African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6754

Article in Press

Comparative growth performance of exotic layer chickens under intensive management conditions in Southwest Ethiopia

Mebratu Yigzaw, Solomon Demeke, Wasihun Hassen

  •  Received: 08 August 2019
  •  Accepted: 03 December 2020
In Ethiopia, the expansion of commercial poultry production is limited by inadequate supply of high performing breeds of chicken. This situation warrants the identification, introduction and evaluation of improved breeds of chicken that could adapt and perform under the current Ethiopian situation. One hundred fifty of each of Dominant Sussex, Lohmann Brown and Novo Brown breed of day-old chicks obtained from Debre Zeit Research Station were placed at Jucavm brooder house on standard commercial starter’s ration in completely randomized design with three replicates (50 chick per replication). At the end of the brooding period (8 weeks), each group was transferred to grower’s house and switched to standard growers. Finally, all the data collected on performance of the experimental breeds of chickens were subjected to statistical analysis. The results obtained showed that the mean hatching weight of Novo Brown and Dominant Sussex were comparable and significantly higher than that of Lohmann Brown (P<0.05). All the three breeds of chicken tested performed well in mean hatching weight, when rated against other exotic breeds introduced to Ethiopia in the past. The mean daily body weight gain recorded from Nova Brown and Dominant Sussex breeds of chicks during brooding period were comparable and significantly higher (P<0.05) than the mean daily body weight gain recorded from Lohmann Brown. Mean live weight of 573g/h was attained by Nova Brown and Dominant Sussex chicks at an age of two months, the value of which was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of Lohmann Brown. Moreover, Novo Brown growers had significantly higher mean weekly body weight gain than the other two breeds (P < 0.05), followed by Dominant Sussex. All the three breeds tested, performed better during the brooding period than during the rearing period in terms of feed conversion ratio. Nova Brown breed of chicks consumed less feed and brought significantly higher mean daily body weight gain both during brooding and rearing periods (P<0.05) compared to the others, indicating that Nova Brown was superior to the other two breeds in feed conversion efficiency. Mortality from hatching to 2 months of age (8%) was higher for Dominant Sussex, compared to 1.3% of mortality recorded from each of the other two breeds. Death rate encountered during the rearing period followed similar tendency as that of brooding period. Percent mortality from 9 to 20 weeks of age (21%) was higher for Dominant Sussex than for the other two breeds (3-4%). Postmortem examination of dead birds failed to identify any particular disease condition, indicating that the relatively higher mortality recorded from Dominant Sussex could be attributed to susceptibility to stress and environmental factors. In summary, the results of this experiment indicated that the three breed of chicken have performed well (except the adaptive potential of Dominant Sussex chickens) under Jimma condition in most of the economically important production traits studied. However, comparative evaluation of the reproductive performance of the three breeds seems to be the future direction of research under objective condition of Jimma.

Keywords: Growth performance; Breed; Exotic; Dominant Sussex D104; Lohmann Brown; Novo Brown layers