White Fulani Cattle

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Other common names: Bunaji; Yakanaji; Akou; White Bororo; Fellata; White Kano

The basics:
The White Fulani is classed as part of the West African Zebu cattle breed group. The White Fulani Cattle is an excellent dual-purpose breed and forms just over half the total Nigerian herd.

The origins of the breed are controversial and there are two schools of thought. They are either descended from the original Zebu (Asiatic cattle) introduced to Africa about 3,800 years ago, or they represent a more recent introduction about 1,300 years ago and were introduced to West Africa by Arab invaders. Recent genetic analysis supports the second hypothesis and the genetics of the breed are more Bos indicus (Asian cattle) than Bos taurus (native African cattle). Indeed, all new-born bull calves have the characteristic hump of the Zebu but they have the long horns of the West African longhorn breeds.

The breed itself arose with the Fulani and Hausa (Ah-oo-sa) peoples at the convergence of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon and the Fulani and Hausa remain the main farmers raising this breed. From their homeland, the breed has been adopted into Chad and Western Sudan. As the Fulani peoples are mainly nomadic, the breed has spread across the Sahel region with their perigrinations. In some locations, the White Fulani have been crossed with cattle of the Sanga type, giving them a broader range of appearance.

White Fulani are a true general-purpose breed and are used for milk, meat and as draught animals (though the Fulani traditionally keep them primarily for milk). Their lactation period is typically 222 days and they produce about 4.5 litres per day. They fatten well on traditional pastures buy can also be reared more intensively on feedlots. In Nigeria there are currently programs underway to cross White Fulani with N'Dama cattle to produce a breed with the growth characteristics of the White Fulani, but with the resistance to trypanosomiasis of the N'Dama.

Appearance / health:
The White Fulani is characterized by long legs and a shallow, narrow body. This ganglyness has been assumed to be the result of the breed's selection for long-distance trekking by the Fulani peoples.

White Fulani cattle have a black skin to protect them form the sun. The coats are mainly white and glossy, though the ears, eyes, muzzle, hooves, horn tips and tip of tail. They either have thoracic humps (like Zebo) or if they have more of a Sanga heritage then they have cervico-thoracic humps. The head is long and quite wide across the forehead and the neck is strong, which gives the animal its erect bearing. The horns are slender, typically 80 to 110cm long and are lyre shaped (being curved outwards and upwards). Because they have log legs and narrow bodies they look much taller and skinnier than other cattle breeds. They are typically about 130cm tall at the withers.

White Fulani are cattle of semi-arid regions. Their need for rich pasture and frequent watering is much lower than other cattle breeds. They are not as disease resistant as other breeds such as the N'Dama. But because they are raised in generally drier conditions they do not need to be so resistant to the bites of ticks and insects and the diseases they carry.

Behavior / temperament:
Like all African cattle, the White Fulani have been selectively bred to work closely alongside humans. Indeed, they are breed of nomadic peoples, bred to walk long distances and to yield milk even whilst on the move. This is a very docile breed, used to be herded by all members of the tribe, from young children up.

Housing / diet:
White Fulani cattle have been selectively bred to be very hardy and resistant to heat. Indeed, they can be herded across the dry Sahel region of West Africa. Under normal conditions they are raised outdoors all the time, only being tethered at night so that they can be guarded from predators. In cooler climates they need to be housed indoors for the colder months.

Naturally they will graze on any grass available. Even in arid semi-desert conditions they will put on weight rapidly and produce milk as long as there is forage available. However, they can also be raised in intensive systems with commercial feed.

Written by Dyfed Lloyd Evans


dualpurpose breed, good mothering ability, native milk product, desert verges


little muscle mass, poor body weight, fairly light carcasses


Hausa peoples, traditional breed, white coats, mediumsized breed

White Fulani Cattle Health Tip

White Fulani Cattle

From NIcky Sep 13 2013 4:06AM


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