The objective of this study was to evaluate growth performance of pearl grey, lavender, royal purple and white varieties of helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) raised under intensive management system. A total of 47, 43, 37 and 30 guinea fowls of pearl grey, lavender, royal purple and white varieties, respectively, were evaluated for growth performance. The guinea fowls were raised under deep litter management system and were given commercial broiler feeds and drinking water ad libitum. Growth performance was measured fortnightly as changes in body weight of individuals from 4 weeks to 18 weeks of age. Body weight increased continuously in both males and females of the four varieties of helmeted guinea fowl from 4 to 18 weeks of age. There were no significant sex differences in body weight among the four varieties. There were also no significant differences in body weight between males of the four varieties at all ages. Pearl grey, lavender and royal purple females had similar body weights at all ages while royal purple females were significantly heavier than their white counterparts at 16 and 18 weeks of age (1390.36±37.42 g vs. 1167.00±43.88 g) and (1471.09±30.83 g vs. 1230.50±36.15 g) respectively. Royal purple males and females had the highest body weight at 18 weeks of age and white males and females had the lowest. The royal purple variety therefore has the greatest potential for possible selection of meat type guinea fowl.
Key words: Botswana, growth, guinea fowl, intensive management, varieties
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