15 Difference Between Indigenous And Exotic Breeds Of Cattle

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Indigenous Breeds of Cattle

Indigenous cattle are medium-sized breeds that are mostly kept in communal areas. These animals are well adapted to harsh local environment, which is characterized by high temperatures, prolonged dry periods, pests and diseases. They also exhibit exceptionally good fertility under any condition.

Indigenous cattle are excellent foragers and will graze and browse on steep slopes and thick bush. They fatten well on natural grazing as well as in the feedlot. Moreover, they require minimal management, but are still remain productive. Generally, they are optimally suited to meet smallholders’ needs for milk, meat, wool, draught-power and cash income from sales.

Examples Of Indigenous Cattle

  • Afrikaner
  • Nguni cattle
  • Sanga cattle
  • White Fulani cattle
  • Zebu
  • Red Sindhi
  • Alambadi
  • Gir
  • Sahiwal

Characteristics Of Indigenous Breeds Of Cattle

  • Cows and bulls have hump
  • Body length or size is medium or small.
  • Have rounded prominent forehead.
  • Have pendulous dewlap which is well developed.
  • Have pointed ears.
  • Their skin is thin, soft, bright and hairy.
  • They have well developed horns.
  • Their udder is small to medium in size and therefore, less prone to injury while grazing.
  • Have long calving interval.
  • Sound produced by indigenous cows is clear, loud and melodious.  
  • Indigenous cows have strong immunity and therefore not highly susceptible to diseases. Diseases such are seen in low profile.   
  • Generally, they do not transmit diseases.
  • They sweat a lot a factor that helps to remove toxins from their body.
  • They can walk for long distance in search of pasture and water.
  • They are tolerant to high temperature and other changes in the environmental condition.

Exotic Breeds Of Cattle

Centuries of selective breeding accelerated by use of modern breeding tools, has helped in evolution of some of the most outstanding breeds of cattle in the western countries, generally referred to as exotic breeds. These breeds maintain a very high standard in regard to breeding efficiency and milk production.

Examples Of Exotic Breeds Of Cattle

  • Holstein-Friesian
  • Jersey
  • Brown Swiss
  • Ayrshire
  • Guernsey

Characteristics Of Exotic Breeds Of Cattle

  • Their back is straight without hump.
  • The size and length of the body is quite large.
  • Have almost flat forehead.
  • Dewlap is less developed so cannot tolerate heat stress.
  • Have rounded ears and thick hair growth around them.
  • Their skin is thick and tends to be furrier.
  • They are hornless or with small horns.
  • Their udder is well developed and is susceptible to injury while grazing.
  • Have short calving interval.
  • Sound produced by exotic cows is hoarse, sharp and somewhat suppressed.
  • Exotic cows have a weak immunity. Frequency of illnesses is more in these cows. They are highly susceptible to diseases such as Rinderpest, Haemorrhagic septicemia (HS), Foot and mouth disease.
  • They transmit a number of diseases such mycoplasma, babesiosis, clamydiosis, thelariosis etc.
  • They do not sweat a lot as compared to indigenous cows.
  • They cannot walk for long distance in search of pasture and water.
  • They are less tolerant to high temperature and other changes in the environmental condition.

Difference Between Indigenous And Exotic Breeds Of Cattle In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON INDIGENOUS CATTLE (COWS) EXOTIC CATTLE (COWS)
Hump Cows and bulls have hump   Their back is straight without hump.  
Body Size Body length or size is medium or small.   The size and length of the body is quite large.  
Forehead Have rounded prominent forehead.   Have almost flat forehead.  
Dewlap Have pendulous dewlap which is well developed.   Dewlap is less developed so cannot tolerate heat stress.  
Ears Have pointed ears.   Have rounded ears and thick hair growth around them.  
Skin Their skin is thin, soft, bright and hairy.   Their skin is thick and tends to be furrier.  
Horns They have well developed horns.   They are hornless or with small horns.  
Udder Their udder is small to medium in size and therefore, less prone to injury while grazing.   Their udder is large, well developed and is susceptible to injury while grazing.  
Calving Interval Have long calving interval.   Have short calving interval.  
Sound Sound produced by indigenous cows is clear, loud and melodious.     Sound produced by exotic cows is hoarse, sharp and somewhat suppressed.  
Immunity Indigenous cows have strong immunity. Exotic cows have a weak immunity.
Disease Transmission Generally, they do not transmit diseases.   They transmit a number of diseases.  
Sweating They sweat a lot a factor that helps to remove toxins from their body.   They do not sweat a lot as compared to indigenous cows.  
Walking They can walk for long distance in search of pasture and water.   They cannot walk for long distance in search of pasture and water.  
Tolerance They are tolerant to high temperature and other changes in the environmental condition.   They are less tolerant to high temperature and other changes in the environmental condition.  

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