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GENETICS ▶▶▶


Crossbreed chicken increases production by a hundredfold


A project in Burkina Faso has enabled roughly 1,000 small-scale chicken farmers to increase their productivity a hundredfold with a crossbreed between local chickens and slow-growth French Sasso hens.


BY NATALIE BERKHOUT T


he project – which has been five years in the making by animal health company Ceva – set out to pro- duce this crossbreed of chickens with greater pro- duction capacity, known as Poulet du Faso, to pro-


vide smallholders with more and healthier day-old chicks. The chicks are all vaccinated in the hatchery using Ceva’s vector- ised vaccines which, according to the company, gives them life-long protection against Newcastle disease which is highly prevalent in Africa. The mortality rate among Poulet du Faso is just 5% compared to 50% among traditional breeds. Fur- thermore, the crossbreed reaches market weight (1.2-1.4kg) in 75 to 90 days compared to the typical six months’ rearing required for its local counterpart.


Selection centre in sub-Saharan Africa Ceva partnered with Sasso-Hendrix Genetics to breed the chickens at the first avian selection centre in sub-Saharan Af- rica, Coq du Faso, which opened in 2016 in rural Boussé, 50km north of the capital. Pierre-Marie Borne, the pro- gramme initiator and public affairs director for Africa and the Middle East at Ceva explains: “The avian selection process at the centre focuses on the pure local breed. The Coq du Faso selection centre was established to undertake selection work to preserve and, at the same time, improve the local Burkina poultry breed referred to as ‘poulet bicyclette’ or bicycle chick- en. After four years of carefully measuring and analysing dif- ferent parameters as part of five selection rounds, the fifth generation of pedigrees has now doubled the laying capacity


of their local counterparts. This approach has enabled the lo- cal adaptability and rusticity of the poulet bicyclette to be preserved while improving its productivity. And more impor- tantly, the phenotype, or the way the birds look, the ‘poulet grillé’ or grilled chicken, has remained unchanged, much to the delight of the Burkinabé who are very attached to their local breed”.


Burkina Faso’s poultry industry at a glance


• Potential demand for poultrymeat: 58,455 tonnes • Current supply: 25,031 tonnes • Broiler production per year: 31,288,273 broilers (2015) • Egg production per year: 109,788,433 eggs (2015) • National flock size: 700,000 layers and 600,000 exotic genetic broilers per year • The remainder is produced on small-scale commercial farms and (backyard) traditional rural systems using the non-selected local breed


• Except for eggs, avian production remains in the hands of small commercial farms and traditional farmers


▶ POULTRY WORLD | No. 1, 2021 13


Small-scale chicken farmers can increase their productivi- ty a hundredfold with the crossbreed bird.


PHOTO’S: CEVA


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