Biometric Traits of Black Coat Coloured Cattle in Obudu Grass Plateau, South-South Nigeria
Ayuk AA, Dauda A*, Anya MI and Umoh KE
Department of Animal Science, University of Calabar, P. M. B 1115 Calabar, Nigeria
*Correspondence to: Dauda A
Citation: Ayuk AA, Dauda A, Anya MI, Umoh KE (2018) Biometric Traits of Black Coat Coloured Cattle in Obudu Grass Plateau, South- South Nigeria. SCIOL Genet Sci 2018;1:62-67.
A total of 237 (120 female and 117 male) black coat coloured cattle were used for phenotypic traits characterization. Some of the phenotypic traits measured were Body Weight (BW), Body Length (BL), Height-at-Withers (HW), Head Length (HDL), Head Width (HDW), Ear Length (EL), Horn Length (HL), Tail Length (TL) and Heart Girth (HG). The data obtained were analyzed using SAS. The results revealed that lots and age have significantly (P < 0.05) difference on all the phenotypic traits except udder circumference and number of teats showed non-significantly (P > 0.05) different. Age also showed significant (P < 0.05) difference on most of the phenotypic traits. The phenotypic correlation among phenotypic traits showed both positive and negative correlations. Besides, body weight showed positive correlation with all the phenotypic traits ranged from low, moderately to highly (P < 0.05). The Information from this study could be used for planning of breeding programmes and government policies.
Morphological traits, Cattle phenotypes, South Nigeria
Cattle are a multi-functional animal and play a significant role in the economy and nutrition of both local and urban farmers in Nigeria. Cattle rearing are an enterprise which has been practiced by a large section of population in rural areas. Cattle can efficiently survive on available shrubs and trees in adverse harsh environment in low fertility lands where no other crop can be grown. They contribute to livestock industry in terms of milk, meat, skin and hair . Apart from providing meat, cattle also plays a vital role by providing milk, fiber, hair, manure and a major source of income especially for rural people additionally, cattle are useful in carrying out functions such as being slaughtered for funeral and marriage ceremonies and as a source of income and security for the resource-poor farmers . Tropical cattle yet to be improved with regard to production performance parameters for higher meat yields under stressful tropical conditions such as low-quality nutrient feed, a tropical climate, diseases and parasites. Increasing meat yield from this breed of animal requires the development of a very good model for its genetic improvement . However, a large proportion of indigenous livestock populations in the developing world have not yet been characterized or evaluated at phenotypic and genetic levels . In order to ensure proper conservation and utilization of indigenous breeds, it is necessary to evaluate genetic variations that exist within and among breeds. Accordingly, proper identification, evaluation, and maintenance of different traits of animal genetic resources are necessary to make them available and relevant for future use without compromising their current utilization . Phenotypic as well as genetic characterization of indigenous livestock genetic resources provides the basis for any livestock development intervention. Clearly, sustainable utilization of local breeds is the best means of conserving these genetic resources. The first essential step towards sustainable utilization of these resources is to identify the major breed types, establish their population size as well as their geographical distribution and describe their typical qualitative and quantitative phenotypic traits . Recognition of breeds' potential depends on the availability of accurate and comprehensive information on their characteristics and their production and marketing environments. Such information can only be obtained through well-designed characterization studies that include pertinent and well-thought-out analysis and interpretation of the data collected . The information provided by characterization studies is essential for planning the management of animal genetic resource (AnGR) at local, national, regional and global levels . Thus, the general objective of this study was to characterize phenotypic variations of local cattle population in the study area.
Material and Methods
The study area is the Obudu Grass Plateau located in the Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, Southeastern Nigeria. It lies between longitude 90 22' 00" and 90 22' 45" E, and latitude 60 21' 30" and 60 22' 30" N, with an approximate area of 104 sqm2, and a height of about 1576 m above sea level . Obudu Grass Plateau is bounded in the north by Benue State, northeast by the Republic of Cameroon, to the southeast by Boki Local Government Area in Cross River State of Nigeria. The area is situated within the tropics, but it has a climate that is likened to temperate region with mean daily temperatures range between 15 ℃ and 22 ℃. It has a mean annual rainfall of about 4300 mm with highest rainfall of about 76.2 cm usually recorded in August while the lowest of 0.76 cm is usually recorded in December . The Obudu Grass Plateau is part of the Precambrian Basement Complex of Nigeria .
Management system of the experimental animals
The animals were managed under extensive system with little or no provision of shelter in the day and night. The animals are kept in lots in the night and the lots are fence with stick or barb wires. The calves were separated from the cows in the night. They grazed during the day time on natural pasture. No Adequate veterinary care was in existent and uncontrolled breeding was also practice. Other management practice such as hand picking of ticks, castration of mature bulls that have used for service over the years and mineral salt were given as supplement.
A total of 237 black coat coloured cattle of both sexes (120 female and 117 male) were sampled from the population of cattle in Obudu Grass Plateau for phenotypic traits characterization. The phenotypic traits measured were Body Weight (BW), Body Length (BL), Height-at-Withers (HW), Head Length (HDL), Head Width (HDW), Ear Length (EL), Horn Length (HL), Tail Length (TL), Dewlap Width (DW), Scrotal Circumference (SC), Udder Circumference (UC), Number of Teats (NOT), Foreleg Length (FLG), Hindleg Length (HLG), Horn circumference (HNC), Cannon Length (CL), Cannon Circumference (CCF), Rump Width (RW), Rump Length (RL), Heart Girth (HG). The body weight was measured with glasfiber band with model number WJ515. Height-at-wither was measured with meter rule while other phenotypic traits were measured with graduated tape. The measurements were done in the morning before the animals were released for grazing. All the measurements were carried out by same person in order to avoid inter individual variations.
The statistical analysis for the phenotypic traits was obtained using SAS 2004 and means separation was performed by the used of Duncan's Multiple Range Test of the same statistical package at probability level of 5%. The fixed effects of breed on linear body measurements were tested using linear model given as follows:
Yij = µ + Bi + eij
Where Yij = individual observation of each body traits
µ = overall mean
Bi = fixed effect of ith on Breed
eij = random residual error associated with record of each animal
Results and Discussion
The results of this study showed the effect of Lots on phenotypic traits of black coat coloured cattle which are presented in Table 1. The result revealed that all the phenotypic traits under study are significantly (P < 0.05) different except udder circumference and number of teats. BW, BL, HTW, RW and HG showed high value of 395.50 kg, 117.29 cm, 133.82 cm, 40.20 and 167.14 cm respectively in lots 4. Besides, aforementioned traits showed low value of 168.00 kg, 75.00 cm, 75.00 cm, 25.00 cm and 126.00 cm respectively in lots 5. The value of BW, BL and HTW reported in this study is lower than the BW of 513.4 kg, BL of 146.37 cm and HW of 132 cm for Holstein cattle in developed country production systems by Ozkaya and Bozkurt  while the value for HTW, BL and HG in this study is higher than the value of 114 ± 0.2 cm, 115 ± 0.2 cm and 146 ± 0.3 cm for HTW, BL and HG respectively reported by Tenagne, et al.  for Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Cattle Populations in West Gojjam Administrative Zones, Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. The difference between lots in this study could be due to management, age, sex and strain. This agreed with the report of Mwacharo, et al.  which opined that variations in phenotypic features observed among Black coat coloured cattle subpopulations could be due to differences in management practices. Variations between the values reported in other research and this study could be due to management and breeds differences. The results of Effect of age on phenotypic trait in this study are presented in Table 2. Body weight (BW), body length (BL), height-at-wither, horn length (HNL), tail length (TL), number of teat (NoT), heart girth (HG), rump width (RW) and rump length (RL) showed significant (P < 0.05) difference. The phenotypic traits increase with increase in age except BL which increase from 0-9 years and slightly decrease above 9 years. The increase in phenotypic traits with age could be termed as growth variation (Allometry). These findings agreed to the result of Adejoro and Salako  who reported that the general positive influence of age of the animals on body size and weight is not surprising since the size and weight of the animals is expected to increase with increasing age of the animal. Genotypic and environmental factors such as breeds, species, health and nutrition could also have effect on phenotypic traits of cattle. This result is in accordance with many others [14-17]. The results of phenotypic correlation among traits are presented in Table 3. The phenotypic correlation among traits observed in this study varied in magnitude and direction. Body weight correlated with all the phenotypic traits ranging from low, moderately to high (P < 0.05) correlation. The correlation values obtained in this study ranged from (0.01-0.99). The positive correlation observed in this study is in line with the reports of , who opined that those parameters that are positively correlated with each other are under the controlled by the same gene (pleiotropy), similarly it is an indication that any of these body dimension could serve as a predictor of body weight. This means that an improvement in one trait will lead to improvement in the other trait. Correlation among phenotypic traits may be affected by factors such as age, sex, health status, season, and feeding condition. So, the result could be different in different breeds and environments which can affect the efficiency of body measurements in body weight prediction .
Based on this study, lots and age showed significant (P < 0.05) different on phenotypic traits of cattle. Increase in age with phenotypic traits could be termed as growth. The correlation among the phenotypic traits varied in magnitude. Body weight showed positive correlation with all the phenotypic traits (P < 0.05). The information from this study could be used in planning breeding programme and government policies in Obudu Grass Plateau Cross River South-South Nigeria.
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