On Farm Performance Evaluation of Three Local Chicken Ecotypes in Western Zone of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Shishay Markos, Berhanu Belay, Tadelle Dessie


The study aimed to assess performances of three local chicken ecotypes under free scavenging production system in western Tigray. Multi stage sampling procedure was applied for the study, hence three rural weredas, nine kebeles and 385 respondents were selected by purposive, stratified purposive and purposive random sampling techniques, respectively.  Pretested questionnaire was employed to generate data. Household characteristics were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Kruskal Wall’s of SPSS 16 was employed to test qualitative variable proportion difference across agroecologies. Performance traits were analyzed by GLM Procedures of SAS 9.2. Tukey test was used to compare means for significant traits. Significant differences were observed among chicken ecotypes in almost all studied performance traits. Lowland chicken ecotypes earlier to mature sexually, slaughter and onset egg laying in comparison to the other two ecotypes but yielded lower hatchability and egg yield.  The overall mean age of sexual maturity of local chicken was 7.19±0.04 and 5.71±0.03 month for female and male respectively. Average age at first egg laying was 7.19±0.04 months. Egg yield / clutch / hen showed an increase trend from 1st to 3rd clutch in which optimal egg yield was attained and then started to decrease from 4th Clutch. Average egg laid/clutch and year/hen was 12.01±0.12 and 52.68±0.57 respectively. The average hatchability of local chickens was 74.37±0.57%. Performance differences among the local chicken ecotypes indicate genetic diversity exists among the three chicken ecotypes. Future sustainable improvement, utilization and conservation of the indigenous chicken genetic resources are dependent on the genetic variations present within and among the local chicken ecotypes. Thus, agro-ecologically friendly and community based holistic genetic improvement strategies should be designed and implemented to improve their performances and to enhance sustainable utilization and conservation of the indigenous chicken genetic resources. In depth studies on assessment of genetic variations of the chicken ecotypes are required to validate the detected performance discrepancies.

Key words: Hatchability, Performance, Age at first egg laying, Sexual Maturity

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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