Productivity of Indigenous and Exotic Cattle on Kenya Ranches

  • J W Wakhungu
  • M S Badamana
  • G A Olukoye


A comparison of productivity and adaptability of indigenous (Boran and Small East African Zebu) and the exotic (Sahiwal and Ayrshire) cattle on Kenyan ranches located in semi-arid areas of the Rift Valley Provinces was done. Data sets of the cattle breeds over the 1979-1993 period on Deloraine, Elkarama, Ilkerin, National Sahiwal Stud (NSS) and Oljorai were analyzed by the least squares fixed effects model procedures. The least squares means of productivity component traits of each breed were imputed in PRY model to derive feed energy efficiency (FEE) index and carry out sensitivity analyses. The respective FEE indices were 137, 106, 100, 86, 82, 79, 78, and 65 aggregate value off take per unit of feed energy requirements for NSS Sahiwal, Deloraine Ayrshire, Deloraine Sahiwal, Elkarama Sahiwal, Ilkerin Sahiwal, Elkarama Boran, Oljorai Boran and Ilkerin small East African Zebu. The sensitivity showed that survival and reproductive (fitness) traits of the indigenous cattle were lower than for exotic cattle indicating better adaptability of indigenous cattle. The sensitivity values of milk yield, mature weight and mature age were at near optimal levels for the ranch environments, except for Deloraine Ayrshire and Elkarama Boran. The results suggest that fitness traits and rate of genetic progress by selection in production traits could be further enhanced by improving environmental management on the ranches. The implications on development strategies of indigenous and exotic cattle are also discussed.

The Kenya Veterinarian Vol. 30 (1) 2006: pp. 28-34

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eISSN: 0256-5161