Performance of White Leghorn Chickens Breed Maintained at Haramaya University Poultry Farm and Implications for Sustainable Poultry Production

  • Ewonetu Kebede Senbeta School of Animal and Range Sciences
  • Kasaye Assefa Balcha School of Animal and Range Sciences
Keywords: Brooder; Day-old chicks; Grower; Layer; Management stages; Performance; Reproductive; White Leghorn


Indigenous chickens in Ethiopia are characterized by slow growth and egg
production potential. As a result, poultry enterprises in the country entirely depend on exotic
breeds, which are productive. The White Leghorn breed is the major one among the exotic
breeds. Haramaya University Poultry farm is a source of the White Leghorn poultry breed in
eastern Ethiopia. However, poor management and maintenance of the breed for too long
without genetic improvement is a serious constraint to enhancing poultry production in the
region. The objective of this study was, therefore, to evaluate the performance of White
Leghorn breed maintained at Haramaya University poultry farm and establish their current
reproductive and productive potential. The productive and reproductive performance of the
breed was evaluated starting from hatching to 50 weeks of age. 576 eggs with an average size
of 50.01 + 5.57g were randomly arranged into three replicates each consisting of 192 eggs.
Then, a total of 363 hatched chicks were used and intensively raised on a deep litter system
to evaluate body weight, feed intake, feed efficiency, body weight gain, mortality during
brooder, grower and layer stages whereas egg weight and hen day egg production at layer
ages were also determined. All data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results
revealed that the mean hatchability, day old body weight, age at sexual maturity, weight at
sexual maturity, hen-day egg production, and egg weight for the study breed were 70.32 +
4.08%, 33.48 + 0.84g, 154 days, 880.04 g, 70.35+3.22% and 53.47+2.39g, respectively. The
average body weight and feed intake increased progressively during the brooder, grower and
layer age. The highest weight gain was achieved during the grower age but the highest feed
conversion ratio was observed during the layer stage. The mean mortality rates during the
brooder and grower stages were 4.23+1.72 and 1.17+0.96, respectively. In conclusion, the
White Leghorn breed at the university performed poorly with respect to most of the
variables studied. Therefore, it is necessary to do more research to get insights into possible
environmental and genetic factors that have contributed to the lower performance of the
breed so as to address the constraints and enhance poultry production in the region.

Author Biographies

Ewonetu Kebede Senbeta, School of Animal and Range Sciences

School of Animal and Range Sciences, Haramaya University, P. O. Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia


Kasaye Assefa Balcha, School of Animal and Range Sciences

School of Animal and Range Sciences, Haramaya University, P. O. Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia


Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.