Diversity of biometric and morphological traits among sheep breeds in Nigeria
Keywords:Sheep breeds, multivariate analysis, biometric traits, morphological traits
Towards assessment of variations within and between sheep; biometric and morphological data of the four breeds of sheep found in Nigeria were collected using multi-stage samplin method. A total of 46 Balami, 30 Uda, 36 Yankasa and 37 WAD were sampled. Stepwise multiple regression procedure was used to find the best linear combination of metric variables that best predict the body weight. Principal component analysis of biometric and morphological traits was carried out. Simple discriminant analysis procedure was used to classify the breeds. Cluster analysis was done using the model building specification
interface. Head length (HL), chest girth (CG), leg length (LL), and tail length were the only linear body measurements that were significant (P<0.01) in predicting body weight of sheep in the overall prediction equation. Body weight and all the linear body measurements had their highest loadings on principal component 1 (PC1). Tassel was the only variable that had its highest loading on PC2. Tail type and state (location) were the variables that best
describes the third component (PC3). Sex and hair type were variables that best described the forth component (PC4). Discriminant analysis showed that 70.59% of sheep sampled as Balami were classified as pure breed. Sheep sampled as WAD and Yankasa had 100% conformation while Balami and Uda had 70.59% and 60%, respectively in conformation to the classifying features of their breed based on discriminant analysis. The farthest genetic distance (5.48) was observed between Balami and WAD while the shortest genetic distance (1.26) was observed between Balami and Uda. Improvement of growth traits of sheep breedsin Nigeria is recommended through the use of either Balami or Uda as sire and either WAD or Yankasa as dam.