Variation and distribution of qualitative characters, and assessment of body linear measurement among Muturu breed of cattle in Ebonyi State
Qualitative characters or traits are under the control of one or two loci and they usually show distinct pattern of inheritance while linear body measurements have been proposed as indirect selection criteria for genetic improvement of meat production in cattle. The study was conducted in two local government areas (Ezza North and Ezza South) which are known to raise the highest number of Muturu cattle in Ebonyi State. A survey on the distribution and the variation of qualitative characters and assessment of the body linear measurements of Muturu cattle was carried out on a random population of Muturu cattle. A total of 150 Muturu cattle were studied with 75 cattle observed in each local government. Five (5) qualitative characters with their variation and distribution were observed. Black coat colour (58.7%), Short horn (64%) were predominant, while the long horn and the no horn were 32% and 4% of the total population, respectively. The cows and the bulls were 74% and 26% of the population surveyed, respectively. Both the smooth coat type and the rough coat type were 50% each of the total population. Sixteen metric traits comprising Body length (BL), Hip length ( IP), Hearth girth (HG), Horn length (HL), Ear Length (EL), Tail length (TL), Thoracic length (THL), Height at withers (HAW), Head Length (HDL), Head Width (HDW), Fore leg Length (FOL), Hind limb Length (HIL), Shoulder Length (SHL), Whole Body Length (WBL), Neck Length (NEL) and Neck Width (NEW) were measured from individual cattle. Data collected were subjected to Statistical analysis using SPSS version 17. The study showed that the qualitative traits have not been influenced by any conscious selection effort exercised on it by the indigenes of the area. All parameters recorded high coefficients of variation. The coefficients of correlation were positive and highly significant (P<0.01) in most of the traits measured. It can be concluded that all the traits could be selected for at the same time in the improvement of the Muturu breed.
Keywords: Linear body measurement, Muturu, selection, qualitative characters, variation