The study was undertaken to establish the village chicken (VC) production systems and to generate information on VC utilization, management practices, opportunities and challenges, using a survey. Only 20% of VC owners were females. The VC are raised mainly (80%) as dual purpose, eggs and meat. The average flock size is 457 layer hens, with 7:1 hens to cocks. Chickens houses were semi-closed cages (47%) partly shaded (20%), and shades with open range (32%). The hired labor was the sole person taking care of chickens and making the mating decisions in 85 and 68% of the properties, respectively. Selection is practiced by 37.5, 3, and 5% of large, medium and small flocks’ owners, respectively. Cocks and hens replacements are from the same flock (97%). At least 61% of culling for hens and cocks is practiced for old age, 44% for low productivity and 5% for diseases. Thirteen VC breeds and crossbreds were found; the most available of which is the Emirati local breed which is found in 71% of the farms. Body weight was significantly (P<0.001) affected by the interaction between breed and region. Daily egg productivity was 32.4%, with average hatchability of 75.9%. The VC was reared mainly as a hobby and for home consumption, since most of the Emirati people prefer the taste of VC and to ensure that both their meat and eggs sources are additives free. The VC has poor productivity under the existed conditions.
Key words: Village chickens, production system, management practices, flock size.
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