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1.1   Background of the Study

Poultry farming involves, domesticating birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. They are raised primarily for meat production. Chickens raised for eggs are referred to as laying hens while chicken raised for meat are referred to as broilers.

Exotic chickens are raised in specialized caging systems, they are fed with specialized formulated feeds which are rich in essential minerals, their growth are controlled and the meat production are monitored using feed formulation and vaccines. These exotic breeds are never allowed to range freely or scavenge for food. Turkey on the other hand is a large poultry bird that originated from the temperate parts of the world which is now a popular form of poultry in parts of the world. Its meat is a major sources of protein and its feathers are used extensively for decorative purposes (UF Researchers, 2012).

Indigenous birds on the other hand are set free on free range whereby chickens are allowed to move freely during the day and spend the right in the main house. Overnight housing, perching on trees or on roots and overnight housing within the main house are the common patterns of housing prevailing in the indigenous areas. Lack of housing is one of the major constraints of the indigenous poultry production systems. In Akwa Ibom State, a large proportion of indigenous poultry mortality accounted due to nocturnal predators because of lack of proper housing (Dwinger et al., 2003). Some research works also indicated that the mortality of scavenging birds reduced by improving housing. For instance, in Gambia livestock improvement program, which include improved poultry mortality (19%) relative to that observed in Ethiopia (66%) and Tanzania (33%) where no housing improvement were made (Kitalyi, 1998).

Origin of Fowls   

According to Oluyemi et al (1985) confirmed that the genetic difference exist in the domestic fowl partly because the fowl probably originated from different wild ancestors.

Based on the above differences, two theories were proposed namely monophyletic theory and the polyphyletic theory. According to monophyletic theory, the domestic fowl originated from Gallus with one ancestor. But the polyphyletic theory states that domestic fowl has more than one ancestors. To the monophyletic, domestic fowl is known as Gallus while the polyphyletic theory knows domestic fowl to be Gall domesticus. The polyphyletic theories attributes to the origin of the domestic fowl to different wild species.

The species suggested are:

  1. Gallus gallus (Red jungle fowl)
  2. Gallus Lafayette (Ceylon jungle fowl)
  3. Gallus sonnerati (grey jungle fowl)
  4. Gallus varius (java jungle fowl).

Through years of domestication, this fowl has undergone different development in different areas of the world. Many highly developed breeds have evolved. The degree of development in different parts of the world has depended on the advancement of the area.

Importance of Poultry Meat 

  1. Meat product constitute about 90-95% income for the farmers, the by-products from the poultry to industries are extremely important part of the export market of livestock products.
  2. Meat from poultry are used as a medium of exchange for the Nigeria economy.
  3. Poultry meat increases nutritive value in food when the meat are consumed and improves vitamins, mineral and protein content in the diet.
  4. Meat provides gainful employment to citizenry.
  5. Poultry meat help the Nigerian youths in acquiring psychomotive and affective skills of poultry management and preparation of poultry meat.
  6. Poultry meat is rich in the Omega-3 fats. Poultry meat is an important provider of the essential polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAS) especially the Omega(n) 3 fatty acids.
  7. Poultry meat can be enriched with several of the important dietary nutrients: unlike most other meats, chicken meat can also easily be enriched with several other important nutrients by adding Mg of selenium.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The acute shortage of protein in the daily diet in meals are on the high increase thus, resulting in several nutritional problems. These problems includes diseases from meat transferred to consumers, high mortality rate among young adults, deficiency in the right supply of nutrient and many more.

This has formed the basis on the need to upgrade meat quality through the observation of principles in the management of poultry meat. This principles are as follows  timely feeding regime, of poultry birds, sanitization of the meat environment, proper checking of infected birds of poultry for vaccination, harvesting of the mature birds to avoid cannibalism and debeaking the beaks to discourage feather picking, deworming the birds to disinfects birds against invasion of worms these and many more would reduce problems associated with malnutrition of poultry birds to increase and encourage weight gain by indigenous and exotic birds of poultry.

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The broad aim of the study was to assessed the weight gain of the indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry birds and obtained their differences. They includes the following.

  1. Compare the difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on body weight.
  2. Compare the difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on feed consumed.
  3. Compare the difference in weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on source of feeds.

1.4   Research Questions

  1. Is there any difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on body weight?
  2. Is there any difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on feed consumed?
  3. Is there any difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on source of feeds?

1.5   Research Hypothesis

  1. on body weight
  2. There is no significant difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on feed consumed.
  3. There is no significant difference in the weight gain of indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry based on source of feeds.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the weight gain by indigenous and exotic breeds of poultry broiler and to determine the differences that exist between the two specie of broilers. The farmers will benefit because, it would them up on the techniques and skills of raising birds with the recent innovations.

It is also aim at educating students in the secondary schools on the various species of poultry birds and their types of poultry and their weight gain. The research would expose government on the need to establish government owned poultry houses in order to increase the quantities of poultry breeds to the populace who are the end users of poultry products. It would expose poultry dealers on the importance to maintained optimum hygiene during and after the preparation of various species of poultry breed and their weight in order to reduce consuming birds which has loss weight as a result sickness and diseases which may have been transferred from an infected poultry birds.

The research would assists farmers on the need to enlarge their poultry houses in order to create employment to the teeming youths to reduce poverty and crime in our localities.

Consumers of poultry meat would be educated on the various types of poultry breeds (that is the indigenous and the exotic breeds of poultry) and to make decision on the one to go for.

It also help veterinary doctors on the new outbreak of poultry diseases and the new methods of treating them to prevent the spread of such diseases.

1.7   Delimitation of the Study

The study of this research topic is delimited to Akpan Andem market in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and the University poultry farm, University of Uyo, Uyo. The breeds of the poultry meat are of the indigenous and the exotic poultry birds.

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