Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 121–128 | Cite as

Farmers’ breeding practices and traits of economic importance for indigenous chicken in RWANDA

  • J. MahoroEmail author
  • T. K Muasya
  • F. Mbuza
  • J. Mbuthia
  • A. K. Kahi
Regular Articles


Data on breeding practices and traits of economic importance for the indigenous chicken (IC) were collected through personal interviews using structured questionnaires and direct observations of chicken management practices. The study was conducted from November 2015 to January 2016 in Rwamagana, Rulindo, Ruhango, Kicukiro and Muhanga districts of Rwanda. Data were collected and analysed through computation of indices, which represented a weighted average of all rankings of a specific trait. Spearman’s non-parametric rank correlation was calculated for ranking of traits of economic importance to indicate the directional effects. The results on chicken ecotypes and their attributes showed that prolificacy, mature weight, disease tolerance, egg number and heat tolerance were highly preferred. The dwarf ecotype was most abundantly reared (38.84%) and considered to be significantly smaller and to have poorer growth rate, but to have better prolificacy than other indigenous chicken ecotypes. Selection of breeding cock and hen was based on disease tolerance, body weight at sexual maturity, body size and growth rate. In addition, for hen, mothering ability and egg fertility (Fer) were considered. Indices for the traits perceived by farmers as of primary economic importance were egg yield (0.093), disease tolerance (0.091), high growth rate (0.089), prolificacy (0.088), high body weight (0.087) and egg fertility (0.083). The most important traits considered by the marketers were body weight (BW), disease tolerance (Dtol), plumage colour (Pcol), egg yolk colour (EYC), meat quality (MQ), growth rate (GR) and egg yield (EY) whereas for consumers, meat quality, egg yolk colour, egg yield, body weight and growth rate were considered. Among traits perceived as important by farmers, a positive and significant correlation was found between BW and GR and Fer. Correlation was moderate for BW and prolificacy, drought tolerance (Drtol), Dtol and EYC. BW was negatively correlated with temperament (Temp), heat tolerance, Pcol and egg shell colour (ESC). Regarding marketers and consumers’ preference rank correlation, positive and significant correlation was between BW and GR and MQ. As such, appropriate ecotypes (indigenous chicken) which have these characteristics need to be identified and utilised more based on their performance and adaption to the environment conditions to ensure efficient IC production.


Breeding practices Indigenous chicken Trait preferences Rwanda 



The authors are very grateful for the financial support offered by the Kingdom of the Netherlands through the Nuffic project (NICHE RWA/173) of the MSc programme for Janvier Mahoro. We also recognised the immense support of the Government of Rwanda through the College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine (CAVM) of the University of Rwanda and Egerton University for the provision of facilities. We acknowledged the good collaboration showed by farmers, marketers and consumers of ICs in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Breeding and Genomics Group, Department of Animal ScienceEgerton UniversityEgertonKenya
  2. 2.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Production, College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (CAVM)University of RwandaNyagatareRwanda

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