COMPARATIVE GROWTH PERFORMANCE OF TWO NIGERIAN CHICKEN ECOTYPES

D GAMBO, O M MOMOH, D S GWAZA, J I ALOKOSON, B ISMAIL

Abstract


Study on growth performance of the Tiv and the Fulani chickens of Nigeria was undertaken to investigate genetic diversity between the two populations. The study was carried out at the Livestock Teaching and Research Farm of the Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University Keffi. A total of 110 birds comprising of 10 hens and 1 cock from each of five randomly selected locations for the Tiv and the Fulani chicken ecotypes were purchased and used as the base population. A mating ratio of 1:10 was applied to generate the experimental birds. After hatching, 538 (354 Tiv and 184 Fulani) chicks were generated. The birds were raised according to their ecotype in five replicate each.  Data were collected on body weight, body weight gain, growth rate, feed conversion ratio and mortality rate. The data were subjected to appropriate statistical analysis using the SPSS statistical package. The results indicate that the mean body weight and feed intake of the two ecotypes increased with age until maturity.The coefficient of variation for parameters measured displayed moderate to high variabilities in each ecotype. Growth rate considered at weekly interval was highest at 11-12 and 16-20 weeks for the Fulani and Tiv ecotypes, respectively. The Fulani ecotype had lower feed conversion ratio (FCR) compared to the Tiv ecotype. Significant (P<0.05) chick mortality rate was observed more in the Tiv ecotype compared to the Fulani ecotype at week 5-9 but thereafter mortality rate decreased with age in both ecotypes. From the findings of this study, it was concluded that the Tiv and the Fulani chicken ecotypes are distinct genetic groups with sufficient genetic variabilities between them to justify the use of selection tool to bring about genetic improvement in both ecotypes. Heterotic advantage can be exploited through cross breeding between the two groups. Given the promising potentials of the Fulani ecotypes, it is recommended as ecotype of choice for development as meat-type chicken.


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