The variations in the composition of milk over an 18-week period from lactating British Alpine and Anglo–Nubian goats imported into Trinidad are reported. The animals were fed Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) ad lib. and 2 lb of a proprietary concentrate mixture daily.
The mean percentage contents of the milks of British Alpine and Anglo–Nubian goats were: total solids 11·49±0·22, 12·17±0·28; butterfat 3·42±0·18, 4·06±0·22; total N 0·462±0·04, 0·530±0·07; ash 0·78±0·02, 0·79±0·03 and ‘lactose’ 4·38±0·28, 4·05±0·55. Anglo–Nubian goats had a higher content of percentage total solids, fat, total N and ash. For all constituents the coefficient of variation between weeks was higher for Anglo–Nubian goats. No significant trends were found between weeks for each of the components analysed for both breeds. Statistically significant correlations (P < 0·01) were found between percentage fat and percentage total N for both breeds.
The mean mineral contents (mg/100ml) for the milks of British Alpine and Anglo–Nubian goats were: Na 52·6±4·6, 55·5±1·9; K164·0±8·4, 133·4±11·4; Ca 85·5±11·6, 89·9±9·8; Mg 13·2±3·8, 10·2±1·6 and P 74·7±3·9, 82·1±3·9. British Alpine goat's milk had a higher content of K and that of Anglo–Nubian goats had a higher content of P; both differences were statistically significant (P < 0·01).
The milk composition figures in this study together with those from a similar study in Guadeloupe suggest that the values are low and considerably lower in comparison with the same breeds of goats in a temperate environment. This could be a feature of dairy goats imported into the tropics due perhaps to inadequate nutrition. Much more information is needed to verify this possibility.