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This study was designed to evaluate Hamatological Parameters. Birds were managed intensively for two months before blood samples were collected for analysis. Body weights and 2ml of capillary blood samples were collected from the right side of the neck of each bird into a syringe and collected in a test-tube containing EDTA (Ethylene Diaminetetra Acetic Acid) as an anticoagulant. These blood samples were taken to Animal Science laboratory where haematological parameters of the 3 varieties of local chickens were evaluated within 2 days. Haematological parameters evaluated were Packed Cell Volume, Haemoglobin Concentration, Platelets Counts and White Blood Counts.  Significant means were separated using Duncan Multiple Range Test. Comparisim of cockerels of the 3 varieties revealed that frizzled feather cockerels performed best in platelets courts (33.20 x109ml), haemoglobin concentration (9.9g/dl), Packed Cell Volume (29.40%) and ranked second in White Blood Counts (4.29 x109mm) and Body Weight (1.12kg). Naked neck cockerels had the best mean body weight (1.15kg) White Blood counts (4.71x109ml), ranked second in platelets (22.90 x 109l) and Packed Cell Volume (25.30%). Normal feathered cockerels performed worst in all the haematological parameters and mean body weight with the values of Packed Cell Volume (28.30%), White Blood Counts (32.20x109ml), haemoglobin concentration (7.74g/dl), Platelets Counts (20.60 x109l) and Body Weight (0.91kg). There were significant differences (P<0.05) in haematological parameters and body weight among the 3 varieties of local chicken cockerels. Comparism of pullets of the 3 varieties revealed that frizzled feather pullets had the best platelets (30.80x109l) and White Blood Counts (3.64x109ml) and ranked third mean body weight (0.98kg), haemoglobin concentration (8.05g/dl) and Packed Cell Volume (25.80%). Naked neck pullets performed best in mean body weight (2.43kg) and Packed Cell Volume (29.80%), ranked second in haemoglogbin concentration (8.91g/dl) and third in platelets (29.00x109l) and White Blood Counts (3.51x109ml). Normal feathered pullets had the best performance in haemoglobin concentration (9.24g/dl), ranked second in body weight (1.01kg), white Blood Counts (3.54 x 109ml) and Packed Cell Volume (28.30%).   There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in mean body weights and haematological indices of pullets in the 3 varieties of local chickens. Results showed that best results in haematological parameters were obtained from the cockerels of naked neck and frizzled feather varieties. Generally, naked neck and frizzled feather varieties performed better than the normal feathered variety. It is recommended that the naked neck and frizzled feather cockerels be characterized, conserved and crossed with normal feathered pullets to enhance their haematological values.          



Indigenous chickens are widely distributed in the rural areas of tropical and subtropical countries where they are kept by the majority of the rural poor. Chickens dominate about 98% of the total poultry members (ducks, turkey, and guinea fowl) kept in Africa (Gueye, 2005).  Out of 150 million chickens in Nigeria, 120 million are indigenous and 30 million are exotic (RIM, 1992). Several investigators (Adene, 1990, Dafwang, 1990, Eshiet, and Okere 1990 and Nwosu, 1990) have reported that each rural household has an average of 11-34 chickens, 0-8 ducks, and 0-5 turkeys. Guinea fowls may also be found in many rural households in Nigeria.

RIM, 1992 revealed that the frequency distribution of the normal feathered chicken variety is about 91.81% while those of frizzled and naked neck varieties are about 5.2% and 30% respectively. Nigerian indigenous chickens have unique features that distinguish them from the exotic breeds; these unique features are characterized along genetic lines of feather and plumage colour such as the normal and frizzled feather, body structure such as the naked neck. Their products are preferred by the majority of Nigerians because of the pigmentation, taste, leanness and suitability for special dishes. Their outputs (egg and meat) are the major sources of proteins in diets and also serve as sources of income for the rural, urban and semi urban dwellers (Horst, 1989)

Haematological studies of these varieties of indigenous chickens are necessary for their proper management and genetic improvement. According to Minereole, 1996 and Onyeyili et, al., 1991, haematological studies help evaluate blood characteristics with a view to detecting various blood diseases and the effects of the non-blood diseases on the blood. In addition, haematological indices are necessary in evaluation of the animal’s responses to treatment therapy (Woerpel and Rosskopf, 1984). It provides valuable information on the immune status of animals (Krat and Suchy, 2002, Adenokola and Durotype, 2004). Such information apart from being useful for diagnostic and management purposes could be incorporated into breeding programmes for genetic improvements and proper management.

Haematological values and corresponding body weights are widely used as indices of health in large animals’ practices but are not jet used widely in poultry medicine. To indicate an objective assessment of health and diseases in any animal species, it is important to have baseline data of these clinically important indices. Values published from other continents may not be directly applicable to Africa since differences have been shown in haematological values in birds even within Africa (Cooper et, al., 1996)

1.1     OBJECTIVES   

Evaluation of haematological parameters in three varieties (Normal Feather, Naked Neck and Frizzled Feather) of the indigenous chicken in the humid tropical environment.

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