The performance of Orma Boran and Maasai Zebu crossbreeds in a trypanosomosis endemic area of Nguruman, south western Kenya
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Studies on the trypanotolerance of Orma Boran X Maasai Zebu (Orma Zebu) crossbred cattle (F1 progeny) and pure-bred Maasai Zebu contemporaries were carried out in Nguruman, south western Kenya. The two groups were monitored from birth for a period of 2 years. The incidence of trypanosomosis, parasitaemia, packed cell volume (PCV), body mass and average daily mass gain were monitored. During the study period, overall trypanosomosis incidence was low (3 %). The crossbred cattle had a higher incidence of infection (61 % vs 39 %). The mean PCV and mean mass gain for the crossbred cattle was higher than that of the Maasai Zebu. The mean calf body mass at weaning (8 months) for the Orma Zebu and Maasai Zebu was 72 kg and 64 kg, respectively, while at 18 months of age their mean body mass was 164 kg and 123 kg, respectively. During the rainy season significant differences in average daily mass gains were noted (P < 0.05). The superior mass gain of the Orma Zebu observed during the rainy season, despite higher infection rates, indicate an enhanced trypanotolerance. Moreover, the better performance of the Orma Zebu is an attribute that could be exploited in the adoption of the trypanotolerance genotype, as a sustainable trypanosomosis control strategy.