Performance of progeny of wild and domesticated Guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) in Southern Botswana

Author: S.J. Nsoso, G.M. Seabo, J. Kgosiemang, S.G. Molatlhegi, M. Mokobela, R.G. Chabo, O.M. Mine
Year: 2003
Issue: 1
Volume: 4
Page: 46 - 51

Guinea fowls are adaptable to harsh climatic conditions of Botswana and survive well with limited feed resources for most part of the year. Very little research has been done on guinea fowls in Botswana. The objectives of this study were to document the body and carcass weight, parasites, diseases and behaviour of progeny of wild and domesticated guinea fowls raised under confinement as they grow. Eggs were collected and artificial hatched during the wet season (October-January). Keets (n=8 and 12 for batches one and two respectively) were raised under deep litter system and fed appropriate commercial chicken feeds ad libitum at each stage of growth and development. Water was provided ad libitum. Batch one was weighed weekly for 23 weeks, while batch two was weighed weekly for 32 weeks. The guinea fowls from batch two were slaughtered at 16, 24 and 32 weeks of age. The dressed carcass was divided into different portions, which were weighed individually. Data were analysed using procedures General Linear Model and ANOVA for live weight and carcass data respectively in Statistical Analysis System. The live weight of the guinea fowls increased with age from 0.029± 0.04 kg at one week of age to 1.55 ± 0.05 kg at 24 weeks of age after, which it became almost constant. The carcass, breast, intestines and back weights were significantly (P<0.05) higher in guinea fowls killed at 24 weeks of age (1.30 ± 0.15, 0.36 ± 0.03, 0.05 ± 0.01 and 0.18 ± 0.00 kg) than those killed at both 16 weeks (1.03 ± 0.10, 0.28 ± 0.08, 0.03 ± 0.00 and 0.12 ± 0.01 kg) and at 32 weeks of age (1.09 ± 0.12, 0.35 ± 0.02; 0.03 ± 0.01 and 0.14 ± 0.02 kg), which were similar. Guinea fowls reached market weight of about 1.5 kg at 20 weeks of age. Therefore, they should be slaughtered between 16 and 24 weeks of age to reduce costs of production. Neither pathogens in the blood samples nor parasites were observed in these birds. Birds were flighty when caught for sampling throughout the study period. A lot of feed was wasted when birds scooped with their beak during feeding. More research on genetic improvement and nutrition to reduce age at slaughter is recommended.


Keywords: behaviour, body and carcass weight, Botswana, parasites
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