of agro-biodiversity in the agricultural component
1: Preservation and protection of local land areas.

The general tendency in the world and in Macedonia is mobilization and spreading of the global varieties as neglect and abandonment the local races. The best response to such changes in the gene pool of the domestic animal is by raising awareness among stakeholders on the selection and implementation of sustainable protection of local populations and varieties as opposed to the decades-long practice of selection of domestic animals primarily aimed for increasing productivity.

The protection of agro-biodiversity is a priority worldwide, as also for Slou Fud Bitola as organization that has implemented several projects at this section. Protection of indigenous breeds besides the long run, it can be quite useful in the short term, which could spare farmers to address the resistance to various diseases considering the domestic breeds, while being modest in their needs. Therefore the focus of this project is the protection, characterization, and sustainable use of the domestic Balkan goat. Despite the protection of the genetic resources, the project is focused towards finding ways for best use of the potential that this breed has with the active involvement of young farmers primarily for their preparation and sustainable use of this genetic resource. The realization of such an objective would be achieved through several interrelated activities: Identification of breed representatives of the domestic Balkan goat, forming a nucleus herd of domestic Balkan goat, control of productive and reproductive characteristics of the breed, developing and promotion of appropriate milk products from the domestic Balkan goat and of course the promotional activities that will ensure the availability of project activities to the public, as well as conducting an active campaign within the project.

Identification of cattles - representatives of domestic Balkan goat will be realized by visiting the goat farms and through pre-prepared forms for assessing the exterior that will determine racial origin and phenotype. Following the extensive exterior assessment is planned procurement of cattles and forming a nucleus herd. The formation of the nucleus herd is planned to be realized through the purchase of cattle populations of the domestic Balkan goats, which is expected to be received growing breed goats in pure blood, outside kinship. This method of breeding provides a selection of high quality male and female breeding cattle which will enable further improvement of production performance of the goats and production of quality offspring?. The formation of the flock will be conducted in parallel with the selection of adults, but also preparation of offsprings. The proposed method also provides maximum control and conservation of biological diversity of a population and by maintaining proper control over population.

As population is characterized by low productivity, but with durability of modest breeding conditions, provided by combined system of breeding. This system assumes maximum use of grazing throughout the year, as well as providing supplementary feeding under physiological conditions and needs of the cattles. Besides meeting the necessary conditions in the frame of zootechnical measures for this indigenous breed goats is inevitable also the application of appropriate health care conditions. Accordingly there will be creation of templates for control of the origin, production and reproductive characteristics of the goats that will provide insight into the biological characteristics of the population, but at the same time will represent a base or foundation for the preservation of the gene pool of this breed in terms of protection, characterization and sustainable use of the indigenious goat breed.

Traditionally, milk is one of the most important animal products in the country. The production is concentrated in the private sector, according to the statistics, from the total production of milk only 34% is bought and the remaining amount is processed on the farms. The developement and promotion of appropriate diary product from the domestic Balkan goat will encourage the farmers to grow the domestic Balkan goat. During the project proper education is planned for farmers in several directions including: hygiene of milk production, application of good hygienic practices in milk processing and cheese making, basic security systems etc. Slou Fud Bitola considers such action as inevitable because farmers will provide the necessary knowledge for further establishing of their own small processing capacities which can operate in terms of product safety, that will result with standardised products (custom frames). Such facilities will also be able to register and thus sustainably use their own herd and genetic resource that is the subject of this project.

With the implementation of an active campaign throughout the project awareness raising will be achieved among all stakeholders in order to preserve the indigenous breed of goats in Macedonia and increase their number.
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Project Snapshot

Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 20,620.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 11,850.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 10,790.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Number of globally significant species protected by project 1
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 10

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Zlatko Samardziev
Ms Melita Ivanova


Majka Tereza 15/6
Skopje, 1000