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  Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world Owing to the relative ease and low cost of raising them in comparison to animals such as cattle or hogs, chickens have become prevalent in numerous cuisines. The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), a subspecies of the red jungle fowl, is a type of domesticated fowl, originally from Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird.

Chickens are one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a total population of 23.7 billion as of 2018 up from more than 19 billion in 2011.


There are more chickens in the world than any other bird.

Very numerous cultural references to chickens.

Basically three types of breed based on origin exist; They are Local / Indigenous breeds, Exotic / Foreign breeds, and Hybrid breeds.

              Local or Indigenous breeds are native chickens of a country that are raised and bred in the same country.  The Nigerian Local Chicken is perhaps the most diversified of all the species of indigenous livestock in Nigeria. 

The  body  size, plumage  color,  feather  characteristics  and  distribution  are  not uniform  but  highly  variable.  Nevertheless, they are small body sized being largely unimproved.

Evidence from earlier  studies  showed that many varieties  of  indigenous fowls  are located  within  the  humid  tropical  environment  with  some  unique characteristics.

However  the  various  types  have  not  been adequately  identified  and  characterized  to  highlight  their peculiarities and potentials.

              Local chickens are widely distributed in the rural areas of tropical and sub-tropical countries where they are kept by the majority of the rural poor.

Indigenous or Local chickens in Nigeria are in general hardy, adaptive to rural environments. They survive on little or no inputs and adjust to fluctuations in feed availability.

Chickens largely dominate flock composition and make up about 98% of the total poultry numbers (chickens, ducks and turkeys) kept in Nigeria.

Indigenous Local chickens constitutes 80% of the 120 million poultry type raised in the rural areas in Nigeria.

They are self-reliant and hardy birds with the capacity to withstand harsh weather condition and adaptation to adverse environment.

They are known to possess qualities such as the ability to hatch on their own, brood and scavenge for major parts of their food and possess appreciated immunity from endemic diseases.

Their products are preferred by the majority of Nigerian because of the pigmentation, taste, leanness and suitability for special dishes.

Their outputs (egg and meat) are readily available to villagers and people in urban semi urban areas. Thus serves as a good source of protein in their diet. In the same vein, they serve as good source of income.


The local chickens in Nigeria are commonly called the Nigerian Indigenous Chicken (NIC). They are all classified into two breeds based on location. They are the Fulani Ecotypes and Forest savannah (Yoruba) Ecotypes

Fulani ecotype chickens

is a type of local chicken reared by the Fulani people. They are good egg layers with high quality meat. These chickens are not easily attacked by diseases and tend to live longer. Fulani ecotype chickens are heavier and rich in meat quality. It carries a dominant feather gene. Male Fulani ecotype chickens have a large comb and wattle size. They have varied plumage colors with a feather that is suitable for the tropical climate in Nigeria. They are mainly reared for high quality meat and eggs

 The Yoruba Eco types

referred to as the light eco types. They are the local chickens from the following parts of Nigeria: Rain forest, Swamp and Derived Savannah zones. They are normal feathered breeds weighing around 0.68kg to 1.5 kg.

General Characteristics of the Nigerian Local Chicken

• Nigerian Indigenous Chickens are generally hardy, adapt easily to rural environments. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and they adjust easily to fluxes in feed availability.

• They are mostly found in rural and semi-urban places. They are also raised by people living in the cities and towns for livestock and poultry meat

•They are self-reliant. These chickens feed themselves by looking for kitchen wastes, insects, worms, lizards and plant seeds and leaves.

• They are small in size as well as have slow growth rates compared to other hybrid breeds.

• Their meat and eggs have good, attractive pigmentation, leanness, tastes and suitability for special Nigerian dishes.

•They can hatch their fertile eggs on their own, brood their chicks and are naturally immune to most poultry diseases.

• Age at sexual maturity is between 133-169 days under an extensive system. But will slightly increase if raised in cages.

• They are poor egg producers, as they lay just 40-50 eggs in a year under an extensive management system. It is assumed that the low egg production ability is due to the inadequate supply of balanced feed, diseases and social behavior.

Hence, if the chickens are raised under improved conditions. These conditions (adequate feeds, good shelter, proper medication and vaccination), their laying performance might double.


1, The light ecotypes chickens lay more eggs than the heavy (Fulani) ecotypes.

2, They have good fertility and hatchability rates.

3, Since they perform poorly in terms of meat and egg production, they are not recommended for commercial purpose. However, farmers can still earn a good income from raising and breeding Nigerian Indigenous Chickens if they adopt the intensive or semi-intensive system of poultry production.


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