Have you ever attempted to know the local breeds of chicken we have in Nigeria? Yes, we have our local chicken breeds in Nigeria and this post will provide some brief facts about them.
Before we proceed, I would like to inform you that in animal science, there are three types of breed based on origin. They are:
- Local / Indigenous breeds
- Exotic / Foreign breeds
- Hybrid breeds
They can be simply defined as follows:
- Local or Indigenous breeds are native chickens of a country that are raised and bred in the same country.
- Exotic or foreign breeds are chicken breeds from other countries.
- Hybrid breeds are the offspring or product of crossing/mating local breeds with a foreign breed or mating two different breeds (either local or exotic breeds) together.
Now let’s go back to the Nigerian local chicken breeds.
The local chickens in Nigeria are commonly called the Nigerian Indigenous Chicken (NIC), and they are all classified into two breeds based on location. They are the Fulani Ecotypes and Forest savannah (Yoruba) Ecotypes.
The Fulani Ecotypes, referred to as heavy ecotypes, are found in the following parts of Nigeria: Sahel and Guinea savannah part of Nigeria, the cattle Kraals and Montane regions of the North. Their mature weights are between 0.9kg and 2.5kg.
The Yoruba Ecotypes, referred to as the light ecotypes, are the local chickens from the following parts of Nigeria: Rainforest, Swamp and Derived Savannah zones. They weigh around 0.68kg to 1.5kg.
The difference between these two breeds, Fulani ecotypes and Yoruba ecotype, is that the former has higher body weight than the latter.
- On the basis of feathers, NIC could be classified under Normal feathered breed and Frizzled feathered breed.
- On the basis of body structure, we have: Naked Neck Chickens and Dwarf Chickens
General Characteristics and Facts About Nigerian Indigenous Chickens
- Nigerian Indigenous Chickens are generally hardy, adapt easily to rural environments, can withstand harsh weather conditions and they adjust easily to fluxes in feed availability.
- They are mostly found in rural and semi-urban places, but they are also raised by people living in the cities and towns.
- They are self-reliant. These chickens feed themselves by looking for kitchen wastes, insects, worms, lizards and plant seeds and leaves.
- They are small in size as well as have slow growth rates.
- Their meat and eggs have good, attractive pigmentation, leanness, tastes and suitability for special Nigerian dishes.
- They can hatch their fertile eggs on their own, brood their chicks and are naturally immune to most poultry diseases.
- Age at sexual maturity is between 133-169 days under an extensive system, but will slightly increase if raised in cages.
- They are poor egg producers, as they lay just 40-50 eggs in a year under an extensive management system. It is assumed that the low egg production ability is due to the inadequate supply of balanced feed, diseases and social behavior. Hence, if the chickens are raised under improved conditions (adequate feeds, good shelter, proper medication and vaccination), their laying performance might double.
- The light ecotypes chickens lay more eggs than the heavy (Fulani) ecotypes.
- They have good fertility and hatchability rates.
- Since they perform poorly in terms of meat and egg production, they are not recommended for commercial purpose. However, farmers can still earn a good income from raising and breeding Nigerian Indigenous Chickens if they adopt the intensive or semi-intensive system of poultry production.
Do you like to raise local chickens or you’re already a local chicken farmer? Let’s have your questions or contributions. Don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed it.