Frequencies of Some Morphological Features in Indigenous Chickens of South- Western Nigeria
Morphological features of chicken genetic resources must be carefully identified and considered in developing breeding strategies. The study was carried out to determine the frequencies of morphological features in indigenous chickens of South-Western Nigeria, using Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo States as case study. Five major chicken markets (Mushin in Lagos State, Itoku and Ipokia in Ogun State, Olu-ode in Osun State and Molete in Oyo State) were used as study locations and three thousand, three hundred and thirteen chickens were observed in the five locations. Ipokia had the highest number (1,549) of chickens and Molete had the least (307) number of chickens. The traits observed included: feather structure, feather distribution, feather morphology, plumage colour, ear lobe colour, skin colour and shank colour. The data collected were subjected to descriptive statistics and inferential statistical analysis was also done for the results using chi-square test. It was observed that for those traits that recorded significant variation, there had been selection for these traits due to the high market value attached to them by attaching preference to some of its variants which were observed. Knowledge and well documentation of the potentials of indigenous chickens can help provide crucial information for a comprehensive breeding policy and full utilization of the animal.
Keywords: Characterization, conservation, indigenous chickens, morphological features