Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chickens’ Ecotypes in Host Communities of Njala University, Sierra Leone

Authors : Jesse Patrick Joseph Nyandebo; Victor Patrick Bagla; Saidu Kanu; Abigail Muana; Abdul Rahman Sesay; Magdalene Umoh

Volume/Issue : Volume 7 - 2022, Issue 3 - March

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Phenotypic characterization of indigenous chicken ecotypes on extensive management system in five communities hosting Njala university was done using multivariate analyses of qualitative morphological/phenotypic traits from July to October 2018. Six distinct ecotypes with their respective proportions were identified (frizzle(11.1%), normal feathered(71.2%), naked neck (7.5%), rumples (4.6%), dwarf (2.9%) and straw featheredplumage (2.7%) with significant differences (P<0.05) among the five villages in terms of morphological appearance. Diverse plumage coloration among indigenous chickens with variegated plumage forming the majority 39.5%, while 26.2% were black; 22.9% white, 5.9% brown and 5.5% red with variations attributed to lack of selection for this qualitative trait and uncontrolled mating. With regards comb type, single comb accounted for 88.4 %, while the remaining 4.2%, 3.8%, and 3.6% have, pea, walnut and rose comb types respectively. 93.6% of the birds have normal shank type, while the remaining 6.4% have feathered shank. Three distinct shank colours were identified with black comprising (46.5%), white (41.4%) and yellow (12.2%). The research findings conclude that diverse phenotypic variations exist between ecotypes of indigenous chickens in Sierra Leone for all parameters investigated as a result of no selection for these traits due to uncontrolled and indiscriminate mating that prevails within the extensive system. Gene erosion and dwindling population of important ecotypes was also observed in all the communities. The research however recommends their conservation, through setting up and breeding of nucleus herds of different ecotypes for the purpose of multiplication.

Keywords : Indigenous chicken, morphological/phenotypic traits.


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