A study on growth performance, carcass traits and meat quality was carried out on Savannah and Forest ecotype chicken of Benin, using Label Rouge (T55 X SA51) as a control genotype. All the animals were fed ad libitum with three diets (starter, growerand layer feed). They were individually weighed at hatching and during the growingstage, and the daily feed intake was recorded. A sample of 12 males of each genetic type was slaughtered for carcass characteristics. Sensory analysis was done on each genetic type after boiling or roasting. The Label Rouge chickens were heavier than the local chickens at hatch (P<0.001). At the end of 40 weeks, the weight of the Label Rouge was double that of the Savannah ecotype and 2.8 times that of the Forest ecotype. The feed efficiency of the Label Rouge was higher than that of the local chickens (P<0.001). The genetic type influenced tenderness and juiciness, withthe local Savannah chicken being the most tender and juiciest (P<0.001). However, the cooking method and the carcass cut influenced tenderness only. The overall assessment of the meat of the Label Rouge chickens was similar to that of the local chickens, whereas the assessment of the meat was significantly lower for local chickens of Forest ecotype compared to the Savannah ecotype (P<0.001). The local chickens would therefore be suitable for improving traditional poultry production, whereas controlled crossbreeding programmes using Label Rouge could berecommended to improve local chicken weight.
Key words: Growth, carcass, sensory characters, indigenous chicken, Label Rouge
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