Phenotypic Characterization and On-Station Evaluation of Indigenous Chicken Ecotypes in Gambella Regional State, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This study was conducted in Gambella Regional State, Ethiopia, to characterize the phenotypic and on-station evaluation of indigenous chicken ecotypes. Four districts were purposively selected from 13 districts of the regional state namely: Abobo (Ab), Gambella Ketema Zuria (GKz), Itang (It), and Lare (La). A total of 384 households (96 households from each district) keeping indigenous chicken strains were randomly sampled for interview. Cross-sectional and retrospective types of studies were conducted to collect data using the questionnaire. On-farm observations, on-station evaluation, and laboratory analysis were also conducted on the relevant data. moreover, phenotypic characterizations of both qualitative and quantitative traits of local chicken populations was conducted on 600 indigenous chickens of both sexes with 150 chickens (50 males and 100 females) from each district on chickens with approximately six months and above were collected following the FAO’s descriptor list for chicken genetic resources. A total of 880 eggs (220 eggs from each district) were collected and incubated using the artificial incubator. A total of 120 eggs (30 eggs from each district) which was collected from households were used to egg quality investigation. A total of 649 indigenous chicken ecotypes of four (4) namely Abobo (181), Gambella Ketema Zuria (169), Itang (151), and Lare (148) were hatched and kept at the on-station for growth, egg production performance, and carcasses evaluation by using complete randomized design arrangement. Thirty-two matured live chickens (4 males and 4 females from each chicken strains) indigenous chicken strains were taken at random for nutritive value investigation. The meat color and pH measurement parameters were obtained using a digital colorimeter. All data collected was subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedures of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) version 9.3. The results were expressed as LSM ± SE. All statements of statistical differences in quantitative data were based on p < 0.05. The survey results indicated that, the overall mean of the flock size per household in the study area was 13.59 and the overall number of hens, cocks, cockerels, pullets, and chicks in the study areas was 4.89 ± 0.06, 1.72 ± 0.05, 1.52 ± 0.01, 2.01 ± 0.02, and 3.44 ± 0.09,respectively. According to the current study, the mean age at first egg was significantly (P<0.05) different among the study districts. The normal feather distribution observed in the chicken populations was dominantly 88.67 %, 94 %, 90 % and 92.67 % in Abobo, Gambella Ketema Zuria, Itang and Lare districts, respectively. The overall mean body weight of adult males and females was 1.38 kg ± 0.02 and 1.16 kg ± 0.04, respectively. The mean values of egg weight and shell thickness were 39.15 g and 0.28mm, respectively. The overall mean value of the egg fertility was 83.64 %. The overall mean value of the day-old body weight was 26.55g ± 0.24g. The final overall mean body weight for on-station of adult males and females chicken strains was 1187g ± 0.25, and 1094g ± 0.24, respectively. The overall mean of the dressing percentage was male (69.06) and female (69.27).The male (49.25 ± 0.28) breast meat had a significantly (P < 0.05) lighter score (L*) than the female (48.65 ± 0.45). The crude protein (CP) contents of breast meat were significantly higher than those of the thigh and drumstick meat part at (p<0.05). It is recommended that a further molecular characterization should be used to back up the present findings and determine genetic variation within and among the chicken strains. Finally, genetic differences should be considered to develop effective utilization and conservation strategies of programs. From the nutritive value of chicken’s meat, since the protein content is very crucial for human diet it is better to eat the meat which was produced from the breast meat part of chickens.



Characterization, district, egg quality, Gambella region, growth performance, indigenous chicken, meat