Ifeanyichukwu Udeh, O.B. Ighobesuo


Background: Improvement of the Nigerian indigenous chickens is desirable because of its socioeconomic important. Objective: To estimate the heritability, genetic and phenotypic correlations among body weight, body length, wing length and shank length of the mating of heavy ecotype cocks with light ecotype hens of Nigerian indigenous chickens. Methodology: The mating design was such that one heavy ecotype cock mated with 10 light ecotype hens in twenty replicate pens. The mating produced 752 chicks from ten batches of hatch. The estimates of variance components were obtained from paternal half sib analysis using the average information restricted maximum likelihood of BLUPF90 family of programs. Results: The heritability of body weight ranged from 0.20 to 0.44 from 6 to 12 weeks of age. Similarly, the heritability of body length, wing length and shank length ranged from 0.39 to 0.63, 0.51 to 0.71 and 0.31 to 0.54 respectively from 6 to 12 weeks of age. The genetic correlations among the early growth traits measured were negative to positive in magnitude and ranged from -0.99 to 0.66 while the phenotypic correlations ranged from -0.15 to 0.91. Implication: The results imply that early growth traits of light and heavy ecotype Nigerian indigenous chicken could be improved through mass selection. Conclusion: It is concluded from this study that the heritability of early growth traits were moderate to high in magnitude and the genetic and phenotypic correlations mostly positive.


Additive genes, ecotype, heritability, paternal halfsib, pleiotropic effects, selective breeding

Full Text:



Becker, W.A., 1992. Manual of quantitative genetics, 5th edition. Pullman: Academic Enterprises.

Desha, N.H., Bhuiyan, M.S.A., Islam, F. and Bhuiyan, A.K.F.H., 2016. Non genetic factors affecting growth performance of indigenous chicken in rural villages. Journal of Tropical Resources Sustainable Science, 4, pp. 122 – 127.

Ebangi, A. L. and Ibe, S. N., 1994. Heritabilities of and genetic correlations between some growth traits in Nigerian local chickens. Nigerian Journal of Animal Production, 21, pp. 19 – 24.

El-Attrouny, M. M., Iraqi, M. M. and Mohamd, ShA-H., 2021. The estimation of genetic parameters for body weight, body dimension and carcass traits in four Egyptian chicken strains. Journal of World’s Poultry Research, 11(2), pp. 230 – 240.

Falconer, D. S. and Mackay, T. F. C., 1996. Introduction to quantitative genetics, 4th edition. Harlow, England: Prentice Hall.

Manyelo, T. G., Selaledi, L., Hassan, Z. M. and Mabelebele, M., 2020. Local chicken breeds of Africa, their description, uses and conservation methods. Animals, 10(12), pp. 2257. Available at:

Misztal, I., Tsuruta, S., Lourenco, D. A. L., Masuda, Y., Aguilar, I., Legarra, A. and Vitezica, Z., 2018. Manual for BLUPF90 family programs. University of Georgia. Available at:

Molenaar, R., Reijrink, I. A. M., Meijerhof, R. and Van Den Brand, H., 2008. Relationship between hatchling length and weight on later productive performance in broilers. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 64 (4), pp. 599 – 603.

Momoh, O. M. and Nwosu, C. C., 2008. Genetic evaluation of growth traits in crosses between two ecotypes of Nigerian local chickens. Livestock research for rural development. Volume 20, Article #158. Retrieved January 2, 2022, from

Mrode, R. A. and Thompson, R., 2005. Linear models for the prediction of animal breeding values. 2nd Edition. Wallinford: CAB Publishing. 40 – 41.

Norry, F., Vilardi, J. C. and Hasson, E., 2000. Negative genetic correlation between traits of Drosophila head and interspecific divergence in head shape. Heredity, 85, pp. 177-183.

Oluyemi, J. A. and Roberts, F. A., 2000. Poultry production in warm wet climates (revised edition). Ibadan: Spectrum books limited.

Pym, R., Guerne-Bleich, E. and Hoffmann, I., 2006. The relative contribution of indigenous chicken breeds to poultry meat and egg production and consumption in the developing countries of Africa and Asia. In proceedings of the 12th European conference, Verona, Italy, 10-14 Sept.

Sadick, A. M., Aryce, G., Poku Jnr, P. A. and Kyere, C. G., 2020. Relationship between body weight and linear body measurements in the Cobb broiler chicken. World Journal Biology, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 4(2), pp. 1-6.

Tongsiri, S., Jeyaruban, M. G., Hermesh, S., van der Werf, J. H. J., Li, L. and Chormai, T., 2017. Genetic parameter of a native poultry breed in Thailand. Proceedings Association Advancement Animal Breeding Genetics, 22, pp. 245 – 248. Available at:

Udeh, I., 2011. Heterosis in monthly hen day rate of production and egg weight of crosses between local and exotic chicken. Wayamba Journal of Animal Science, number 1316199583. Pp. 149-152.

Udeh, I., 2017. Genetic parameters for some growth traits of Nigerian local chicken. Biotechnology in Animal Husbandry, 33(1), pp. 65–71.

Udeh, I. and Omeje, S. I., 2001. Heterosis for bodyweight in native by exotic inbred chicken crosses. Tropical Journal of Animal Science, 4(1), pp. 1-14.

Udeh, I. and Omeje, S. I., 2005. Heterosis for egg production in native by exotic inbred chicken crosses. Nigerian Journal of Animal Production, 32(1), pp. 7-20.

Udeh, I. and Omeje, S. I., 2011. Heritabilities and genetic correlations between body weight and pecking behaviour in Nigerian local chicken. Research Opinion in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 1(6), pp. 398 – 400. Available at:

Visscher, P. M., Hill, G. H. and Wray, N. R., 2008. Heritability in genomic era – concepts and misconceptions. Nature, Review Genetics, 9, pp. 255 – 266.



Copyright (c) 2023 Ifeanyichukwu Udeh

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.