Genetic improvement in indigenous chicken of Ethiopia.
This thesis considered various approaches to study the potential for improvement of village poultry production system using improved indigenous chicken. The approaches were structured survey questionnaire, village poultry simulation model (VIPOSIM), Heckman two-step model (econometric model), and experiments involving laboratory and field. First factors that determine the probability and intensity of adoption of exotic chickens were assessed. The probability of adopting exotic chickens was found to be positively affected by access to an off-farm income and negatively by livestock income. The intensity of adoption was negatively affected by being male household head, having a larger farm size, and having livestock income. Then, perceptions of farmers towards village poultry and impacts of interventions on flock and economic performance were assessed. Farmers' perceptions affected their decisions about implementation of interventions, and interventions increased productivity but only in a few cases the increased revenues outweighed the additional costs. Subsequently, the evaluation of the breeds was conducted by comparing the natural antibody and productivity of improved indigenous chicken with crossbred, commercial and unimproved indigenous chickens. The results revealed that not only the NAb levels but also the effect of NAbs on survival differ between indigenous and improved breeds. NAb levels are associated with survival in commercial layer breed, but reduced survival in indigenous chickens placed in confinement. Improved indigenous chickens showed higher performance than unimproved one for all traits measured on-station, but remains lighter and developed more into a laying type than meat through the short-term selective breeding program. Overall, the present studies indicate that interventions need to be tailored towards the local situation to ensure that they lead not only to improved productivity but also to improved income.