Nigerian Normal-feathered Local Chicken

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Other common names: Normal-feathered Village Chicken; Yoruba Chicken; Fulani Chicken

The basics:
The Nigerian normal-feathered village chicken is by far the commonest kind of fowl in Nigeria, comprising over 97% of the total population (with an estimated 190 000 000 domestic fowl in the country). As a result, this bird is by far Nigeria's main source of protein (from meat and eggs). It is therefore and invaluable resource for the country.

The normal-feathered village chicken is also sub-divided into two types, the large or 'Fulani' type which is produced in the semi-arid north of the country and the small or 'Yoruba' type which is the typical type in the southern states. The Fulani chicken is 1/3 larger than the Yoruba chicken.

So-called native or 'village' chickens are remarkable in that they can survive with minimal, or almost no management. They scavenge for all their food and produce eggs year-round. Hatchability for the eggs of the normal-feathered local chicken is just over 62%.

The native African chicken breeds tend to be more flavoursome but have tougher meat than introduced breeds and the eggs have bright yolks. They are more suited to slower West African stew and soup cooking techniques (where the meat of introduced breeds breaks down and falls off the bone). As a result the local breeds are still preferred over introduced breeds.

Like almost all the world's chickens, Africa's fowl are descended from the red junglefowl of the Indus valley. It seems that chickens first arrived in Africa about 1900 years ago. But there have been several waves of introduction. They first entered the continent via Egypt then Indian traders brought in the birds as did Arabic invaders and traders. As a result a large number of local or so-called 'Village' breeds have been developed based on the interbreeding of these successive waves of arrivals along with European chickens introduced in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the main these local or native chickens live autonomously on scraps, with each household owning a few chickens. Outside South Africa there has been almost no interest in native chickens until the 1980s and it's only with the use of molecular genetic and evolutionary techniques that the various chicken types have been sorted into groups that might be considered 'breeds'. As, in their own areas, the local chicken is simply called a 'chicken' this has meant that long and cumbersome names tend to be used to describe these chickens in the agricultural and scientific literature. As well as the normal-feather type, Nigeria also has the naked neck and frizzle feathered types of village chicken. In terms of type the normal feather local chicken is defined as 'nana ff' (ie not naked neck, not frizzle feathered).

Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Single Comb): Any color
Uses: Eggs, Meat
Yoruba: 28 - 46 oz
Fulani: 4 - 5.5 lbs
Personality: Calm and easy to handle, but energetic enough to make a fine forager
Broody: Yes
Preferred climate: Warm
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Poor
Egg color: Tinted
Egg size: Small to Medium

What else you should know:
Of all the indigenous breeds, though it is by far the commonest, the normal feathered local variety has the slowest growth rate, is the worst egg layer and has the lowest rate of egg hatchability. This may be because the normal feathered variety because it has the most classical 'chicken' appearance has fewer heat adaptations.

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