On-Farm Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chicken, in Dire and Yabello Districts, Borena Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

Document Type : Research Article


1 Bonga University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bonga, Ethiopia

2 Haramaya University School of Animal and Range Science, Haramaya, Ethiopia


This study was conducted in two districts of Borena zone (Ethiopia), with the objectives to characterize phenotypically the indigenous chicken types in the study sites. The study involved both qualitative and quantitative types of research. A total of 480 chickens (144 male and 336 female) aged more than 6 months for the quantitative study were considered in this study. Descriptive statistics, frequency procedures, general linear model, univariate and multivariate analysis were used with SAS 9.1.3 to analyze the data. SPSS package was used to analyze qualitative data. Qualitative traits such as plumage color, comb type, shank color, eye, earlobe color, and skin color were used for the study. Quantitative traits included: body weight and linear morphometric measurements such as shank length, body length, wattle length, wingspan, chest circumference, comb width, and comb length. The result of this study revealed that white, red, and brown plumage color was dominated in the study area. The local chickens possessed variants in shank color, skin color, comb type, and eye color. White shanks, white skin, single combs, and red earlobe color were predominately seen across both the study districts. The mean body weights of indigenous male and female chickens were 1.623± 0.229 kg and 1.313 ± 0.81 kg, respectively. Large comb, wattle, and long legs were observed in the study areas. Generally, morphological and morphometric variations were observed between and within the indigenous chicken populations, which suggests that there is an opportunity for genetic improvement through selection.


Agide Y. 2013. On-Farm Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chicken and chicken Production Practices in North Shewa Zone, Amhara, Ethiopia (Doctoral dissertation, Harmaya University).
Alabi OJ, Ng'ambi JW, Norris D, Egena. 2012. SS. Comparative study of three indigenous chicken breeds of South Africa: body weight and linear body measurements. Agric J 7: 220-225.
Al-Atiyat RM, Aljumaah RS, Abudabos AM, Alotybi MN, Harron RM, Algawaan AS, Aljooan HS. 2017. Differentiation of free-ranging chicken using discriminant analysis of phenotypic traits. Rev Brasde Zootec 46:791-799.
Apuno AA, Mbap ST, Ibrahim T. 2011. Characterization of local chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) in shelleng and song local government areas of Adamawa State, Nigeria. Agr Biol J N Am 2:6-14.
Bell DD, Weaver WD, North MO. 2002. editors. Commercial chicken meat and egg production. Springer Science and Business Media
Besbes BO, Thieme O, Rota A, Guèye EF, Alders RG. 2012. Technology and programmes for sustainable improvement of village poultry production. Alternative systems for poultry: Health, welfare and productivity 110-27.
Bhuiyan AK, Bhuiyan MS, Deb GK. 2004. Indigenous chicken genetic resources in Bangladesh: Current status and future outlook. Anim Genet Resour Inf 36:73-84.
Bogale K. 2008. In situ characterization of local chicken eco-type for functional traits and production system in Fogera district, Amhara regional state. Submitted to the Department of Animal Science, Haromiya University (MSc thesis).
Buttigieg PL, Ramette A. 2014. A guide to statistical analysis in microbial ecology: a community-focused, living review of multivariate data analyses. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 90:543-50.
Cabarles JC, Lambio AL, Vega SA, Capitan SS, Mendioro MS. 2012. Distinct morphological features of traditional chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus L.) in Western Visayas, Philippines. Anim Genet Resour 51:73-87.
Crawford RD. 1990. Origin and history of poultry species. Poultry Breed Genet 1-41.
CSA (Central Statistical Agency). 2016/17. Report on Livestock and Livestock Characteristics (Private Peasant Holdings): Agricultural Sample Survey volume II, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
CSA (Central Statistics Agency) (2015) Agricultural Sample Survey 2014/15. Volume II Report on Livestock and Livestock Characteristics (Private Peasant Holdings), Central Statistical Agency (CSA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 188 p
Dana N, Van der Waaij LH, Dessie T, van Arendonk JA. 2010. Production objectives and trait preferences of village poultry producers of Ethiopia: implications for designing breeding schemes utilizing indigenous chicken genetic resources. Trop Anim Health Prod 42:1519-1529.
Dana N, Vander Waaij EH, Van Arendonk JA. 2011. Genetic and phenotypic parameter estimates for bodyweights and egg production in Horro chicken of Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 43:21-8.
Dessie T, Taye T, Dana N, Ayalew W, Hanotte O. . 2011. Current state of knowledge on phenotypic characteristics of indigenous chickens in the tropics. Worlds Poult Sci J 67:507-516.
Dueppen SA. 2011. Early evidence for chickens at Iron Age Kirikongo (c. AD 100-1450), Burkina Faso. Antiquity 85:142-157.
Duguma R. 2006. Phenotypic characterization of some indigenous chicken ecotypes of Ethiopia. Development 18.
Egahi JO, Dim NI, Momoh OM, Gwaza DS. 2010. Variations in qualitative traits in the Nigerian local chicken. Int J Poult Sci 9:978-979.
Eiki N. Determination of phenotypic characteristics, production systems, productivity, and contribution of local chickens to households in North-Central Namibia (Doctoral dissertation).
EMA (Ethiopia Mapping Agency). 1987. Topographic Map of Ethiopia:1:50,000. EMA, Addis Ababa.
Eriksson J, Larson G, Gunnarsson U, Bed'Hom B, Tixier-Boichard M, Strömstedt L, Jensen P. 2008. Identification of the yellow skin gene reveals a hybrid origin of the domestic chicken. PLoS Genet. 4(2):e1000010.
Eskinder A.  2013. On-farmPhenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chicken and Chicken Production Systems in Horro and Jarso Districts, Oromia Regional State. Msc Thesis, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 2012. Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources. FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines No.11. Rome. Available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/022/am651e.pdf.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).2014. Draft guidelines on phenotypic characterization. Intergovernmental technical working group on animal genetic resources for food and agriculture and commission on genetic resources for food and agriculture Rome. 24-26 November 2010. 87pp.
Faruque S, Siddiquee NU, Afroz MA, Islam MS. 2010. Phenotypic characterization of Native Chicken reared under intensive management system. J Bangladesh Agril Univ 8:79-82.
Fayera B. 2016. Phenotypic Characterization of Local Chicken and Their Production System in Gobu Sayo, Bako Tibe and Danno Districts of Western Oromia, Ethiopia. Msc. Thesis, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Ethiopia
Fotsa JC. 2016. Genetic diversity of Indigenous Chickens in Cameroon. Anim Health Prod 60:63-70.
Gueye EF. 2009. The role of networks in information dissemination to family poultry farmers. Worlds Poult Sci J 65:115-24.
Hassaballah K, Zeuh V, Lawal RA, Hanotte O, Sembene M. 2015. Diversity and origin of indigenous village chickens (Gallus gallus) from Chad, Central Africa. Adv Biosci Biotechnol 6:592-600.
Lauvergne JJ, Zafindrajaona PS, Bourzat D, Zeuh V Ngo T AC. 1993. Indices de primarité de chèvres au Nord Cameroun et au Tchad. Revue Elev Méd Vét Pays Trop 46: 651-665.
Marty Sapp ED, Obiakor FE, Gregas AJ, Scholze S. 2007. Mahalanobis distance: A multivariate measure of effect in hypnosis research. Sleep and Hypnosis. 9:67-70.
Merga FE. 2016. Phenotypic characterization of local chicken ecotypes in the central zone of Tigray in northern Ethiopia (M. ScThesis, Jimma University).
Melesse A, Negesse T. 2011. Phenotypic and morphological characterization ofindigenous chicken population in Southern region of Ethiopia. Anim Genet Resour 49:19-31.
Mengesha MA. 2012. Chicken production scenarios and the headway options for improvement in Ethiopia. Worlds Poult Sci J 68:299-305.
Mogesse HH. 2007. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of indigenous chicken populations in northwest Ethiopia (Doctoral dissertation, University of the Free State).
Molla M. 2010. Characterization of village chicken production and Marketing system in gomma woreda, jimma zone. Jimma University, Ethiopia. 110 pp (Doctoral dissertation, M. Sc. thesis).
Moreki JC, Dikeme R, Poroga B. 2010. The role of village poultry in food security and HIV/AIDS mitigation in Chobe District of Botswana. Livest Res Rural Dev 22:1-7.
Nigussie H, Kebede K Ameha N. 2015. Phenotypic and morphological characterization of Indigenous chicken populations in southern zone of Tigray, Ethiopia. J Biol Agric Health 5
Ogah DM, Momoh MO, Dim NI. 2011. Application of canonical discriminant analysis for assessment of genetic variation in Muscovy duck ecotypes in Nigeria. Egypt Poult Sci 31:429-436.
Reta D. 2009. Understanding the role of indigenous chickens during the long walk to food security in Ethiopia. Livest Res Rural Dev 21:116.
SAS Institute Inc. (2002-2003). SAS/STAT user’s guide (Version 9.1). Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
SPSS. 2011. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20 for windows, release 20.
Tadelle D. 2003. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of chicken ecotypes in Ethiopia. Unpublished Ph. D Thesis, Humboldt University, Germany.
Woldekiros HS, D'Andrea AC. 2017. Early evidence for domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) in the Horn of Africa. Int J Osteoarchaeol 27:329-341.
Yakubu A. 2010. Indigenous chicken flocks of Nasarawa State, Nigeria: their characteristics, husbandry and productivity. Trop Subtrop Agroecosyst 12:69-76.