Effect of serial hatching and season on egg production and hatchability of non-descript indigenous Xhosa chicken ecotype

Author: S. Ngambu, J.M. Rust & G. Nkohla
Year: 2018
Issue: 1
Volume: 11
Page: 41 - 45

The objective of the current study was to determine the effect of serial hatching on egg production parameters and hatchability of the non-descript indigenous Xhosa chicken ecotype. Additionally, the effect of season on egg production parameters over 4 seasons was also recorded. The seasonal evaluation included the period of serial hatching to which the experimental hens were subjected. Eighteen hens from non-descript indigenous chicken ecotype were used in the trial and kept on the farm of a developing farmer involved in indigenous chicken production. The hens were randomly allocated to an experimental (n=9) and control (n=9) group and mated. After mating, the hens in both groups were allowed to lay eggs which were collected on a daily basis. Once they became broody, the hens in the control group were allowed to brood, hatch and raise their chicks while the hens in the experimental group were subjected to a period of serial hatching. Day-old chicks were removed during twilight and replaced by 10 more eggs for each hen for three consecutive serial hatching periods. The following parameters were recorded in both groups for the period before serial hatching – days from mating to lay (ML); days from mating to brooding (MB); days from lay to brooding (LB); days of egg production (DP) and days of no production (DNP). The same parameters were recorded after the period of serial hatching and in addition, the hatchability of eggs from both groups was compared after serial hatching. As far as seasonal variation was concerned, days of production (DP); days of no production (DNP) and brooding days (BR) were considered. There were no significant differences between the experimental and control groups in the measured production parameters in the period before and after serial hatching, except for egg fertility (hatchability), which was significantly higher (p<0.05) in the experimental group after serial hatching. However, there were significant differences (p<0.05) within and between groups when production parameters were compared over seasons. The results indicate that serial hatching has no negative effect on indigenous chicken production. However, seasonal differences in egg production occurred in indigenous Xhosa chickens.

Keywords: fertility, season
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