Egg production and quality assessment of Nigerian indigenous chicken genotypes and their crosses with Marshall
Keywords:Genotypes, Nigerian indigenous chicken, crossbreds and egg quality
This study focused on investigating the reproductive performance of Nigerian indigenous chickens and their crosses with Marshall. The genotypes were normal-feathered (Nn), frizzle-feathered (Ff) and naked neck (Na) chickens, while the crossbreds with Marshall (M) breed were MNn, MFf and MNa respectively (Marshall being the sire while the indigenous are dams). Data were taken on; weekly egg production, weight at first egg and age at first egg. Genotype significantly (P<0.05) influenced egg production traits. Egg weight ranged from 23.71±1.06g to 26.13±0.94g for indigenous purebreds and 39.75±0.75g to 48.06±0.57g for crossbreds. Age at first egg were 165.63±0.61 days (Nn), 170.60±0.75 days (Na) and 173.57±0.52 days (Ff), 188.71±1.67 days (MNn), 187.50±3.16 days (MNa) and 185.25±5.44 days (MFf). Also, genotype significantly (P<0.05) influenced egg quality traits. Heritability for first egg production traits were 0.37 (Nm), 0.16 (Na) and 0.66 (Fz) while heritability estimates for egg quality trait (haugh unit) were 0.14, 0.07 and 0.08 for Nm, Na and Fz birds, respectively The crossbreds performed better than the indigenous purebreds in egg production traits. The Nigerian indigenous chicken can therefore be improved upon for better egg production traits using the Marshall breed.