Abdulmojeed Yakubu


The aim of this study was to assess the flock characteristics, husbandry and productivity of indigenous chickens of Nasarawa State, Nigeria using questionnaire-based survey and on-site investigation. Responses were provided by 117 households cutting across the three agricultural zones of the state. Study agricultural zones did not differ (p>0.05) in the total number of birds owned per household. The mean (±SD) household flock size was 13.9 (9.04) with a cock to hen ratio of 1:3.4. The low gene frequencies of naked neck (0.03) and frizzled (0.02) chickens in the population indicated that these dominant gene carriers are at the brink of extinction. Purchase from market was the main source of foundation stock (78.6%). Approximately 56% of the respondents provided partial enclosure for their birds. About 36% of the households claimed to offer partial feed supplements, such as maize, sorghum, millet, brans, sesame (beniseeds), and this was done in both wet and dry seasons. Women and children were the predominant providers of care for chickens. None of the households controlled the breeding of their flocks. Approximately 74% of respondents named Newcastle disease as the major health issue, and this could have been compounded by their lack of access to veterinary personnel. However, 33% of households claimed to use local herbs for the treatment of their birds. Rats were identified as the commonest predators attacking village chickens. Apart from number of eggs per clutch, cock and hen`s mortality/year that varied significantly (p<0.05) among the three agricultural zones, other variables were similar. Average number of clutches per bird per year was 4.87 (0.92) while the mean number of eggs per clutch was 11.9 (3.27), of which 8.78 (2.71) were hatched. Mean numbers of chick, grower, cock and hen`s mortality per clutch per year were 2.11 (2.26), 1.30 (1.52), 0.30 (0.55) and 1.33 (1.11) respectively. About 62% of the indigenous birds were sold at the adult stage and the priority purpose of keeping chickens was mainly for home consumption (58.1%). The identified constraints of village chicken production were poor health care, poor housing, poor feeding and incidence of predation and theft. Therefore, efforts should be geared towards the improvement in management practices.


Composition; management; native fowls; performance; guinea savanna


Copyright (c)