Cow breeds for milk and meat in Nigeria

There are several most popular cow breeds in Nigeria, which are bred for different purposes. They have different characteristics, which make every breed special and useful in county. Let’s take a closer look at these types of cattle and find out, which peculiarities make them so special and valuable for farmers.

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The most popular cow breeds in Nigeria

In Nigeria, individual farmers and state farms breed numerous types of cows. Some of them are bred and reared for the sake of plenty of meat. Others are known by the quantity and quality of milk they produce. Finally, there are breeds that have the features of both types and give milk and meat in equal proportions.

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The most popular cow breeds in Nigeria are the following:

  • Red Bororo or Mbororo

This is one of the breeds much loved by the Fulani tribe in Nigeria. The main purpose of this cow type is their ability to produce meat. The animals are recognized by their typical reddish coat colors and long horns.

The breed is used to living in the southeast of Nigeria in the conditions of heat and long months of drought. These animals are able to survive about half of a year of heavy rains and then long months without rainfall. Within this time, they eat mature grass, leaves from trees, and shrubs. These cows are also known for their ability to walk long distances in herds.

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  • N’Dama or Boyenca, Malike, Mandingo, and others in different regions of Africa

Originating from Guinea, these cows are seen all around Africa, from the north to the south. The breed is trypanotolerant, which is an important characteristic for African cattle. These cows are highly popular in the regions that are heavily infested by tse-tse fly.

These cows are quite small in size but their carcass to meat ratio makes about 50%. This is why they are among the most popular cow breeds for meat, which is low-fat and has pleasant flavor. These cows also give milk but quite little – about 2 to 3 liters a day through 7 to 8 months. These cows are recognized by their horns of lyre shape, low height, and light sandy colors with quite short and thin hair.

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  • White Fulani or Bunaji

This breed of cows is determined by their wide-set long horns and the light colors of their skin. They originate from West Africa and are native to Nigeria and its neighboring countries. These animals are mainly bred for their meat and milk but sometimes also for drafting abilities. These cows can lactate for about 220 days in a year. This is why they are among the most popular cow breeds for milk.

The value of the breed is in the fact that these cows are more resistant to the sun and heat than some other popular Nigerian breeds. They have long durable legs that allow them cross long distances. They are less vulnerable to dermatophilosis, unlike other Nigerian breeds, and to internal parasites. They die rarely and are, in general, quite durable to the climate and harsh living conditions.

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  • Muturu

There are two main sub-breeds within a bigger one. Some of these cows live in savannah and thus are somewhat taller than the forest ones but even with this, the Muturu breed is the shortest cow breed ever known. Muturu males are 95cm high and females are about 88cm. Forest cows are normally black and savannah ones develop black and white coloring.

These cows are mainly bred for meat and for farm work. They are rarely milked because the amount is quite small even during the highest milking season. At the same time, this breed is able to give a pretty good amount of meat. They propagate quickly and are trypanotolerant. These features make them a valuable breed for Nigeria and other regions in Africa.

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  • Sokoto Gudali

This cow breed is one of the most numerous withing the territory of Nigeria. It comes with coats of various colors, though black and white are the most common ones. These animals are quite tall and massive, and they are one of those dual-purpose cow breeds in Nigeria, which are able to give both meat and milk.

At the same time, these cows are not very likely to propagate intensively. They are rather prone to giving birth to one calf and staying infertile after birth for a long time. They often miscarry calves or deliver dead ones.

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However, these cows are used on farms actively, because their slow nature make them perfect for drafting jobs like ploughing and carting. This work simultaneously develops their muscles, increasing the quantity of their meat and reducing the amount of fat in it.

This is probably quite the basics of characteristics of cow breeds in Nigeria, their popularity and purpose of breeding.