ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 66 Number 3
Laying characteristics and reproductive performance of four indigenous helmeted guinea fowl varieties (Numida meleagris galeata Pallas) in Nigeria
A study of the laying characteristics and reproductive performance of four helmeted guinea fowl varieties (Ash, Black, Pearl and White) indigenous to Nigeria were studied over three production years. Ages at commencement of laying were 28 (Pearl), 31 (Ash), 33 (Black) and 42 weeks (White). Though eggs were obtained for about nine months during each breeding season, significantly (P < 0.05) better egg production took place in the rainy months, April-September. There were significant (P < 0.05) effects of both variety and year on egg production, egg weight, fertility and hatchability. Percentage egg fertility averaged 50.0, 51.8, 52.9 and zero over the three breeding years in the Ash, Black, Pearl and White varieties, respectively. The overall mean percentage hatchabilities of fertile eggs were 81.1 (Ash), 89.3 (Black) and 87.1 (Pearl).
Keywords: Indigenous guinea fowls; Sexual maturity; Egg production; Egg weight; Laying mortality; Fertility; Hatchability; Hatchable eggs; Breeding year