On-farm performance of Bunaji (White Fulani) cattle. 1. Herd structures and cattle disposal
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Animal Production;57(pt.2): 199-209
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/28264
A study was conducted to examine herd structure and cattle disposal patterns of Bunaji herds kept under traditional management at four locations in the subhumid zone of Nigeria. Sale for meat was the single most important disposal reason. Mean age of cattle sold for meat was 8 years but the age range was wide. Male animals were sold at a younger age than females. Sale of calves was an important exit avenue for rural herds with less access to milk market. Calves were sold at a mean age of 1.1 years and male calves accounted for a larger proportion of such sales. Animal sales were highest in the early dry season and lowest in the early wet season. The predominantly arable farming location, Ganawuri, had the highest frequency of animal sales and lowest frequency of exits for "social functions". Animal transfers, and gifts and exchanges were important disposal routes in the traditionally pastoral communities. These exits were more frequent during the dry season. There was a tendency twoard smaller herds in later years and a decrease in the ratio of adult females to males. Substantial between-location differences existed in herd size and herd structure, ranging from the "beef orientation" of the arable Ganvawuri with a high proportion of immatures and calves, to the pastoral situation in Abet and Kurmin Biri with high proportion of adult animals. The proportions of adults were lowest in the early dry season, reflecting seasonal pattern in disposal and calving. The pattern in disposal reasons over time indicated a decrease in the proportion of animals existing herds through exchanges transfers and gifts and signified a possible shift from tradition, probably a response to population pressures and emergence of cash economies.