Journal of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine

Volume 3. Page 1-5
Published 11th January, 2018
ISSN: 2536-7099

Full Length Research

Relationship between morphological traits, body indices and body condition score as welfare indicators of Nigerian sheep

Olaniyi T. A.1*, Popoola M. A.1, Olaniyi O. A.2, Faniyi T. O.3 and Iniobong U.1

1Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation Ibadan, Nigeria.
2Center for Degree Programmes (CEDEP) Federal College of Education Abeokuta, In Affiliation with University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
3Department of Animal science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Received 19th December, 2017; Accepted 4th January, 2018

*Correspondence: Dr. Olaniyi T. A., Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation Ibadan, Nigeria. Email: olaniyitaiwo573@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2018 Olaniyi et al. This article remains permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ABSTRACT

The relationship between morphological traits and body condition score (BCS) of indigenous sheep breeds was assessed. A total number of 400 indigenous sheep were sampled. Twelve body measurements were taken from these sheep; these measurements were then used to estimate body indices of these animals. Data were subjected to General Linear Model and correlation using SAS. Results revealed that there were significant effects (p>0.05) of sex on some morphological traits and body indices of the sheep. There were negative and significant (p<0.01) correlation between body condition score and height index, over increased index, index of chest compression, cephalic index and dactyl thorax index. There were positive and significant (p<0.01) correlation between body condition score and length index, weight, thoracic development and conformation index. It was concluded that there was low correlation between BCS, morphological traits and body indices of sheep except in conformation index. This implies that increase in conformation index will result in increase in BCS and vice-versa.

Key words: Body condition score, body indices, correlation, morphological trait, welfare indicator.

INTRODUCTION

Indigenous sheep and goat contribute over 98% of the total small ruminant population in Africa (FAOSTAT, 2011). In Nigeria, sheep are meat producing animals adapted to all ecological zones of the country. They play agricultural, economic, socio-cultural, and religious roles (Popoola and Oseni, 2017). They are highly adaptable and versatile domestic species, which have made them a critically important resource in human societies around the world (Meadows et al., 2005). Morphological measurements have been traditionally used for characterization of native sheep breeds by many researchers. The relationship between body conformation and function has been widely observed for different animal species and breeds (Latorre et al., 2011). Though morphological description of farm animals is largely influenced by environmental factors, this influence is reduced with good sampling techniques and use of adequate sample size. Morphological traits and body condition score (BCS) has been widely adopted for managing the nutrition of flocks especially when grazing, and for selecting lambs for purchase and slaughter (Main et al., 2003). The inclusion of BSC of animals as welfare monitoring system is of great importance in livestock production as it could facilitate the market values of such livestock species. Hence, this study sought to assess the relationship between morphological traits, body indices and BSC as welfare indicators of Nigerian sheep.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Location of the experiment

The study was conducted in three major small ruminant markets in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. These markets are Oranyan market, Bodija market and Akinyele market. Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State, with a population of over 3 million people. Ibadan is the largest metropolitan geographical area in Nigeria with Latitude and Longitude coordination of 7° 23' 47" N 3° 55' 0.001" E, respectively. It is tropical savanna climate with average relative humidity of 52% and monthly mean temperatures above 180C (640F). There are several cattle ranches, a dairy farm as well as a commercial abattoir in Ibadan; these, coupled with other reasons such as favourable climatic condition, economy of the city (being the third cheapest city to live in Nigeria), largest metropolitan, have made Ibadan to be a strategic location where appreciable number of livestock such as cattle, sheep and goat can be found.

Experimental animals

Experimental animals were Nigerian indigenous sheep. Four hundred sheep were sampled for this study.

Data collection

Data were collected from animals of average age of two to three years which was determined by the use of the animal’s dentition. Data were collected on body measurements (morphometrical traits) with the use of meter rule and tape rule. The measurements taken were wither height, rump height, body length, sternum height, body depth, bicoastal diameter, ear length, rump width, head width, rump length, head length, heart girth, cannon bone circumference and muzzle diameter. The measurements were taken according to the procedures reported by Edilberto et al. (2011). From these measurements taken, body indices were estimated according to Alderson (1999), López et al. (1992), Salako (2006), Concepta et al. (2008) and Edilberto et al. (2011).

Data were also collected on the BCS which was used to determine the health status of the animal which ranged from scale 1 to 5 as described by Mehmet and Şeniz (2013).

Data analysis

Data were analyzed using the PROC GLM, PROC. MEANS and PROC CORR procedures of SAS (SAS, 2002).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Descriptive statistics of morphology of the sheep

Result of summary statistics of morphology of Nigerian sheep is presented in Table 1. Result showed a relatively high variability (coefficient of variation) obtained from the variables considered. The highest coefficient of variation was obtained for bicostal diameter (77.00%) and the lowest was obtained for cannon bone circumference (12.00%). The coefficient of variation ranged between 12.00% and 77.00%. The smaller the coefficient of variation, the better the accuracy of the test and the smaller is the error of the results (Acourene et al., 2001). However, high coefficient of variation had also been reported in previous morphometric studies (Pares and Jordana, 2008). The results of this study agreed with the report of earlier studies on sheep (Popoola and Oseni, 2017), horses (McManus et al., 2005) and goats (Herrera et al., 1996).


Table 1


Descriptive statistics of body indices of the sheep

The result of descriptive statistics of body indices of Nigerian sheep is presented in Table 2. The result shows that a relative high variability (coefficient of variation) was obtained from the variables estimated for body indices. The highest coefficient of variation was obtained in transverse pelvic (93.77%) and the lowest was recorded in body ratio (0.58%). The mean values ranged from (0.84) recorded in pectoral Index to (119.40) recorded in conformation Index. High coefficient of variation has been reported in previous morphometric studies (Pares and Jordana, 2008). The result obtained is similar to the report of Janssens and Vamdepitte (2004) in sheep, McManus et al. (2005) in horses, and Herrera et al. (1996) in goats.


Table 2


Correlation between body condition score and morphological traits of the sheep

Correlation between morphological traits of Nigerian sheep is present in Table 3. Result showed that all the traits were positively and significantly (p<0.01) correlated. This is an indication that increase in a trait will lead to corresponding increase in the other traits. However, correlation between body condition score of these animals and their morphological traits was low and positive. This implies that increase in morphological traits will lead to corresponding increase in body condition score of these sheep. In a similar study conducted on Tswana goats, Nsoso et al. (2003) reported no apparent relationship between body weight, heart girth and body condition of the goats.


Table 3


Correlation between body condition score and body indices of the sheep

Correlation between body condition score and body indices of Nigerian sheep is presented in Table 4. The result shows that there was positive and significant (p<0.01) correlation between the body indices while some indices revealed negative and significant (p<0.01) correlation. Correlation between body condition score and body indices of the sheep was significantly (p<0.01) negative except correlations between length index and body condition score; index of compaction and body condition score; body index and body condition score; weight and body condition score; body ratio and body condition score; thoracic development and body condition score; conformation index and body condition score; relative body length and body condition score. This implies that an increase in any of these indices will cause corresponding increase in the body condition score of these sheep. However, there was no correlation between transverse pelvic and body condition score.


Table 4

CONCLUSION

It is concluded that there was low correlation between BCS, morphology and body indices of sheep except in conformation index. This implies that increase in conformation index will result in an increase in BCS and vice-versa.

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