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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Livestock keeper perceptions of four indigenous cattle breeds in tsetse infested areas of Ethiopia

Stein, Jennie; Ayalew, Workneh; Rege, J. E. O.; Mulatu, Woudyalew; Malmfors, Birgitta; Dessie, Tadelle; Philipsson, Jan


Four cattle breeds indigenous to western and south-western Ethiopia - Abigar, Gurage, Horro and Sheko - were included in a study of the perceptions of smallholder cattle keepers regarding cattle management, production levels and constraints for production. A semi-structured questionnaire was used and 60 cattle keepers from each of the four areas were interviewed. Diseases were reported as the main constraint to cattle production by a majority of livestock keepers in all areas except in the Sheko area, where over-stocking was the main constraint. Among diseases, trypanosomosis was the main livestock disease according to more than half of Gurage, Horro and Sheko keepers, whereas anthrax was most important in the Abigar area. Gurage had highest age at first calving, longest calving interval and also the lowest milk production, whereas Sheko and Abigar had the most favorable characteristics both for milk production (600-700 kg) and fertility (age at first mating 3-3.5 years and above 8 calves/cow). Cattle keepers in the Sheko area reported relatively less problems with cattle diseases compared to the other areas, especially regarding trypanosomosis. Abigar showed a different disease pattern than the other breeds and may also have advantages as regards trypanotolerance.


Cattle; Ethiopia; Indigenous breeds; Production; Trypanosomosis; Tsetse flies

Published in

Tropical Animal Health and Production
2009, Volume: 41, number: 7, pages: 1335-1346