Characteristics, management and use of draught animals in Bauchi state, northeast, Nigeria
AbstractA Study was conducted to examine the characteristics, management and use of draught animals in Bauchi State, Northeastern, Nigeria. A total of 100 farmers made up of 10 from each of the 10 Local Government Areas of the state were personally interviewed using structured pre-tested questionnaires. Data were generated on the breeds of animals used for draught, production systems employed, seasonal use of the animals, duration of time animals were kept for traction, years of animal traction experience of farmer and general management of the animals among others. The results showed that 92.0% of the farmers used bulls and 8.0% oxen for animal traction. Bunaji was the most widely used breed of cattle in the study area. All the farmers gave one form of feed supplementation or the other in addition to grazing the animals. During the wet season, animals spent 3-5 hours working, while all the respondents used their animals for the transportation of goods such as farm harvests, drinking water and other goods during the dry season. Also, 24.0% of them used donkeys for the conveyance of goods, with about 48.0% hiring out their animals for work in exchange for money. Majority of the farmers worked their animals between 1-3 years and had 1-5 years of animal traction experience. Many farmers were least concerned about the welfare of their animals and have therefore inflicted a lot of injuries and stress on them. These included beating with stick or leather strip during work (64.0%), over-loading the animals (14.0%), tail twisting (12.0%), tail biting (10.0%), use of wounded animals for work (6.0%), and lack of adequate housing or shade, especially during the hot dry season (93.0%). Most of the farmers preferred draught power to tractors because of the unavailability and high cost of the latter and the relative ease of maintenance of the former especially where there is scarcity of fuel and spare parts as in the Northeastern part of Nigeria.
International Journal of Natural and Applied Sciences Vol. 2(1) 2006: 40-46