A comparison of the growth performance of exotic and indigenous chickens in Lesotho

Author: A.M. Nthimo, F.W.C. Neser, W.O. Odenya and M.D. Fair
Year: 2006
Issue: 5
Volume: 36
Page: 86 - 89

A study was conducted on growth performance of the Lesotho indigenous chicken (LES) compared to two exotic lines, the New Hampshire (NH) and Rhode Island Red (RIR), from 3-days to 70 weeks of age, when moulting occurred. Growth traits that were under study included 3-day weight, 26-week weight, 70-week weight, average daily gain (ADG), average weekly gain (AWG) and mean feed conversion ratio (FCR). Although the mean body weight, ADG and FCR for the LES were significantly poorer than those for the NH and RIR for all traits except for the FCR and hen weight at 70 weeks of age, the LES hens compared fairly well with the exotic lines for the growth parameters considered. No significant differences were observed in hen weight at 70 weeks of age between the lines. The LES, like the NH showed potential for being a good dual-purpose breed under a semi-intensive production system, as they were able to achieve an acceptable body weight at the end of the egg laying period. However, the LES cocks recorded lower body weight gains and body weight at 70 weeks of age, compared to the exotic breeds. This contributed to the significantly lower weight gains observed in the LES line between three days and 26 weeks of age. Intensive selection in males and the implementation of a planned breeding and an adequate husbandry program could result in an improvement of the traits studied in the LES.

Keywords: exotic lines, growth performance, Lesotho indigenous chickens
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