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Effect of disturbance on laying pattern and hatchability of feral helmet guinea fowl (numida meleagris galleata pallas) egg.
The effect of breeding nest disturbance and hatchability potential of feral helmet guinea-fowl was studied. Ten (10) breeding nests were identified and monitored for number of eggs laid per week for eight weeks within the Kainji Lake Basin. Eggs were collected as a form of disturbance at different percentages i.e 0, 50, 60, 80 and 100. The eggs were later incubated and tested for their hatchability. The bird's egg laying pattern changed drastically in response to egg collection. The trend in nests where 100%, 80% and 60% of their eggs were collected presented sharp decrease in number of egg laid per week immediately after the collection. Incidentally, there was significant difference (P<0.05) in means of egg laid due to treatments in these group. Hatchability potential of the bird's egg was generally low. This was evident in the magnitude of unfertilised eggs (43.45%), undeveloped embryo (5.52%), hatches with deformities (23.52%) and still birth (11.72%). It can be concluded that when breeding nest of guinea-fowl is disturbed persistently, there is the tendency of the hen to abandon the nest thus allowing the egg to die and decay. Hence poor to moderately fair hatchability potential of feral helmet guinea fowl eggs can be said to be as a result of disturbance which made the fowls to abandon their nests even during the breeding season.
Keywords: Feral guinea-fowl, breeding nest, laying pattern, hatchability, Numida meleagris galleata.
The Zoologist Vol. 5 2007: pp. 54-59