Towards Conservation of Omani Local Chicken: Phenotypic Characteristics, Management Practices and Performance Traits

  • Al-Qamashoui, B. (Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Kassel and Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen) ;
  • Mahgoub, O. (Sultan Qaboos University, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences) ;
  • Kadim, I. (Sultan Qaboos University, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences) ;
  • Schlecht, E. (Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Kassel and Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen)
  • Received : 2013.09.02
  • Accepted : 2013.12.17
  • Published : 2014.06.01


Characterizing local chicken types and their mostly rural production systems is prerequisite for designing and implementing development and conservation programs. This study evaluated the management practices of small-scale chicken keepers and the phenotypic and production traits of their chickens in Oman, where conservation programs for local livestock breeds have currently started. Free-range scavenging was the dominant production system, and logistic regression analysis showed that socio-economic factors such as training in poultry keeping, household income, income from farming and gender of chicken owners influenced feeding, housing, and health care practices (p<0.05). A large variation in plumage and shank colors, comb types and other phenotypic traits within and between Omani chicken populations were observed. Male and female body weight differed (p<0.05), being $1.3{\pm}0.65$ kg and $1.1{\pm}0.86$ kg respectively. Flock size averaged $22{\pm}7.7$ birds per household with 4.8 hens per cock. Clutch size was $12.3{\pm}2.85$ and annual production $64.5{\pm}2.85$ eggs per hen. Egg hatchability averaged $88{\pm}6.0%$ and annual chicken mortality across all age and sex categories was $16{\pm}1.4%$. The strong involvement of women in chicken keeping makes them key stakeholders in future development and conservation programs, but the latter should be preceded by a comprehensive study of the genetic diversity of the Omani chicken populations.


Animal Genetic Resources;Egg Production;Rural Smallholders;Scavenging System;Task Division


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