Management systems and location effects on growth and carcass traits of kuroiler and local chickens
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This study was conducted to assess the influence of management systems and location on performance of Kuroiler and Local chickens. Initially, a survey using a standard questionnaire was done to characterize local chicken production systems in Northern Uganda. On farm trials were then conducted in two locations (Gulu and Kiryandongo districts) to determine the growth performance of these birds under intensive and extensive management systems. At the end of the growth trials, Kuroiler and Local cockerels were sacrificed to determine their meat characteristics. Chickens age at sexual maturity in both districts was six months, they had three laying cycles per year with an average clutch size of 13 eggs. Farmers in both districts kept local ecotypes and did not practice cross breeding for flock genetic improvement. Farmers in both districts carry out selection for breeding purposes. Most of the farmers provide night shelters for their chickens but some farmers in Gulu prefer to let them perch in trees overnight. The highest mortality rates were reported among chicks. Newcastle disease was reported by farmers to be the major cause of death in chickens in both districts. On farm trials showed that breed, management systems, location and sex, had significant effect on live weight and the growth rate of chickens. Kuroiler chickens grew faster and were heavier than the local chickens. Intensive management increased the growth rate of chickens better than the extensive system. Chickens reared in Gulu district had higher growth rate than those in Kiryandongo. Kuroiler chickens consumed more feed (P<0.05) than the local chickens under the intensive management system, but had better FCR. Kuroiler cocks also had a high carcass yield (P<0.05), however, local cocks had higher wing and neck yield. Kuroiler cocks’ muscles and breast, drumsticks and thighs were significantly heavier than those of the local chickens. Differences in meat chemical and physical properties were only observed with regard to body pH, with cocks from extensive management having a lower body pH. Whereas growth of chickens was influenced by the breed, management system, location and the sex of the birds, Kuroiler chicken did not differ much from local chicken in the physical and chemical properties, meaning that Kuroiler chicken will easily gain acceptance by consumers. This study recommends improving chicken management practices by farmers through strengthening extension systems and pathways. Kuroiler chickens and where possible, the intensive system of management should be promoted. Future studies should focus on evaluating performance of crosses of the two breeds.