On-farm performance testing of tropically adaptable chicken strains under small holder management in three countries of sub-Saharan Africa

On-farm test of chicken strains potentially adaptable to semi-scavenging production systems in Sub-Saharan Africa was undertaken in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria. Twelve (12) chicken strains were tested in 5 zones of each country in 6348 households. Kuroiler and Sasso were common to all countries. Four (4) and three (3) additional strains were tested in Nigeria and Ethiopia, respectively. Kuroiler and Sasso, along with Noiler and Funab Alpha in Nigera and Sasso-RIR and Koe Koek in Ethiopia showed higher growth performance than the other (improved or unimproved) varieties of indigenous chicken. In Ethiopia, the average weight of female birds of Horro strain was 56.3%, 46.2%, 44.6% and 52.4% of the weight of Koekoek, Kuroiler, Sasso and Sasso-RIR, respectively. In Tanzania Kurolier and Sasso were heavier by 345 and 364 per cent over the local unimproved chicken at 18 weeks of Age. In Nigeria the fast and slow growing strains reached 1500g and 1000 g body weight, respectively, at 18 weeks. Egg production of introduced strains were higher performance than the indigenous ones. In Ethiopia the average weekly egg production to 50 weeks of age for Horro, Koekoek, Kuroiler, Sasso, and Sasso-RIR was 4.7, 5.4, 5.8, 5.5 and 5.9 eggs, respectively. In Tanzania slightly higher egg production was observed for Sasso (160-171) than Kuroiler (156 to 158) while over 44 weeks in Nigeria, Shika Brown had higher egg production (37/bird) than Noiler Noiler (11/bird). Final choice of breeds along with designing a system for availability will be undertaken after conducting a farmer trait preference study.