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Characterisation of Saudi native chicken breeds: a case study of morphological and productive traits

  • M.M. FATHI (a1) (a2), I. AL-HOMIDAN (a1), O.K. ABOU-EMERA (a1) (a2) and A. AL-MOSHAWAH (a1)


Native or local chicken breeds play an important role in the rural sector and small households in developing countries, as well as provide a reservoir of potentially useful genetics for commercial strains. Standardisation and classification of the available native chicken populations based on morphological appearance, coupled with genetic diversity are necessary to conserve them for genetic improvement strategies. Most of the studies conducted on Saudi native chickens to evaluate their productive performance usually ignore the genetic origin and purity of the breed. Despite most native chickens having poor productivity, people in Saudi Arabia traditionally raise these chickens for their preferred eggs and ornamented appearance. The majority of such native chickens are maintained in rural communities and household poultry farms however, some native chickens with genes such as naked neck (Na), frizzle (F) and crest (Cr) are kept by poultry fanciers in small populations. These genotypes exhibit better performance under hot environmental conditions, a trait that may be useful in commercial strains. Six Saudi native chicken populations have been recognised and characterised. Their morphological characteristics, plumage appearance and productive performance have extensively been studied and documented in the current review.


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World's Poultry Science Journal
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