Comparative Evaluation of Carcass Traits of Male and Female Kuchi Indigenous Chicken Ecotype of Kenya
Indigenous chicken (IC) is becoming popular for both egg and meat traits. However, little interventions have been made towards developing pure genotypes from Indigenous Chicken(IC) ecotypes for these functional traits. Kuchi is one of the IC whose attributes have made it a candidate for genetic selection towards a meat breed. A study was carried to evaluate and compare carcass traits for both male and female Kuchi at 30 weeks of age. Randomly selected 18-day old Kuchi Chicken were intensively raised with a commercial mash (chick and grower) from Bunda™ Feeds up to week 17. From 18 to 30 weeks, the experimental birds were managed under a Semi-Intensive system, with a formulated Metabolizable Energy (ME) supplement of ME 2560 Kcal/kg. At week 30, a total of 6 Kuchi chicken (3 Males and 3 Females) were randomly selected, slaughtered for carcass yield and correlations of 14 phenotypic traits, namely: Live body weight (Lwt), de-feathered (Bwt), Feathers (Ft) Legs (Lg) Neck (Nk), Blood (Bl), Breast (Br), Head (Hd), Backbone (Bb), Thigh (Th), Shank Length (Sl), Gizzard (Gz), Heart (Ht), and Liver (Lv). Initial pre-slaughter mean weights for the Cocks (male) and Hens (female) were recorded before and after 18 hours of feed deprivation. Mean weights were evaluated and analyzed using Stat Graphics 16.0 software tool. Results revealed that Kuchi males were significantly (p<0.05) heavier in Lwt 2243±210.3g; Bwt 2144±199.6g; Br 595.7±86.3g, and Th 14.67±0.53g, compared to Kuchi female Lwt 1683±214.2g, Bwt 1600±192.8g, Br 441.3±49.1g, and Th 11.33±1.53g respectively. Moreover, both male and female Kuchi did not differ (p>0.05) in all other carcass traits. This suggests that genetic molecular markers for Br and Th may be utilized for selection and breeding towards meat traits and Kuchi males be taken as candidates for IC genotype for a meat breed in Kenya
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