International Journal of
Livestock Production

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Livest. Prod.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2448
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJLP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 287

Full Length Research Paper

Management and phenotypic features of indigenous cattle in Rwanda

Claire D’Andre Hirwa
  • Claire D’Andre Hirwa
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Donald Rugira Kugonza
  • Donald Rugira Kugonza
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Tiba Murekezi
  • Tiba Murekezi
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Jean Damascene Rwemarika
  • Jean Damascene Rwemarika
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Aline Kayitesi
  • Aline Kayitesi
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Arsene Musemakweri
  • Arsene Musemakweri
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Jean Pierre Shabayiro
  • Jean Pierre Shabayiro
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Felicien Shumbusho
  • Felicien Shumbusho
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Maximillian Manzi
  • Maximillian Manzi
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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Theogene Safari
  • Theogene Safari
  • Large Stocks Programme, Rwanda Agriculture Board, P. O. Box 5016, Kigali, Rwanda.
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  •  Received: 11 January 2017
  •  Accepted: 02 May 2017
  •  Published: 31 July 2017

Abstract

Breed improvement and conservation are optimally achieved when the available genetic resources are characterised and strategies developed to achieve the goals. This study aimed at investigating the management practices, performance and morphological features of the indigenous cattle ecotypes in Rwanda on 250 cattle farming households. A total of 20 measurements taken on 305 female and 45 male cattle were: body length (BL), height at withers (HW), leg height (LH), heart girth (HG), body weight (BW), tail length (TL), dewlap length (DL), dewlap width (DW), rump width (RW), ear length (EL), muzzle circumference (MC), horn length (HL), distance between horns (HS), hump length (HuL), hump width (HuW), navel depth (ND), udder length (UL), udder depth (UD), teat length (TL), and body condition score (BCS). Morphometric data was analysed by ecotype for each sex and age category since there were non-significant differences in geographical location. Results show that Rwanda has five types of indigenous cattle namely: Inyambo, Inkuku, Inkoromaijo, Inkungu and Bashi. The livestock system mostly used was extensive and household income was mainly from livestock. For Inyambo cattle, the popular ecotype, age at sexual maturity was 27.44±1.04 months for males and 28.76±1.02 months for female cows. Age at first calving was 33.8±0.83 months whereas calving interval was 13.60±0.45 months. Lactation length was found to be 6.84±0.29 months. The mean daily milk was 3.58±0.19 litres and the pre weaning calf survivability was 90±6.5%. Positive and high correlations were observed between BW, HG, HW, HuL, BL and HL. Indigenous cattle population of Rwanda are not homogenous by their morphological features and other productive traits, and therefore conservation will have to target the different ecotypes and this should be done with direct engagement of their keepers.

 

Key words: Ankole, indigenous cattle, Inyambo, phenotypes, reproductive performance.

Abbreviation

BL, Body length; HW, height at withers; LH, leg height; HG, heart girth; BW, body weight: TL, tail length: DL, Dewlap length: DW, Dewlap width; RW, Rump width: EL, ear length; MC, muzzle circumference; HL, horn length; HS, distance between horns; HuL, hump length; HuW, hump width; ND, navel depth; UL, udder length; UD, udder depth; TL, teat length; BCS, body condition score.