Production System, Morphological Characterization And Structural Indices Of Indigenous Cattle

Hadiya Zone, Southern Ethiopia

Master's Thesis, 2018

106 Pages


Table of Contents









2.1. Domestication and Origin of Cattle in Africa
2.2. Classification and Distribution of Cattle Genetic Resources in Africa
2.3. Classification and Distribution oflndigenous Cattle Ethiopia
2.4. Importance of Cattle to the Rural Economy
2.5. Cattle Production Systems
2.6. Cattle Productive and Reproductive Characteristics in Ethiopia
2.6.1. Productive traits
2.6.2. Reproductive traits
2.6. Cattle Management and Husbandry Practice
2.6.1. Cattle feeding management
2.6.2. Housingof livestock
2.6.3. Watering management
2.6.4. Healthcare of the cattle
2.7. Characterization of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR)
2.8. Morphological Characteristics of Cattle
2.9. Structurallndices
2.10. Indigenous Knowledge ofFarmers on Cattle Production and Traits Preference

3.1. Description of the Study Area
3.1.1. Location
3.1.2. Agro-ecology
3.1.3. Livestock population agricultural activities in the zone
3.2. Sampling and Data Collection Methods
3.2.1. Sampling techniques and sample size
3.2.2. Data collection on production situation and breeding
3.2.3. Data collection on Morphological and linear body measurement
3.3. Methods ofData Analysis

4.1. Socio-economic Characteristics of the Households
4.2. Land Holding Size and Use ofLand of the Sampled Households
4.3. Livestock Possession of the Households in the Study Area
4.4. Socio-economic Purpose ofKeeping Indigenous Cattle
4.5. Cattle Breeding and Trait Preference ofFarmers
4.6. Breed and Coat Color Preference of Cattle in the Study Area
4.7. Mating System Used by Farmers to Breed their Cattle
4.8. Culling and Castration Practices ofHouseholds
4.9. Livestock Managements
4.9.1. Animal housing characteristics
4.9.2. Water sources, watering points and watering frequencies
4.9.3. Distance to watering point in different season and methods of overcoming scarcity of water
4.9.4. Feeds and feeding of cattle
4.9.5. Seasonal shortage of feeds and methods of overcoming
4.9.6. Feed supplements and Mineral source of cattle in the study area
4.10. Indigenous Knowledge ofFarmers
4.11. Management and Production Aspect of Cattle in the Study Area
4.12. Time of Staring Milking and Perception to Feeding Colostrums to Calves
4.13. Households Perception About the Population Trend of Cattle
4.14. Production and Reproduction Performance of Indigenous Cattle
4.15. Animal Health Care and Frequently Occurring Diseases
4.16. Constraints of Cattle Production
4.17. Phenotypic Characterization
4.17.1. Qualitative traits
4.17.2. Quantitative measurements of cattle reared in both districts
4.18. Structural Indices Calculated from Morphometrical Traits to Assess the Type and Function of Cattle in the Study Area
4.19. Regression Analysis






This thesis manuscript is dedicated to my father Ato Woldeyohannes Nuramo my mother W/ro Brihanesh Abire and my lovely sister Beza Woldeyohannes for their encouragements, prayer and hopes to see me more capable and competent in my endeavor.


The author of this thesis, Mr. Tariku Woldeyohannes, was born on October 21, 1992 in Soro district, Hadiya zone, Southern Ethiopia from his father Ato Woldeyohannes Nuramo and mother W/ro Brihanesh Abire. He attended his primary education from 2001 - 2004 at Jajura St. Paul and Peter Catholic church Elementary School (1 to 4 Grades) and his Primary education from 2004 - 2008 at Jajura 1st cycle primary school (5 to 8 grades), Secondary education from 2009 - 2010 at Jajura Secondary and preparatory school and his preparatory school from 2011 - 2012 (11 to 12 grades) at Gimbichu Secondary and preparatory school. He then joined Hawassa University, College of Agriculture department of Animal and Range Sciences in 2014 and awarded a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture (Animal and Range Sciences) in July 2017.

Soon after graduation, the author was joined the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) by Ministry of Education sponsorship at Mizan-Tepi University in the Department of Animal Sciences and he studied M.Sc. in Animal Breeding and Genetics.


First of all, I would like to express my special thanks to the almighty God for giving me giving me strength, power and health and granting me peace, health, love and blessings in my life and for his protection to me and to my family throughout in our life and my study. I would like to extend my sincerely and heartfelt acknowledgment and to my advisors Sandip Banerjee (PhD, Asc. prof.), and Dessalegn Genzebu (PhD) for spending their precious time for guidance and regular advice and for kindness, tremendous encouragements which are beyond words to express, for fast response to my requests, concrete suggestions, valuable criticism and assistance and for their constructive and unreserved comments from the very beginning to very end. Their technical assistance, dedication and scientific commitment taught and help me a lot in accomplishing this research work.

I have special honor and exceedingly indebted to Ministry of education for providing me sponsorship to study my M.Sc. degree, for financial assistance, for providing me study leave and guarantee my salary during the study time. I am very much indebted to the communities for allowing me to use their animals and providing the required information through the designed questionnaire and to all those who genuinely and affably devoted their times to contribute to the research work. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to staff members of Hadiya Zone Livestock and Fisheries Bureau (HZLFB) and to all district’s livestock experts including the local agricultural extension agents of Soro and Misha districts for their cooperation and participation, for supporting me creating a comfortable environment in the time of data collection for the study.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my father Woldeyohannes Nuramo and my mother Brihanesh Abire for their love, moral support and prayers to reach this point. I can’t forget to acknowledge my colleagues, brothers, sisters and relatives for their support directly or indirectly in my academic success. Last but not least, I also deserve special thanks for my classmates in department of Animal Breeding and Genetics at Mizan-Tepi University who is giving me all-rounded support and for making my stay pleasant and memorable.


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Table 1. Some productive traits of native cattle in Ethiopia.

Table 2. Reproductive traits of some indigenous cattle breeds in Ethiopia

Table 3. Some of morphometrical traits (cm) of some indigenous cattle in Ethiopia.

Table 4. Standard breed descriptors for qualitative traits of cattle developed by FAO (2012).

Table 5. Standard breed descriptors for quantitative traits of cattle developed by FAO (2012).

Table 6. Methods of calculating structural indices.

Table 7. Summary ofEducation level, sex and marital status and source of income

Table 8. Summary of the average age of the respondents and the average land holdings (hectare) and utilization.

Table 9. Livestock possession of the households in the study area.

Table 10. Summary of the purpose ofkeeping cattle with the respective indices.

Table 11. Selection criteria ofbreeding bulls, oxen, calf, cow and heifers.

Table 12. The preference of the coat color, breed type and the reason for their preference.

Table 13. Type of mating system and the reason of using uncontrolled mating system.

Table 14. Summary of the reason for culling cattle from the herd in the study area.

Table 15. Summary of the age of castration and the reason for castration.

Table 16. Type ofhousing, the time ofhousing cattle and the frequency ofbam cleaning

Table 17. Water sources, watering frequencies and methods of watering cattle in the study area.

Table 18. Distance to watering points in dry and wet season, the methods of overcoming water shortage in the study area.

Table 19. Available feed resources for cattle production in dry and wet season.

Table 20. Summary of seasonal shortage feed and methods of overcoming feed scarcity.

Table 21. Feed supplements and source of minerals for cattle in the study area.

Table 22. Responsibilities of family members for routine husbandry practice of indigenous cattle.

Table 23. Methods used to improve milk production, identifying drought tolerant animals and methods of identifying whether the cow is conceived or not.

Table 24. Management aspects, the percentage of respondents practiced crossbreeding and the reason for not using crossbreeding.

Table 25. Time of starting milking cows after calving and the perception to feeding of colostrums to calves.

Table 26. Household’s perception about the trend of cattle population and the reason in the study area.

Table 27. Productive and reproductive performances (Mean±SE) of indigenous cattle in the study area

Table 28. The frequently occurring diseases among cattle reared in the study area.

Table 29. Major cattle production constraints in the study area.

Table 30. Qualitative traits ofbulls and cows ofindigenous cattle in the study area.

Table 31. Summary of body weight (kg) and other body measurements (cm) (Mean±SE) for bulls reared in the two districts.

Table 32. Summary of body weight (kg) and other body measurements (cm) (Mean±SE) for heifers/ cows reared in the two districts.

Table 33. Comparison means of body indices (Mean±SE) for bulls with in different age class to assess the type and function within two districts.

Table 34. Comparison of means of body indices (Mean±SE) for cows with in different age class to assess the type and function within two districts.

Table 35. Regression equation for estimation of body weight from different linear measurements ofbulls of different age groups reared in the study area

Table 36. Regression equation for estimation of body weight from different linear body measurements of cows of different age groups.


Appendix table 1. ANOVA for effect of location on body measurements of sampled Indigenous bulls of age class 1 and 2 PPI

Appendix table 2. ANOVA for effect of location on body measurements of sampled Indigenous bulls of age class 3 and 4 PPI

Appendix table 3. ANOVA for effect of location on body measurements of sampled Indigenous cows of age class 1 and 2 PPI

Appendix table 4. ANOVA for effect of location on body measurements of sampled Indigenous cows of age class 3 and 4 PPI

Appendix table 5. Pearson correlation coefficient (r) for body weight and quantitative measurements for male (above the diagonal) and female (below the diagonal) of sampled population for 1 and 2 PPI groups in Soro district

Appendix table 6. Pearson correlation coefficient (r) for body weight and quantitative measurements for male (above the diagonal) and female (below the diagonal) of sampled population for 3 and 4 PPI groups in Soro district

Appendix table 7. Pearson correlation coefficient (r) for body weight and quantitative measurements for male (above the diagonal) and female (below the diagonal) of sampled population for 1 and 2 PPI groups in Misha district


The study was conducted in Soro and Misha districts of Hadiya zone Southern Ethiopia. The objectives of the study were; to describe the production system, to characterize indigenous cattle breeds by using economically important traits and to develop structural indices to assess type and function of cattle using morphometrical traits. The study was undertaken to describe the production system, the cattle by using qualitative and quantitative traits. Field studies and collection of data were carried out by using semi-structured questionnaire, observation, key informants, focused group discussion and linear body measurements of sampled cattle and also from secondary data sources. A total of 240 households (120 from each district) were selected by using stepwisepurposivefollowed by random selection method for questionnaire interview and 660 cattle (480 cows and 180 bulls) for morphological description and to measure quantitative and qualitative traits of cattle. The qualitative traits are assessed by visual observation while the qualitative traits were measured by using self devised instruments by the researcher. The data were analyzed by SPSS software, while the qualitative traits were compared by using Chi-square test, the quantitative traits were compared by Duncan’s multiple range test and the values were compared at the significance level P<0.05. The study result revealed that the main purpose of keeping indigenous cattle in both districts were milk production, saving, drought power production, for income, manure, for meat and ceremonies. The main trait preferences of indigenous cattle byfamers were milk yield, drought power production, survival on harsh environment, growth rate and coat color. The selection criteria used by farmers for selecting male and female cattle by using traditional methods were mainly associated with production and reproduction parameters. The mainfeed resources of cattle in dry season were crop residues, communal grazing land, maize strover, enset, Atela and wheal bran. Natural uncontrolled mating system was the main mating system in the study area. The average daily milkyield and lactation showed significant variation (p<0.05) between the two studied locations. The major cattle production constraints in the study area were feed shortage, shrinkage of grazing land, lack of capital, shortage of improved breeds, low productivity of indigenous cattle and disease. The reported major cattle disease prevalent in the study area were bovine pasteurollosis, Foot and Mouth Disease, Diarrhea, Sudden death and Blackleg. Cattle in the study area showed individual variation in both qualitative and quantitative traits. Most of the cattle in the study area have plain coat colour pattern, curved and medium horned mainly 'with upward orientation, most of them are small humped, most of them are straight facial head profile. The overall results of morphometrical measurementsfor sampled population of bulls revealed that the bulls reared at Soro district had higher (P<0.05) values for their body weight (BW) and the Chest Girth (CD) for the bulls in age class 1 and 2 PPI. However, Body Weight (BW), Chest girth (CG), Height at Wither (HAW) and Height at Rump (HR) were higher for Misha district when compared to the bulls reared at Soro district for age class 3 and 4 PPI. Linear measurement for cows within age group 1 and 2 PPI reared at Soro district have higher (P<0.05) Body Weight (BW), Chest Girth (CG), Height at Wither (HAW), Horn Length (HRL), Muzzle Circumference (MC), Height at Rump (HR), Rump Length (RL) and Ear Length (EL). In contrary the cows within age class 3 and 4 PPI raised at Soro district had higher (P<0.05) for Chest Depth (CD), (p<0.001) for Chest Girth (CG) and Body Weight (BW). The results of body indices of cattle indicated that the bulls in Misha district higher values (p<0.05) for Body Index (BIffor age class 1 and 2 PPI and cephalic (CI) and over increase index (OVII) for age class 3 and 4 PPI. While, Body Ratio was higher (p<0.05) for Misha district in age class 3 and 4 PPI. In contrast, the result of body indicesfor cows indicated that Soro district was higher (p<0.05)for Height Index (HI), Rump Length Index (RLI), Body Index (BI), Body Weight Index (BWI) and Body Ratio (BR), in contrasting Cephalic Index (CI), Body Index (BI), Over increase Index (OVII), Body Weight Index (BWI), Body Ration (BR) and Height Slope (HS) were higher(P<0.01) for Misha district for age class 3 and 4 PPI. The values obtained for estimation of body weight using linear body measurements indicated that chest girth (CG) was best predictor body weight in the study area. The values obtained for estimation of body weight using linear body measurements indicated that chest girth (CG) was bestpredictor body weight in the study area. The current study result indicated that cattle production and reproductive performance in the current environmental condition are comparable with other indigenous breed. Therefore, it could be concluded that designing appropriate breed improvement programmes with the participation of the community and through management improvement (improved feed, disease prevention, vaccination and treatment) are critical to improve the breed. Morphometrical traits of the breed have to be complemented by genetic characterization tofully exploiting thepotential of the breed.

Key words: Indigenous cattle, morphometrical measurements, structural indices, production system


Ethiopia has a total land area of 1.1 million square kilometers and it is the second most populous country of sub-Saharan African country (Wondifraw et al., 2016). The country is predominantly agrarian with most of the people residing in rural areas; these residents are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their day to day activities. It is estimated that the livestock contributes about 12 - 16% of the total and 47% of agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) excluding the value of draft power, manure and other such activities and contributes significantly to the livelihood of their rearers and those dependent on them (IGAD, 2010, Melku, 2016). Livestock and the products obtained from them also contribute significantly to earn valuable foreign earnings. In most of the rural households livestock production is at the subsistence levels, where the livestock are selected for adaptive traits with productivity of individual animals being quite low and the overall productivity comes through their sheer numbers (Mulugeta, 2015; Eyob and Zewudu, 2016). Unlike those in the developed countries where the livestock are reared for specific purpose, livestock in developing countries including Ethiopia serve multiple purposes (Sena etal., 2014; Endashaw et al., 2015). According to CSA, (2016/17) the cattle population in the country is 59.5 million heads most of which are of native breed’s ecotypes. Out of these total cattle population the heifers /cows constitutes about 59.5%. Of the total cattle population 98.2% of them are indigenous types while, 1.62% and 0.18% are crossbred and exotic types respectively. The numbers of cattle reared in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) are estimated to be 11.485 million heads and while Hadiya zone houses 929,689 heads of cattle (CSA, 2016/17).

In spite of the large livestock population of the country their contribution is dismally low, leading to a mismatch between demand and supply of the livestock products (Belachew and Jemberu, 2002; Mesay et al., 2013). One of the major impediments oflivestock sector are the quality and quantity of fodder available to them besides other genetic and non genetic factors which can influence the overall productivity (Zewudie, 2010). Thus, prior to initiation of any specific intervention, it is imperative to understand the genetic makeup of the animals reared in the area. Morphometric studies are the prelude of any genetic studies that may be carried out in this regard (Banerjee, 2015).

Morphological traits can be categorized into both of qualitative and quantitative traits. The former are influenced by a few pairs of genes and their assessment is grossly subjective (FAO, 2012). This category of traits covers the external physical form, shape, color and their appearance. These traits are moderately to highly heritable, the quantitative traits on the other hand are greatly influenced by non-genetic factors and are lowly to moderately heritable (FAO, 2012; Szabolcs et al., 2007). Morphometrical traits includes culmination of a series of such measurements is generally used as a first step to characterize a breed and is also known as zoometric/ Morphometrical/ phenotypic method of breed classification (Delgado et al., 2001; FAO, 2012 and Banerjee, 2015). This method of classification is based on some predefined measurements of traits since morphometrical traits are closely correlated with production characters (Salako, 2006; FAO, 2012).

However, the livestock in the tropics are reared for several functions; hence under such conditions it becomes important to classify the strains/breeds according to their types and functions that they can perform (Salako, 2006). The assessment of type and function of livestock is also important to access when it comes to understanding the development goals of the yesteryears and also provides a direction for their future development (Banerjee et al, 2014). Thus, structural indices are ratios of closely related morphometrical traits which can provide a better understanding about the types and function of the livestock because it incorporates measure of desirable traits (Salako, 2006; Chiemela et al., 2016). It can be useful to provide potential purchaser with reliable evaluation of animals and as a measure of in young animals to enable earlier assessment of breeding animals for selection and to predict mature rating (Chacon et al., 2011; Chiemela et al., 2016). Globally cattle are classified as dairy, beef or dual type and hence these ‘types’ are generally assessed through the structural indices (Chacon et al., 2011). Assortative mating of ecotypes/breeding of similar type of cattle are expected to result in specialized ‘beef or dairy’ type cattle whereas dissortative mating’s expected to have progenies which are intermediate types between the parental breeds (FAO, 2011).

However, in both the cases it is imperative to understand the production system of the cattle, which can provide an understanding of the types of fodder, feed, and diseases prevalent in the area. This helps us in understanding the criteria under which the livestock is expected to perform and thereby the genotype by environment interaction (Dessalegn, 2009). The selection objectives and the criteria used to evaluate the progress of breeding by the traditional breeders too need to be assessed so as to understand the progress of the breed in question and also can pave the way for its future development (Mwambene et al., 2012).

The study was conducted at Hadiya zone of SNNPR; the cattle reared in the area are in a semi intensive manner. Traditionally the cattle are of dual purpose type where the cows are expected to produce replacement bulls and some extra milk that can be used for home consumption while the bulls are expected to be muscular and used for agricultural activities. Manure from the cattle too is an important component as farm input (Birara and Zemen, 2016; ILRI, 2002). However, information on morphometrical traits, identification of important traits and features of the cattle reared in the study area were yet not adequately available, and the type and function for which the cattle were developed are yet not assessed. Thus the study was carried out with the following objectives:

- To assess the production and management system of the cattle reared in the study area
- To characterize the cattle morphologically using some predefined morphometrical traits
- To access the type and function of the cattle using the structural indices


2.1. Domestication and Origin of Cattle in Africa

Domestication of farm animal species was initiated some 12,000 years ago when people started maintaining animals for work power, food, fiber and other agricultural uses. Today about 40 mammalian and avian species have been domesticated, and have central role in the evolution of human cultures and for food and agriculture. However, the majority of the world’s livestock production is derived from only 14 species which comprise of some 5,000 breeds (FAO, 1998). The exact origin of African cattle remains uncertain but it is now became widely accepted that Africa has been a center of domestication (Mwai et al, 2015). There are various opinions on the origin of domestic cattle. Archaeological remains shows that the large auroch (Bos taurus primigenius) was once numerous all over Europe, Western Asia and North Africa.

The researchers discovered that those zebu cattle were brought to Africa when farmers migrating from Asian continent, or traded, before interbreeding with African wild cattle, aurochs (Hanotte et al., 2002). They have some unique qualities, such as morphological features which distinguish them from other cattle includes horn shape and size (e.g. Ankole and Kuri) and not visible traits such as resistance to trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness, climatic stress resistance and productivity traits also differ among breeds and the researchers considered whether this resistance evolved in domesticated cattle or in the wild African aurochs with which they interbred (Mwai et al., 2015).

2.2. Classification and Distribution of Cattle Genetic Resources in Africa

Indigenous cattle genetic resources in Africa can be broadly classified into four categories based on the Mwai et al., (2015). These includes; humpless Bos taurus, humped Bos indicus, Sanga (African hump less Bos taurus X humped Bos indicus hybrid) and zenga which is backcross of sanga and zebu. In addition to these categories, there are also other African cattle breeds’ recently derived ecotypes through crossbreeding (Rege and Tawah, 1999). African Bos taurus is further classified into humpless short horn and longhorn. They are small in size and their productivity is lower compared to the other zebu cattle in tropical areas, but they have unique evolutionary adaptation to harsh environment (Mwai et al., 2015). Zebu cattle (Bos indicus) the predominating type of cattle in Africa, which is represented by some 75 breeds (Rege, 1999).

2.3. Classification and Distribution of Indigenous Cattle Ethiopia

Ethiopia at large and horn of Africa in particular is considered to be the home for the largest concentration of domesticated and diversified indigenous cattle with diverse breeds, ecotypes and characteristics (Rege, 1999, Getinet et al., 2009). Studies by Workneh et al., (2004) have indicated that more than 23 recognized cattle breeds viz; Arsi, Begait, Ogaden, Boran ,Goffa, Arado, Nuer, Gurage, Jidu, Karayu/ Afar, Harar, Horro, Smada, Fogera, Mursi, Raya-Azebo, Adwa, Jem-Jem, Sheko, Ambo, Jijiga, Bale, Hammer, Medense and Abergelle. All of those cattle types are adapted to harsh climate, can thrive on poor nutrition and diseases endemic to their respective areas. These native breeds are generally named after the area their origin or according to geographic location they inhabit and many of them are named after their community which keeps the population (Zewdu etal., 2013; Rege, 1999).

As reported by Domestic Animals Genetic Resources Information system DAGRIS, (2004), Ethiopian cattle were classified into five main distinct breeds, the Small East AfricanZebu (Adawa, Ambo, Bale, Goffa, Guraghe, Hammer, Harar, Jem-Jem, Jijiga, Mursi, Ogaden and Smada), the large East African Zebu (Arsi, Boran and Murle), the Humpless Shorthorns (Sheko), Abyssinian Sanga and the intermediate Sanga/ zebu cattle (Arado, Fogera and Horro). Bambawa, Jiddu, Red Bororo and Tigray are other cattle breeds described as indigenous to Ethiopia in DADIS database (DADIS, 2003). Mahibere-Sillasie, Wegera and Simen cattle breeds of North and South Gonder of Amhara Regional State are the other indigenous cattle breeds ofEthiopia that were identified by Zewdu, (2004).

2.4. Importance of Cattle to the Rural Economy

Cattle in particular and livestock in general are important sources of foreign exchange earnings. According to IGAD, (2010), the livestock sector including cattle accounts for about 12 -16% of the total GDP and 47% of the total agricultural GDP values of draft power, transport and manure and contributes to the livelihoods of about 60 -70% of Ethiopian population (Melku, 2016). According to the reports of CSA, (2008/2009), the livestock sector contributes 12% of the national economy. Among the domesticated livestock, cattle play significant role to the livelihood of the farmers. Cattle are raised for multiple purposes; however, this varies with production system. In majority of the rural areas of Ethiopia, cattle production plays important role by traction and draft power for the agrarian society and supply farm families with milk, meat, which provide high value protein food, manure, they also serve as a source of cash especially in the pastoral areas, besides the same cattle also play socio-cultural roles (Birara and Zemen, 2016). For pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Ethiopia cattle are used as sources of food, income, prestige and security in times ofhardship.

2.5. Cattle Production Systems

The diversity of Ethiopia’s topography, climate and cultural conditions make it difficult to generalize about livestock production systems in the country (IBC, 2004). Ethiopia is characterized in having several production system based on integration of livestock with crop production, level of input and intensity of production, agro-ecology and market orientation, size and value of livestock holding, distance and duration of livestock moving, livestock production system in Ethiopia is categorized as pastoral, agro-pastoral, mixed crop-livestock farming, urban and peri-urban farming and specialized intensive farming systems, (Eyob and Zewudu, 2016). Characterization of the production system is an essential component of characterization of farm animal genetic resource. Description of the production system is particularly relevant in developing regions where farm animals are kept under diverse production systems and for multiple uses (IBC, 2004). The major challenges to cattle production in Ethiopia were severe feed shortage, high disease prevalence, high predatory, poor market, genetically less productive breed, severe water shortage and high shortage of laborer (Belete et al., 2010).

2.6. Cattle Productive and Reproductive Characteristics in Ethiopia

2.6.1. Productive traits

Ethiopia is known for its diverse livestock resource endowment. Despite its huge number, livestock productivity in Ethiopia is said to be marginalized due to several reasons viz, seasonal feed shortage, high disease prevalence, traditional management, improper detection of time of estrus and consecutively insemination these all influence the productive and reproductive performances of the cattle (Seid, 2012, Mulugeta, 2015, Debir, 2016). The average daily milk production and lactation length of the cattle reared in the country is 1.318 liter and six months respectively which leads to sub optimum milk production (CSA, 2012/13). Moreover, daily milk yield and lactation length for local zebu cows includes 1.44 lit/cow and 9.57 months for Arsi cattle (Chali, 2014), to 2.52kg/day/cow and 6.40 months for Begait cattle (Mulugeta, 2005).

Table 1. Some productive traits of native cattle in Ethiopia.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Where; DMY=Daily milk yield, LMY= Lactation Milk Yield, LL= Lactation Length, LSCP= Life Span Calf Production, RELS= Reproductive life span, AAP= Age at Puberty, Source: (Shiferaw, 2014; Damitie et al., 2015; Aynalem, 2011; Mulugeta, 2015; Takele, 2005; Ayantu etal., (2012/.

2.6.2. Reproductive traits

Reproductive performance influences the overall productivity of the herd. Cattle with an optimum reproductive efficiency are economically viable and have overall high lifetime productivity (Dessalegn, 2015). Most of the reproductive traits are lowly heritable and hence are influenced by feed, poor health care and management practices are the main contributors to low productivity (Dessaleng et al., 2016). Reproduction traits are more complex and include the gamete production, ovulation, estrus, fertilization, reproductive behavior, embryo implantation, pregnancy, calving, lactation and mothering ability, that terminates with parturition (Jafari et al., 2014). Reproductive performance is a most important that is a prerequisite for any successful livestock production programme (Dessalegn, 2015). Reproductive traits describe the ability to conceive, calve down and suckle to weaning successfully. These traits are important since they influence herd size, off take and life time productivity of cattle (Dessalegn et al., 2016). These traits include Age at First Calving (AFC), Calving Interval (CI), Number of Service per Conception (NSPC) and Days Open (DO) are important traits which are crucial for determining the profitability of dairy production cited in Dereje, (2015). Male fertility traits are rarely included in genetic evaluations of farm animals despite their influence on the female reproductive performance. These traits include semen quality and quantity traits and scrotal size (Aynalem et al., 2011).

Table 2. Reproductive traits of some indigenous cattle breeds in Ethiopia

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

CI = Calving interval, AFC = Age at First Calving, DO = Days Open, NSPC = Number of Service per Conceptions.

2.6. Cattle Management and Husbandry Practice

2.6.1. Cattle feeding management

Livestock feed resources in Ethiopia are mainly natural grazing lands and browses, crop residues, cultivated forage crops and agro-industrial by products (Zewudu, 2010). Feeding systems include grazing or browsing on communal or private natural pasture and rangelands cut and carry feeding system, stall feeding system, road side grazing, free ranging in the cop aftermath and tethering (Mulugeta, 2015). Tethering is practiced to a larger extent especially in areas where the grazing land was encroached by crop farming and when herding labor are scarce (Takele, 2005). The availability and quality of natural pasture vary with altitude, rainfall, soil type, the types of cops and cropping intensity, accessibility and production system (Habtamu, 2017). The quantity of feed is usually inadequate in the dry season, while there is surplus in the wet season. While in the agronomically dominated areas there are scarcity of livestock feed even during the wet seasons. As a result, livestock production of Ethiopia is mainly characterized by low production per animal, which is predominantly constrained by malnutrition and under nutrition (Mulugeta, 2005).

Some farmers supplement their lactating cows with oil cakes, while almost all or about 75% of them provide salt lick to their cattle (Abereham, 2009). Furthermore farmers provide their animals with supplements such as Attela (local brewery by product), homemade by products such as boiled grain and grain leftovers leftover of chemo (a hot drink prepared from green leaf of coffee and spices such as garlic, red paper and ginger), grain husks and salt lick was also commonly practiced (Takele, 2005).

2.6.2. Housingoflivestock

The traditional livestock husbandry practiced across most of the Ethiopian farmers is similar. Livestock are kept in a "kraal’ during the night. During the day time, they are herded on communal pasture, private grazing lands or in stubble depending on the season (Abereham, 2009). Improved type of housing, using bams constructed from locally available and cheap materials is being practiced mainly by urban and peri-urban smallholder farmers owning crossbred dairy cattle. The type ofhouse varies from roofed to simple corral with no roof and the provision is also determined by the type of production being undertaken and the economic condition of the farmers. Housing is very important for animals to protect them from theft, predators and from adverse environmental hazards, and the production system determines the kind of provision to be made (Seid, 2012). Overall calves are most favored in getting open roofed circular house night time shelter followed by goats and sheep (Mulugeta, 2015). The report by Dessalegn, (2015) indicated that farmers give especial attention for pregnant animals, young calves and weak/sick animals.

2.6.3. Watering management

Water constitutes 60 to 70 percent of the body oflivestock which is necessary for maintaining body fluids and proper ion balance, for digesting, absorbing and metabolizing nutrients; for eliminating waste material and excess heat from the body; for providing a fluid environment for the fetus; and for transporting nutrients to and from body tissues (Abera, 2017). Water is an especially important nutrient during periods of heat stress. During periods of cold stress, the high heat capacity of body water acts as insulation conserving body heat (Abera, 2017).

Water requirement of livestock varies among species, breeds or varies within species and among individuals within breeds depends on size and milk yield, quantity of dry matter consumed, temperature and relative humidity of the environment, temperature of the water, quality and availability of the water, and amount of moisture in feed (Mulugeta, 2015, Abera, 2017). Temporary surface water, ponds, rivers, streams traditional well, hand dug wells like hand and solar pumps and bore holes are the main source of water for cattle in Ethiopia (Dereje, 2016). Rivers, streams and temporary surface water are water sources of cattle both in dry and wet seasons (Abera, 2017). In pastoral areas, temporary surface water and ponds are used in the wet seasons. Watering frequency varies depending on season availability, distance, species and accessibility of water sources in different farming system (Ayele, 2012). During the wet seasons most of the livestock are provided with water every 1-2 days. But during the dry seasons cattle are provided with water every 2-3 days (Dereje, 2016). The average distance by cattle travelled to the watering points in both dry and wet seasons takes 3.30 km (Chali, 2014). The report by Abereham, (2009) revealed that animals travel longer distance to watering points (l-5km) per day, leading to depletion of their energy during the dry season, but in wet season animals were watered in a nearby natural water sources.

2.6.4. Healthcare of the cattle

Improved animal health care and management is one of the major constraints of livestock development in Ethiopia, which impaired their contribution across the production system (Abereham, 2009). Diseases of the livestock can adversely affect their production in various ways such as premature death, reduced body weight and fertility, reduced yield of meat, milk or eggs as well as their reduced capacity for work (Dessalegn, 2009). Many of the disease related problems result from the interaction among several intrinsic and non intrinsic constraints. Livestock which are improperly managed have low disease resistance, high fertility related problems, partly because the animal health care system relays heavily on veterinary measures. According to the report of Seid, (2012) government is the major provider of veterinary service with limited involvement of the private sector. According the report of Dessalegn, (2015), in areas where veterinary clinics are unavailable, farmers travel long distances to access veterinary services during which many animals die before reaching the clinic. In a study Abera, (2017), it was indicated that the cost of drugs and ascaricides is very high, while the diagnostic services are not readily available to the cattle, in addition to inadequacy of animal health services provided. The most common cattle disease prevailed in the country, especially thus influencing international trade are Rinderpest, Foot and mouth disease, Anthrax, blackleg, trypanosomiasis, bovine tuberculosis, streptococcus and brucellosis (Abereham, 2009).

2.7. Characterization of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR)

Characterization of AnGR encompasses all knowledge associated with the identification, quantitative and qualitative description and documentation of breed populations and prediction of genetic performance of the AnGR, the natural habitats and production systems to which they are adapted to (FAO, 2012). The goal of characterizing livestock genetic resource is to obtain information on their diversity and genetic merits of the livestock resources, for their present and future potential uses for food and agriculture in a given environment. These can be used to develop planning management of AnGR, conservation and sustainable use of AnGR and genetic improvement programs at local, regional, national and at global level (FAO, 2012; Yabuku et al., 2009). The term “Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR)” is used to include all animal populations, species, breeds and strains, particularly those of economic, scientific and cultural interest to mankind in terms of agricultural production for their present or future use. Characterization of AnGR incorporates development of necessary descriptors for their use and their valuation, and continual monitoring of the status of those AnGR at risk. According to the FAO, (2012), understanding the breed characteristic is necessary in making in livestock development and breeding programs. As stated by Workneh et al., (2004) breed characterization includes description of representative adult animals ofboth sexes.

Characterization of AnGR encompasses abroad range of exploratory research out comes on description of the origin, development, population size, structure, distribution, typical features and phenotypic performance of these resources in defined management and climatic environments (Yabuku et al., 2009). Performance of livestock is explained in terms of production of specific out puts, reproduction, adaptation and these values may be related to genotype of animal populations in the form of estimated genetic parameters. Characterization also includes displaying of the typical images of representative adult livestock as well as those of average herds (Workneh et al., 2004). Phenotypical characterization of AnGR refers to the process of identifying distinct breed populations and describing their external characteristics, production environment and under given management, taking into account the social and economic factors that affect them (FAO, 2012). Basic information on breed characterization includes preliminary characteristics such as type/breed/variety; predominant location and climatic conditions; utility, management and production systems; physical and production traits (Dessalegn, 2009). The classical description of breeds is based up on their phenotype and is principally a manifestation of its genotype, and that it leads itself to direct measurement on the organism. Characterization through phenotype, on the other hand, is based on their morphological characters such as coat color, horn, ear and other specific visible traits (FAO, 2007). Morphological traits are used to estimate distance between breeds/strains/populations and are used to describe them in terms of the frequency of the most typical characters (FAO, 2012). Phenotypic similarity of organisms may reveal functional and adaptive similarity.

2.8. Morphological Characteristics of Cattle

According to Delgado et al., (2001) the first step of animal genetic resource is correlated with the knowledge of the variation of the morphological traits. Morphometrical measurements are among the data which are needed in characterization and establishment of breed standard in its production (Oseni and Ajayi, 2008). Morphological traits are used to estimate difference between breeds and are used to describe them in terms of the frequency of the most typical characters (Dereje, 2005). Morphological characterization of livestock genetic resource refers to the process of identifying distinct breed population and describing their morphological characteristics and those of their production environment (FAO, 2011). Qualitative traits cover the external physical form viz, horn shape, ear length, coat colour and appearance of animals. These traits are recorded as discrete or categorical variables and they are determined by a few pairs of genes. Relative to the quantitative traits, qualitative traits may have less direct relevance to the production and service functions of Animal Genetic Resource, however, they may relate to adaptive attributes and survival in different agro-ecological zone in the country (FAO, 2012). It has been reported that colour of the skin and hair coat, and size of ears and horns, are known to be relevant to their adaptation. Length of tail or size of switch in cattle is important in areas where there are many biting flies. Other traits may be relevant to the preferences oflivestock keepers and consumers (e.g. colour of hair coat).

Quantitative traits include the linear measurements of animals’ body parts, which are more directly correlated to production traits than qualitative traits and provide a scientific basis to describe the biological variations between breeds and also for animals within a breed and thus can serve as a basis for measuring their performance, productivity and carcass characters Banerjee et al., (2014). Linear body measurements are important for the prediction of an animals live weight, carcass weight and determination of body conformational traits that can be taken into consideration in selecting animals for genetic improvement (Akpa et al., 2009). Use of an animal’s morphometrical measurements offers advantages over other subjective methods of judging cattle such as visual assessment and scoring (Lukuyu et al., 2016). Some authors have also suggested that it may be more reliable than weights measured with a weighing scale since the latter can be subject to short-term effects such as management, gut fill, lactation, urination and defecation (Alemayehu and Tibako, 2010). These measurements can be taken at lower costs with simple measuring equipments may provide relative accuracy and consistency. Study by Otoikhian et al., (2008), indicated that there is correlation increase between body parameters measured with body weight viz; body weight and chest girth are directly related to body size and associated production traits. The morphometrical traits are quantitative in nature and are influenced by non genetic factors; besides the same they show a continuous variation across the population (FAO, 2012). These traits are therefore included in many breeding programs and are hence are reliable estimators for some important conformational traits (Otoikhian et al., 2008). Traits such as dewlap width, ear length, height at withers and size of perpetual sheath are directly related to adaptive attributes of AnGR, and are therefore relevant to phenotypic characterization studies (FAO, 2012).

Table 3. Some of morphometrical traits (cm) of some indigenous cattle in Ethiopia.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2.9. Structural Indices

Linear measurements can be taken at relatively lower costs with a high relative accuracy and consistency. Linear measurements are divided into two groups, which include skeletal and tissue measurements. Skeletal measurements include all the height and length measurements while tissue measurements include heart girth, chest depth, punch girth and width of hips. According to Rashid et al., (2016), characterization based on morphological measurement in addition to weight measurements are important parameters to describe growth rate and also it can describe more completely an individual or population than do the conventional methods of weighing and grading. Body indices are estimated from different combination different body traits produced a superior guide to weight and were also used as an indicator of type and function of domestic animals (Pundir et al., 2011). The indices are considered an option for assessment of weight because they incorporate measures of desirable conformation, namely, length and balance (Alderson, 1999). Salako, (2006) suggested that indices that are produced from measurements that are more closely associated with bone growth such as foreleg length, height slope and length index are more appropriate for assessment of type. Calculation of structural indices can be served as a useful measure in young animals to enable earlier assessment of breeding animals for selection and to predict mature rating (Chacon et al., 2011). Production Performances especially in function of meat production can be assessed from body measurements such as chest girth, body length, chest width, rump width and chest depth, which are more closely associated with bone or muscle growth. Structural indices are important for the prediction of milk and meat production performance and also indices are important to predict animal performance in terms of fitness, good respiratory system and in terms of animal’s gravity center and balance (Cheimela et al., 2016).

Indices offer accurate estimation of an animal's conformation when compared to individual measurement alone. Structural indices also provide tested empirical values which are limited in the use of single measurements. They are also used for the assessment of type, weight and function as well as enhance the ability of breeders to select potential breeding stock (Salako, 2006). Structural indices are calculated from morphometric traits and provide evaluation of animals to buyers since the morphometric measurements are related with production characteristics (Alderson, 1999; Salako, 2006). Assessment of animal weight (due to its association with desirable conformation such as length and balance) is better done using indices (Salako, 2006; Chiemela et al., 2016). The index system used for assessment of type and function in cattle was developed by (Alderson, 1999) who suggested that the application can be used to other species of animals. Type and function are considered better indicators of the usefulness of the animal than their body weight alone (Alberti et al., 2008). The structural index balance is essential for the animals to climb hills and descend valleys effectively whereas; thoracic development index is an important criterion for animals in terms of fitness and good respiratory system, especially in high altitude.

2.10. Indigenous Knowledge of Farmers on Cattle Production and Traits Preference.

Cattle are kept for multipurpose that vary with production system. As it is true for many other tropical developing countries, the cattle genotypes of Ethiopia have evolved largely because of natural selection for the traits such as survivability, ruggedness, heat tolerance and tolerance towards various economically important diseases and seasonal shortage of feed/fodder (Seid, 2012). Indigenous knowledge can be a source of information for the reason a genotype was developed by the traditional breeders and also about the characterization of undocumented breeds, which indicates the reason for their development and usefulness (Endashaw et al., 2012). As indicated by Jiregna, (2007), indigenous knowledge is an integral part of the culture and history of local communities, which has significance in designing of the sustainable farming system including animal husbandry practices. According to the studies of Banerjee et al., (2014) farmers practiced selection of livestock based on some predefined attributes most of which have proper scientific justification and are best suited to their agro-climatic conditions. Cattle keepers in Ethiopia prefer to select their herd based on the adaptive traits followed by those of economic importance. However, traits such as coat color and adaptability are traditionally taken into account when selecting the dairy cattle (Ayantu etal., 2012). Based on the report of Takele, (2005), the traits which are usually taken into for selecting bulls for drought power are; stature, alertness, active animal for ploughing, wide front body, large dewlap, thick skin, big hump, short tail and prominent neck. According to the Takele, (2005) the selection criteria which are relevant to the milk production include bigger sized udder and teat, well attached udder and squarely placed teats. Similar report by Debir, (2016) and Jiregna, (2007) indicated primary criteria used to select breeding bulls were body height and length, body condition, physical appearance, coat color, hump size, prepuce sheath, temperament, body conformation, horn size and potential for traction. Horro cattle are traditionally reared for high fat content in milk (Debir, 2016). According to the report of Szabolcs et al., (2007) that most of the morphological traits are highly heritable and therefore selections based on these traits are mostly successful.


3.1. Description of the Study Area

3.1.1. Location

The study was conducted in Hadiya zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS). Hadiya zone is one of the thirteen zones and nine special woredas of the SNNPR of Ethiopia. Its capital city is Hossana, which is located 232km south of Addis Ababa and 160km west of Hawassa town. The zone has a predominantly undulating topography and pleasant climate which makes it highly suitable for human habituation as well as agricultural production. The elevation of the zone lies between 1500 to 3000 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The study location is situated between 7° 45"N latitude and 380 45"E longitudes. The mean annual rainfall ranging between 469.98 and 156.66mm, the mean maximum annual temperature is 22.54 oc and mean minimum temperature is 10.35 oc (HZLFB).

Figure 1 is for copyright reasons not part of this publication

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

3.1.2. Agro-ecology

Based on agro-climatic zones, the Zone can be divided into three broad climatic zones, namely midland areas of 1500-3000 m.a.s.l, which accounts nearly two third (64.7%) of the zone, where as high land >2,300 m.a.s.l, which accounts for 23.7% of the total land, and lowland which accounts for 11.6% of the total land of the zone (HZLFB).

3.1.3. Livestock population and agricultural activities in the zone

According to CSA 2016/17 report 929,689 heads of cattle population are fond in the study area. The main economic source the livelihood in the study area is based on both crop production and livestock rearing. Crops grown for food consumption as well as for income generation include enset (E. ventricosum), coffee (Coffee Arabica), wheat (Triticum aestivum), teff (Eragrotis tef), maize (Zea mays), barley (Hordeum vulgare), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), pea (Pisum sativum), kchat (Catha edulis), potato (Solanum tuberosum), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), cabbage (Brassica oleracea), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) and some other garden spices. In addition, cattle, goat, sheep horse, donkeys and chickens are reared as common service as an alternative source of income generating strategy of farmers in the study area.

3.2. Sampling and Data Collection Methods.

3.2.1. Sampling techniques and sample size.

Before sampling of districts, discussion was held with the zone livestock and development experts to create clear understanding about the purpose of the study. Multi stage sampling (both purposive followed by random) was used to collect information’s on production system, indigenous cattle management and husbandry practices and morphological traits of cattle. Hadiya zone is structured into 10 districts and one urban town, which was stratified and purposely selected based on their cattle population. Of which 2 (two) districts was purposively selected based on the cattle population and accessibility. From each selected district; three Rural Kebeles (RK) were selected with the help of district’s agricultural experts and development agents based cattle population. Forty (40) households possessing a minimum of 3 adult cattle were identified from each RK by random followed by purposive sampling. A total of 240 households (40 from each RK) were purposively sampled for the questionnaire interview from the selected RK, the respondents were identified based on the experience in livestock rearing. For linear body measurement from each RK 110 adult cattle (30 bulls and 80 cows) with a total of 660 cattle were considered for both qualitative and quantitative trait studies. Focused group discussion was held among agricultural development extensions and a minimum of five selected model farmers from each selected RK.

3.2.2. Data collection on production situation and breeding.

The data on the production system was collected using semi structured questioner which was translated in the local language and pretested before being administered. The information collected was based on the existing cattle production situation, production and reproduction performance of cattle from each selected cattle owners. Cattle husbandry and breeding management of cattle including mating system, traits preferred by the farmer’s and selective breeding practices of cattle were assessed using questioner. In addition, group discussion was held to obtain information regarding production system and rank morphological traits in selection criteria and the traditional selection criteria was identified. Information on reproduction and productive performance such as age at puberty, calving interval, the mean life time calf crop of cow, number of service per conception, milk production performance and lactation length of the cow were assessed through semi structured questionnaire, personal interview and focused discussion with the cattle owners. Further information on both quantitative and qualitative data was collected from linear body measurements.

3.2.3. Data collection on morphological and linear body measurement.

Phenotypic data (body measurement and Visual morphological characteristics) was collected and recorded based on format adopted from the standard breed description list developed by FAO (FAO, 2012), to characterize the cattle types phenotypically and morphologically. Qualitative traits of cattle such as; coat color, coat color pattern, horn presence, horn shape, horn orientation, orientation of ear, perpetual sheath for bulls, hump size and shape and tail length were recorded (FAO, 2012). The standard breed descriptor list for the cattle developed by FAO (2012) was closely followed in selecting morphological variables.

Body measurements were taken for quantitative traits including body length, height at wither, chest girth, horn length, tail length, ear length, chest depth, height at rump, head length, head width, rump length and chest width were measured using scales, calipers, heart girth tape and measuring tapes (FAO, 2011). A graduated measuring stick was used for the height measurements, the length and muzzle circumferences measurement were done using a flexible tape, heart girth was measured by using a ‘heart girth’ tape and calibrated wooden caliper was used for the width measurements. Body weight of the animals was measured by using an instrument called heart girth tape which is designed particularly for tropical cattle to estimate body weight. This tape was specifically developed for Ethiopian zebu breeds by JAICA (Japan Agency for International Cooperation) and was taken on loan from Adami Tullu Research Center. Body measurements were done by the same person to avoid between individual variations on selected adult cattle of both sexes by estimating the age of the animal by dentition and the information from the cattle owners. Measurement was taken on the morning to avoid the effect of feeding and watering on animal’s size and confirmation. Pregnant, sick and emaciated animals were excluded in the sampling to avoid bias because of the effect that can produce on parameters like thoracic measurements.

Table 4. Standard breed descriptors for qualitative traits of cattle developed by FAO (2012).

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Table 5. Standard breed descriptors for quantitative traits of cattle developed by FAO (2012).

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Table 6. Methods of calculating structural indices.

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Sources; Banerjee et al., (2014); FAO, (2011); Banerjee, (2015); Salako, (2006); Chiemela et al., 2016.

3.3. Methods of Data Analysis

The data collected from quantitative traits such as linear body measurement were subjected to the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of statistical analysis (SAS 2003). The means were compared using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test and the values were considered significant at P<0.05. While the qualitative traits were analyzed using non parametric methods (chi square analysis). Data collected through questionnaire were described by descriptive statistics by using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. The fixed factor was the studied locations (Districts). Calculation was used to assess the structural indices from the mean of linear body measurements in the study area. The effect of location on linear body measurement was analyzed using the following linear model.


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Production System, Morphological Characterization And Structural Indices Of Indigenous Cattle
Hadiya Zone, Southern Ethiopia
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cattle, system, structural, southern, production, morphological, indigenous, indices, hadiya, ethiopia, characterization, zone
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Tariku Woldeyohannes (Author), 2018, Production System, Morphological Characterization And Structural Indices Of Indigenous Cattle, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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