Morphometric characteristics and consumer acceptability of meat from Potchefstroom Koekoek, Black Australorp, Venda and Ovambo chickens.
Mngonyama, Mandisa Bongeka Acquilla.
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Indigenous chicken production receives little institutional support and resources because of lack of information on the socioeconomic importance, morphometric characteristic and meat quality of indigenous chickens. A cross sectional survey was conducted to highlight the major constraints to production. A structured questionnaire was administered to 126 households selected from communities of Mnambiti-Ladysmith and Impendle local municipalities of KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. The mean flock size per household was 20 and 17 for Mnambiti-Ladysmith and Impendle, respectively. The cock to hen ratio was 1:2:5. The chickens were mostly kept for meat and income ranked 1 and 2 respectively. Generally, adult females made the majority of decisions on chicken management and marketing (61%), with youths playing a minor role. Scavenging was the major feeding system, seasonally supplemented with cereal grain. The majority of the farmers (87%) provided birds with drinking water. Mortality of chickens was prevalent (46%) in both seasons. In experiment 2, the objective of the study was to compare morphometric characteristics of Black Australorp, Potchefstroom Koekoek, Venda and Ovambo chickens. A flock of 200 indigenous chickens, 50 each of Black Australorp, Potchefstroom Koekoek, Venda and Ovambo breeds were reared under semi-intensive system for 22 weeks. The chickens were slaughtered at 22 weeks of age by manual neck cut, bled for 2 minutes and de-feathered. Body weights, organ weights and linear body measure were estimated using flexible tape prior to slaughter. The body weight for the Black Australorp were higher (P<0.05) than the other breeds. There was no significant difference between the lung, heart kidney and spleen weights among breeds. Linear regression revealed that measurements of linear body parts can be used to predict weight of the birds. The objective of Experiment 3 was to compare consumer acceptability of meat from chickens that are indigenous to South Africa compared to Black Australorp and the broiler. A flock of 200 unsexed freely ranging indigenous chickens of Potchefstroom Koekoek, Venda, Black Australorp and Ovambo breeds were reared under an improved semi-intensive system for 22 weeks. The acceptability of cooked meat samples from each breed was rated on a 9 point Hedonic scale by 69 consumer pannellists drawn from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Cedara College of Agriculture and the Depart of Agriculture. Age of consumer had no effect on all the sensory attributes of the meat evaluated (P> 0.05). Chicken breed had a significant effect on taste and overall acceptability (P< 0.05) with the Venda, Broiler and Black Australorp, but it had no significant difference on colour, texture and aroma acceptability. Gender of the consumer had a significant effect (p<0.01) on taste, colour and texture acceptability of the meat, but no significant effect on aroma and overall acceptability. Female respondents gave lower scores for taste than did the males (P< 0.01). There was no interaction between gender of consumer and chicken breed on meat texture. Crossbreeding the indigenous chickens with improved breeds such as the Black Australorp is one avenue through which sensory characteristics of the indigenous chickens may be improved.