Assessment of hatchling egg losses and two chick sexing methods in the Nigerian indigenous chicken
Sex identification at day old and separate management of male and female birds is important milestones in the development of commercial strains of chicken. The aim of the present study is to evaluate hatchling egg loss as well as sex determination methods at day old and sexual dimorphism over 8 weeks in Nigerian local Chicken. A total of 360 eggs of Nigerian Indigenous Chicken (NIC) was used to investigate hatchling egg losses, Sex determination at day old and weekly linear measurements were taken on 100 randomly selected Nigerian local chicks.The NIC had high fertility (86.67%) and hatchability of 69.17%. The egg total weight loss and chicks’ weights were5.02 and 26.25g, respectively. The percentage hatching loss was 29.04%. The Japanese vent sexing of the chicks had higher (73.58%) percentage accuracy than feather sexing (62.26%). There were no significant differences between males and females in weekly body weight from 2-6 weeks of age. However, male chicks were significantly (p<0.05) higher in higher body weight (358.64g vs 283.21g),Body Length(28.28cm vs 26.09cm),Body Girth (17.57cm vs 16.16cm) and Wing Length (14.76 vs 13.61) at week 7. Generally, male chicks were significantly higher (p<0.05) in body length, body girth and wing length than female chicks from 1 to 8 weeks of age. It was concluded that male chicks could be separated from the female chicks using body weight at week 7 and above, but quicker results may be achieved by using morphometric traits like body length, body girth and wing length.
Key words: Body weight, Feather sexing, Hatchling losses, Nigerian Indigenous Chicken, Vent sexing,