1School of Animal and Range Sciences, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia
2Debrezeit Agricultural Research Center, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
Receive Date: 01 May 2012,
Revise Date: 03 September 2012,
Accept Date: 27 September 2012
This study was conducted at Beresa watershed district of Guraghe Administrative Zone, the southern Regional State of Ethiopia to evaluate the on-farm reproductive and egg production performances of local Kei and its F1 crosses with Fayoumi and Rhode Island Red (RIR) chicken breeds under farmers’ management. The local Kei paternal line was mated with maternal lines of Fayoumi and RIR chickens to produce F1-crosses. Twenty-four households were involved in the study who received 10 chicks from each 3 genotypes (total of 720 chicks). Three hay-box brooders fitted with chick-runs were provided to each household in which the three genotypes were reared. Eggs were collected on a daily basis and body weights were measured at 24, 34 and 52 weeks age. The highest egg fertility was observed in Fayoumi-crosses. The hatchability of total egg set and that of fertile eggs was higher for Fayoumi-crosses and local Kei chickens than for RIR-crosses. The Fayoumi (154 days) and RIR-crosses (161 days) reached age of sexual maturity earlier than local Kei chickens (183 days). The RIR-crosses were heavier (P<0.05) in body weight than Fayoumi-crosses and local Kei. The F1 crosses had significantly (P<0.05) higher rate of egg production on hen-day and hen-housed basis than local Kei chickens. The Fayoumi-crosses produced more (P<0.05) eggs than RIR-crosses. The F1 crosses produced significantly (P<0.05) higher total egg mass than local Kei chickens. Eggs from RIR-crosses were heavier (P<0.05) than Fayoumi-crosses and local Kei chickens. The F1 crosses reached their peak egg production at about 34 weeks of age while local Kei at 38 weeks. The Fayoumi-crosses had significantly higher hen-housed and hen-day egg production rates and survival ability than RIR-crosses. In conclusion, Fayoumi breeds could be a better strategy to upgrade the poor performance of indigenous chicken populations.
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