Abstract: The aim of this study was to undertake a comparative evaluation of the body weight and linear body measurements of three indigenous chicken breeds of South Africa, namely: Naked neck, Venda and Potchefstroom koekoek. A total of 222 records obtained from the three intensively reared breeds were used in the study. Data were collected at the experimental farm of the University of Limpopo, South Africa. Treatment means were separated using t-test and analysis of variance with the level of significance set at 5%. Body weight was correlated with the linear body measurements. The parameters evaluated were: Body Weight: BW, Body Length: BL, Body Girth: BG, Wing Length: WL, Shank Thickness: ST and Shank Length: SL. The measurements were taken at maturity (22 weeks of age). Results showed that males of the three breeds were statistically (p<0.05) heavier had longer body, better body girth, wing length, shank thickness and shank length than the females. Comparison of the three breeds also revealed that Potchefstroom koekoek chicken was significantly (p<0.05) better than the Naked neck and Venda chickens for the traits evaluated with the exception of shank length where no significant (p>0.05) differences were observed between the three breeds. No differences (p>0.05) were observed between the Naked neck and Venda chickens for body weight, body girth and shank thickness. BW was best correlated with SL (Naked neck; r = 0.92), ST (Venda; r = 0.80) and ST (Potchefstroom koekoek; r = 0.80). BW was best predicted using SL (Naked neck; -0.5129+0.0825SL), ST (Venda; -0.1381+ 0.4515ST) and ST (Potchefstroom koekoek; -0.2004+0.4621ST). It was concluded that breed differences do exist between the three indigenous South African chicken breeds studied and these differences are in favour of the males and the Potchefstroom koekoek chickens.
O.J. Alabi, J.W. Ng`ambi, D. Norris and S.S.A. Egena, 2012. Comparative Study of Three Indigenous Chicken Breeds of South Africa: Body Weight and Linear Body Measurements. Agricultural Journal, 7: 220-225.