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On-farm Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chicken and their Production System in Bench Maji Zone, South Western Ethiopia

G Bekele
K Kebede
N Ameha


Knowledge and understanding of the chicken production system, unique characteristics, opportunities and constraints are important in the design and implementation of indigenous chicken based development programs. The indigenous chickens have been neglected in the conservation and development programs. Therefore, this study was conducted from September 2013 to May 2014 in nine selected pleasent associations of North bench, Sheko and South bench Woreda’s located in Bench Maji Zone of South western of Ethiopia with the objective to describe indigenous chicken husbandry practices and characterize phenotypic ally the indigenous chicken types. The study involved both questionnaire survey and a participatory group discussion. A total of 180 indigenous chicken owning farmers and 660 chickens (180 male and 480 females) aged more than 6 month were considered under field condition. The hatchability and survival rate of chicks were 77.47% and 66.46%. Significant (p<0.05) differences were found among the districts in traits. The red, Gebsima and white plumage color were dominated in the study area. The local chickens possessed yellow shanks, white skin, single combs and white and red earlobe. The mean body weight of indigenous male and female chickens was 1.42±0.02 kg and 1.18±0.01 kg, respectively. The effective population size ranged from 4.79 (North bench) to 3.81 (Sheko) and 3.79 (South bench) which resulted in 0.104, 0.131, 0.132, rate of increase in inbreeding in the study district respectively. Generally, morphological and phenotypically variations were observed among the indigenous chicken populations, which suggest that there is an opportunity for genetic improvement through selection.