A study was carried out in Enderta district, northern Ethiopia, with the objective of investigating traditional cattle milk and butter production, off take and traditional handling and utilization pattern of bovine milk and butter. Respondents who have milking cows and experience of dairying were purposively selected for the study. A semi structured questionnaire and checklist were prepared to collect the data through interview, farm visit and group discussion. Milk and butter were the most common dairy products that had different utilization patterns. Milk was used for household consumption, calf feed, accumulated on daily bases for fermentation and for sell; whereas, butter was used for household consumption as food, for cosmetic purpose and for sell. The overall average milk off take per day per household was 6.81±0.57 L of which, 62.94% was traditionally processed to butter and butter milk. The overall average butter production per household per week was 1.25±0.05 kg out of which, 80.2% was allocated to market and the remaining to cosmetic and sale. The dominant milking utensils in the area were ‘Kordo’, ‘Gefho’ and ‘Jerican’. These were used for milking, fermenting and churning, respectively. Milk vessels were smoked for the purpose of increasing shelf life of milk and milk products. The interest of farmers engaging on dairy farming is increasing; but they lack awareness on keeping quality of milk and milk products. Almost half of the producers in the area did not use detergents to wash their milk vessels. Therefore, milk producers should be supported with strong extension service by way of introducing improved dairy technologies, improved milk handling and processing equipments.
Key words: Handling, utilization, milk vessels, transhumance, sedentary milk, butter.
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