This study was conducted to phenotypically characterize local cattle populations in Hadiya zone, southern Ethiopia. The zone was categorized into three category based on agro ecology, cattle population size and the distinctness of the cattle types. Three districts (Shashogo, Misha and Soro) were purposively selected from each category. Six focus group discussions with key informants as well as phenotypic data from adult animals were used to generate data on quantitative and qualitative traits from 360 animals. Results from analysis of variance (ANOVA) on continuous variables showed highly significant (p<0.0001) differences between district and sex except for hock circumference. Canonical discriminant (CANDISC) analysis showed quantitative traits and Mahalanobis’ distances between districts were significant (p<0.0001). The stepwise discriminant (STEPDISC) analysis for both female and male populations showed that most quantitative variables had significant (p<0.0001) power in explaining phenotypic variation. The results from focus group discussions and multivariate discriminant analysis led to identification of two cattle populations that appear to be distinct types (highland and lowland). Thus, studied indigenous cattle population of Hadiya zone was found to be not homogenous on their phenotypic features, and genetic characterization of the population is recommended.
Keywords: Hadiya zone, local cattle populations, phenotypic characterization, Southern Ethiopia
AnGR: Animal Genetic Resource; CANDISC: Canonical Discriminant Analysis; DAD-IS: Domestic Animals Diversity Information System; DAGRIS: Domestic Animal Genetic Resource Information System; DISCRIM: Discriminant, FAO: Food and Agricultural Organization; GDP: Gross Domestic Product; GLM: General Linear Model; ILCA: International Livestock Centre for Africa; ILRI: International Livestock Research Institute; masl: Meters above sea level; MoA: Minister of Agriculture; SAS: Statistical Analysis System; SPSS; Statistical package for Social Sciences