Phenotypic Classifications of Indigenous Sheep of Nigeria

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Sub-Sahara Africa is an important source of farm animal genetic resources as most of the alleles coding for traits which are implicated for resistance to stress, resistance to diseases, ability to thrive on low quality feed can be found in this region.

Genetic diversity in animal breeds allows for the existence of livestock in all but few environments globally, providing a range of products and functions.

Movements by Fulani pastoralists and trading of livestock between South and Northern Nigeria have encouraged introgression and its currently a threat to animal genetic diversity.

This genetic exchange between different ecological zones in Nigeria has made breed identification a difficult task in animal husbandry as any of the breeds can be mistaken for another.

This study identified traits that best distinguish Nigerian breeds of sheep, including the four major breeds namely Yankasa, Uda, Balami and WAD for proper classification.

The result obtained from this study will not only have impact on management of these animals but also reduce misidentification by livestock traders and help in the conservation of engendered alleles.

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