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This study examines the use of morphological parameters to predict live weight of male working donkeys in three locations of northwest Nigeria. The study employed the use of measuring tape to measure some morphological parameters from 127 male working donkeys selected at random from three locations namely: Giwa (Kaduna state), Kofar Dan ‘agundi (Kano state) and Zandam (Jigawa state). Data obtained was analyzed using descriptive statistics, analysis of variance and regression analysis. Results indicated that length of neck of donkeys was 40% higher (P<0.05) in Giwa than Kofar Dan’agundi. However, donkeys in Zandam had 5% and 6% higher (P<0.05) length of ear and body length, respectively compared to those in Giwa. Predicted live weight of donkeys was 34% higher (P<0.05) using allometric model II (144 kg) than model I (95 kg), regardless of the location. Heart girth and body length of donkeys were the best predictors of live weight (P<0.001; R2 = 0.99, se = 0.01 and R2 = 0.72, se = 0.10), respectively. Predicted live weight relates positively with body length of donkeys in the study areas (R2 = 0.73). It was therefore concluded that equations developed to estimate live weight of donkeys using morphological parameters could be used in Nigeria with high degree of certainty. Considering the fact that weight is sexually dimorphic, similar research should be conducted on female donkeys to have a wider understanding of Nigerian donkeys for sustainable development.
Key words: Donkey, heart girth, live weight, morphology, Nigerian