The term “Poultry” is defined as domestic fowls including chickens, turkeys, geese, and ducks, raised for the production of meat or eggs. Within the passage of time, poultry shifted from domestic birds to commercial poultry farming. According to FAO (2011), the largest livestock group in the world is ‘Poultry’ that estimated to be about 23.39 billion consisting mainly of chickens, turkeys, and ducks and contributing about 28-30% of all animal protein consumed worldwide. Many commercial poultry species contributed vital socio-economic roles for food securities and generating cash incomes.
The major source of poultry products come through commercial and backyard poultry rearing system. Under each system, producers have diverse preferences for breeds, growth, and scales of operation. Commercial systems emphasize the production of highly productive breeds under an intensive system of management while the domestic or rural systems prefer to rear indigenous breeds under an extensive production system. The native breeds though are less productive but have certain qualities of economic and cultural significance and have a major impact on the food security of households. Breeding for high productivity is getting extinct leaving us without having basic information about their characteristics and potential benefits. Therefore, phenotypic classification of available breeds is significant for the proper management of these resources.
Chickens also play a major economic and socio-cultural role in most African countries. Native chicken production is dynamic in the livelihood of many house-holds members especially for poor rural farmers providing nutrition for the family by providing them a good source of protein, side income to meet the daily expense, and for times of religious ceremonies and recreation. Therefore, native fowl are important in the country given their organic way of being raised.
Ohwojakporet al. (2012) indicated that food production is changing from being producers-driven to consumers-driven and they are demanding certified products such as eggs and meat. Now, the farmer focusing on the local indigenous breeds or species. . Among the major advantages of native chickens is the ability to adapt to harsh environments, general hardiness and ability to survive on little inputs in terms of feed, medications, and shelter. Apunoet al. (2011) informed that native chickens are generally hardy, self-reliant, and capable to withstand the harsh climate, minimal management, and inadequate nutrition. They survived largely on grasses, seeds, insects, and other farm wastes.
A novel research was carried out by Bekele et al. (2021) to characterize the local chickens of the Gambella regional state of selected districts based on some qualitative and quantitative traits. The results indicated that the dominant plumage color of the cocks was red followed by black and Gebsim with other colors and in hens brown color followed by black and white. So, the researchers recommended that detailed molecular characterization of the local chickens is vital to identify suitable chicken ecotypes for defined production purposes.