Effect of Some Non-genetic Factors on Growth Rate of Tropical Cattle in Nigeria
Data on 1,962 bulls purchased on cattle routes, and fed on pasture for slaughter were analysed for effects of period of start of feeding, initial weight and age at the start of grazing. Results showed that period of start of grazing had a significant effect, with bulls coming in late in the rainy and early in the dry seasons showing superior growth rate over the first three months and six months, compared with those brought in at other times. Effects of age and weight at time of start of feeding were also highly significant. Least squares means for growth rate over the first three months and the first six months were 130g and 220g respectively. It is suggested that improved pasture management, and supplementary feeding particularly in the dry and early rainy seasons are essential for improvement of growth performance.