In Benin, family poultry farming has become an important activity in economic and social aspects that contribute to food security, poverty reduction and well-being. However, current information about poultry production and consumption is still limited. This information would be useful to improve the sustainable exploitation of agricultural and commercial genetic resources. We aimed to identify and assess the socio-economic and phenotypic features as well as to investigate phenotypic variability and growth performance of guinea fowls raised under different environments. Growth performance and survival rates of local guinea fowl varieties were recorded in three zones of Benin: Collines, Atacora and Borgou. Seven varieties, Gray, Common, Bonaparte, White, Black, Isabelle and Multicolored, were identified in Benin. The farmers choose a variety to be raised based on breeding system, agro-ecological zone, disease resistance, market price and production purpose. Bonaparte, Common and Gray varieties emerged as the most resistant whereas White, Black and Gray outperformed in growth and may be used for breeding purposes. The semi-confinement system could be recommended for startup as a temporary solution to improve production of local guinea fowls in Benin. The existence of several varieties on farms does not encourage genetic conservation and improvement of these resources. Establishing selection or crossbreeding programs in controlled environments would be more appropriate for guinea fowls raised in Benin.
Key words: Survey, agro-ecological zones, confinement systems.
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