Full Length Research Paper
A survey of 20 Fulani households in Zaria and environs revealed that the maximum and minimum herd size of Fulani cattle holdings in Zaria is 69 and 16, respectively, with the mean herd size of 41.5. The cattle stock composition showed a gender imbalance, with a preponderance of female stock than males. On the average, female animals constituted 60 to 75% in each herd type. The young animals contributed about 50% of the herd size, with more females (35%) than males (15%). The proportion of breeding cows in the herd was 44% while the proportion of the breeding bulls was 6%; this showed that the proportion of the males in the herd reduced as they reached breeding age. The mean values for the breeding bulls, breeding cows, young males and females per herd were 2.6, 18.5, 5.7, and 14.7, respectively. There was however, high variability amongst the herd structure attributes with respect to herd size (CV= 36.8%), number of breeding bulls (CV= 40.2%), breeding cows (CV= 49.1%), young males (CV=42.3%) and young females per herd (CV= 44.5%). The bulls in the Fulani herds reached considerable high age (average age at first breeding 4.05 years) before breeding; the mean age of the breeding bulls in the Fulani herds was 5.98 years. Although older bulls of up to 12 years were found in some of the herds, majority of the bulls were within 5 years age bracket. The high percentage of breeding and rearing females in the herd implies that the Fulani herdsmen are conscious of keeping only those animals which are productive for the sake of increasing their herd.
Key words: White Fulani, herd size, herd structure, herd composition.
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