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).
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ASSESSMENT OF WEIGHT GAIN OF INDIGENOUS AND EXOTIC BREED OF BROILERS IN UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE