Indigenous Tswana chickens are traditionally kept under free range production system and their growth performance under an intensive management system have not been evaluated. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the growth performance of the naked neck, dwarf and normal-feathered strains of indigenous Tswana chickens under an intensive management system. A total of 74, 43 and 44 Tswana chickens of the normal, dwarf and naked neck strains, respectively, were wing-tagged and evaluated for growth performance (body weight, body length and shank length) from 4 to 20 weeks of age. The chickens were raised under deep litter management system and were fed commercial broiler feeds ad libitum. Sex had a significant (P < 0.05) influence on body weights, shank length and body length of only the normal and naked neck strains. Males of all the strains were generally heavier and had longer bodies and shanks than their age-matched female counterparts. Generally, naked neck males and females were the heaviest and had the longest bodies and shanks, while dwarf males and females were the lightest and had the shortest bodies and shanks. The naked strain had superior growth performance compared to the normal-feathered and dwarf strains.
Key words: Growth, Tswana chickens, intensive management.
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