Village chicken flocks typically consist of 5-20 chickens per family. As Sharma notes however, such flocks are often insufficient to meet the nutritional and economic needs of village families. Indigenous chickens have a mortality rate of 40-80 percent. Native hens only produce around 40 eggs per year, while roosters provide limited sources of meat, weighing on average 1.5-2.0 kg.
Sharma and his group explored the performance of indigenous chickens, comparing them with the newly introduced Kuroilers. The new chickens are similar to indigenous chickens in terms of their feather colors for camouflage, agility in escaping predators and resistance to disease. Kuroilers differ however in other important features, including their hatchability, adult weight and number of eggs produced.
For the study, 10 Kuroiler and 10 local chickens were distributed to each of 100 families in 5 districts of Uganda. As a control, 100 Kuroiler and 100 native chickens were also held in confinement at a facility in Entebbe. The Kuroiler eggs were sent from India while the local eggs were held in Entebbe for 6 days before setting. Kuroilers and native chickens were assessed for their survival, weight gain, egg production and acceptance by farmers.
The fertility and hatchability of Kuroiler eggs was significantly better than for native eggs, with 80 percent of Kuroilers successfully hatching compared with 47 percent of native eggs. Further, in four districts in Uganda where farmers received Kuroilers, the chickens showed a survival rate of 84%, comparable to that of indigenous birds. Body weight gain for Kuroilers was significantly higher as was their total body weight in adulthood3kg for male Kuroilers as opposed to 1.5-2.0 for native male chickens.<
|Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer|
Arizona State University