By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
A Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics in the College of Animal Science and Livestock Production (COLANIM), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Olufunmilayo Adebambo and her poultry-breeding team, have developed a new breed of chicken in the University, called FUNAAB-Alpha, after over 20 years of continuous research.
According to the University Don, she started the project in 1994, with the first generation of chickens, collected randomly all over South West, Nigeria.
Recalling her experience, Professor Adebambo noted that the different types of local chickens (Normal Feathered, Frizzle Feathered and Naked Necks), were collected all over Nigeria by students in the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics (COLANIM) and were screened for conservation and multiplication by her first Ph.D student, late Dr. (Mrs.) Josephine Adenowo,during which, eggs were taken to Oyo town, Oyo State, for hatching.
Explaining further, Professor Adebambo stated that she started the second generation of the birds after screening and selection from 1,000 birds, only 27 got into the cage.
She said, this was done to screen against diseases and upon getting into the cage, the birds were further screened against brooding, because as local chickens, they had the tendency to brood after egg laying, which is usually in clutches, after which the chicks are reared.
These activities, therefore, render them unproductive like imported birds. Since motherhood is not allowed for commercial poultry business, only 17 non-broody birds formed the foundation stock in the cage.
“From these 17, we started multiplication, cross-breeding, back-crossing and crisis-crossing, which brought us to where we are today”. We presently have a Gene Pool of seven lines from which the Alpha lines were generated.
The birds are presently on test across the country, by rural farmers, as we are in the process of registering the breeds as FUNAAB-Alpha, the first indigenous chicken for Nigeria and which was developed by Nigerian scientists from the local scavenging chickens, viz: FUNAAB-Alpha indigenous birds (FIn-Alpha Birds).
The FIn-Alpha birds comprise FIn-α Pullets and FIn-α broilers, selected over 12 and six generations, respectively. The FIn-αP are the dual purpose chickens, meant for meat and egg production, while the FIn-α B and the broilers are the meat type only.