Evaluation of economic traits in progenies of Nigerian heavy ecotype chicken as genetic material for development of rural poultry production
Genetic evaluation of egg production and biometrical traits of the first filial generation of the Nigerian heavy ecotype chicken was carried out. Heritability and genetic correlations between the traits were estimated using the mixed model least squares and maximum likelihood computer programme of Harvey. Results show an average hen day production of 58.91% on the first month and 52.69% on the fourth month of lay. Age at first egg (AFE), weight of first egg (WFE), mean egg weight (EW), egg number (EN) and egg mass (EM) were 162.33 ± 1.22 days; 34.29 ± 0.67; 41.47 ± 0.57 g; 71.50 ± 3.77 eggs and 11790 ± 4.50 g, respectively. Heritability for EN, EW and EM were 0.16 ± 0.13, 0.31 ± 0.30 and 0.28 ± 0.24, respectively and thigh length, back-width and neck length range between 0.13 to 0.52, 0.23 to 0.40 and 0.10 to 0.52 between 4 to 20 weeks, respectively. Genetic correlations estimates between all the traits studied were positive, high and highly significant (P < 0.001). The egg production traits and biometric traits of heavy ecotype of Nigerian local chicken may respond to selection considering the medium heritability and the positive correlations between the traits studied.
Key words: Genetic evaluation, egg production traits, heavy ecotype, local chicken.