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Characterization of local chicken populations (Gallus gallus) in Cameroon

Jean Claude Fotsa 
Abstract : Indigenous chickens from the Western Highlands and Humid Forest zones of Cameroon were subjected to zootechnical, phenotypical and molecular characterization in an attempt to better understand their genetic diversity and potential, and also to develop appropriate improvement and conservation strategies. Results showed that in the rural area, local chickens represent about 69.4% of kept species and are catered mostly by women in 57% of cases. Reasons attributed to chicken production centered on their better adaptation (56%), better product qualities (27%), and cultural values (15%). In the Forest zone, birds from South and East Provinces had comparable live weights for cocks (1,400g) and hens (1,160g), but which were lesser that those obtained by birds from the Center Province (1,665g and 1,259g, respectively). Average annual egg production per hen stood at 54 eggs (South), 51 (Center) and 49 (East), while hatchability rate was above 80%. Phenotypic diversity showed low frequencies (1 to 10%) for those mutations like feathered shank, crested head, naked neck, bear and muffles, frizzle, and dwarf; while these frequencies were much higher for extended black plumage (E locus) and sylver (S locus). Under control environment on-station, normal label cocks (FR) were 48.75%, 49.55%, and 41.98% heavier at 16 weeks of age than those from Center, South, and North-West (NO/OU), respectively. Food conversion ratios between 12 and 16 weeks of age were 3.16 for FR and varied from 3.92 to 4.16 for local ecotypes. FR hens (1,550g) and dwarf FR (1,260g) were heavier than the heaviest Cameroon local hens from NO/OU (889g). Food conversion ratios stood at 4.62 for both FR and dwarf FR, while they were 4.94 (Center), 4.31 (NO/OU), and 4.35 (South). At 16 weeks of age, carcass fat content was little for all genetic groups. Palatability test on cooked portions showed no difference among treatment groups for parameters of tenderness, juiciness and flavour. Mortality on-station was higher for chicks, but below 8% for birds aged 18 to 52 weeks. Adult hens from FR (2,604g) were heavier than their sisters of dwarf FR (2,083g), while those hens from NO/OU (1,481g), Center (1,362g), and South (1,404g) were generally the lightest. Egg mass between 32 and 36 weeks of birds' age showed advantageous results for dwarf FR (875g) and South ecotype (803g), compared with other ecotypes. Those values obtained from NO/OU (687g) and FR (671g) birds were comparable, while those of birds from Center (722g) were intermediary. All the tested genotypes showed low food intake residual values of -4.7g (South), 17.32g (Center), -50.25g (FR), 11.12g (Dwarf FR), compared to their requirements for maintenance and production. Using 22 microsattelite markers on four (4) local populations and three (3) commercial strains revealed a total of 156 alleles for an average of 7.09 alleles per locus. The number of alleles was greater in the local populations. Further, with these local ecotypes the expected (He) and observed (Ho) heterozygosity varied from 0.617 to 0.634 and from 0.628 to 0.664, respectively. Birds from NO/OU were more homogenous than those from Center and South, which in turn were genetically closer to the commercial lines. A genetic improvement programme using a foundation stock of local chicken ecotypes is proposed, coupled with a short-term crossbreeding protocol involving commercial Label chicken lines.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 20, 2009 - 8:00:00 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 20, 2009 - 8:00:00 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 10, 2010 - 1:11:16 PM


  • HAL Id : pastel-00004904, version 1



Jean Claude Fotsa. Characterization of local chicken populations (Gallus gallus) in Cameroon. Life Sciences [q-bio]. AgroParisTech, 2008. English. ⟨NNT : 2008AGPT0094⟩. ⟨pastel-00004904⟩



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