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:
- Gallus gallus (Red jungle fowl)
- Gallus Lafayette (Ceylon jungle fowl)
- Gallus sonnerati (grey jungle fowl)
- 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
- 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.
- Meat from poultry are used as a medium of exchange for the Nigeria economy.
- Poultry meat increases nutritive value in food when the meat are consumed and improves vitamins, mineral and protein content in the diet.
- Meat provides gainful employment to citizenry.
- Poultry meat help the Nigerian youths in acquiring psychomotive and affective skills of poultry management and preparation of poultry meat.
- 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.
- 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.