The objective of the study was to introduce and evaluate production performance of Koekoek chicken under smallholder farmers’ management practice and enhance their household income. This on farm experiment was conducted in eastern and south eastern zone of Tigray region. About 53 food insecure smallholder farmers were selected in collaboration with the experts and village administrators. Eighty seven percent of the beneficiaries were female headed householders and the remaining 13% were male headed housed holders. Each farmer received 20 koekoek chicks 45 days old, which were grown under on-station to decrease chicken mortality. Data on live weight, egg weight, egg color, sexual maturity, hatchability, adaptability and the overall farmers’ perception on breed were collected by preparing checklist points. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS software. The breed was adaptable to both zones and non-selective for feed. It was also good scavenger and it could survive and give good production (meat and egg) under farmers’ management practice. The average weight was recorded as 1.33, 1.87 and 2.47 kg at five eight, eight and twelve month’s age for male koekoek, respectively, whereas 1.2, 1.64 and 1.59 kg was recorded for female at five, eight and twelve months age, respectively. The decrease in body weight of female indicates that layers chicken have decrease in weight at the time of laying and when their age increased. Sexual maturity of both male and female koekoek chickens were at 6 months. Egg production potential of the chicken was ranging from 180-240 hen-1 year1 depending on the farmers management practice mainly feeding, watering and housing. Egg weight of the koekoek chicken range from 50.63 to 53.67 g. About 87.5% of the eggs were brown and the remaining 12.5% were white. This breed has good acceptance in terms of their body weight, egg weight, adaptability to wide climatic conditions, feeding behavior and their color which has a market value. Therefore, this breed is suitable and recommended for scavenging and semi-scavenging chicken production system.
Key words: Adaptability, dual chicken, exotic chicken breed.
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