Phenotypic characterisation of local chicken populations was undertaken in the humid forest zone. Out of 48 village's subsets sampled by Zonal Extension Agents (AVZ) in the 16 divisions of the Centre, South and East provinces, 751 adult chickens were examined, measured and individual pictures were taken.
Birds from the South and East provinces were similar in body weight at around 1 400 g for males and 1 160 g for females versus 1 665 g and 1 259 g for male and female birds from the Centre, the latter being heavier and larger in size than their counterparts from South and East. Annual egg production calculated from farmers' declarations was higher for birds in South with 54 eggs versus 51 and 49 in Centre and East provinces respectively, while hatchability was generally above 80%.
Morphological diversity was characterized by a low frequency (1–10%) for a rather large number of mutations (feathered shanks, crest, naked neck, muffs and beard, frizzing, dwarfism). In contrast, the 'yellow skin' mutation was present with a high frequency (50–60%). Feather colour was very variable with a high frequency of widespread black (E locus) and silver (S locus) colours.