Characterization of indigenousAseelchicken breed for morphological, growth, production, and meat composition traits from India
Aseel is an important native chicken breed of India, known for its martial qualities (aggressive fighting abilities), pugnacity, and majestic gait. The aim of the study is to conserve and characterize the Aseel germplasm, which is considered to be endangered. The birds were maintained on deep litter under a simulated backyard type of housing having night shelter and a free-range area. A total of 313 chicks produced in the second generation from the flock collected from native tract in Andhra Pradesh was characterized for morphological, growth, production, and meat quality parameters. Aseel birds were characterized by multicolored plumage (predominantly dark brown, black, golden, etc.) with solid feather patterns and normal distribution. Ear lobes were red (92%) and small in size, while 98% of the birds had red colored pea combs with variations in intensity of color. The shank color was yellow in the majority (65%) of the birds. The skin color was white (98%) with pinkish red coloration on exposed body parts, especially on the breast. The fertility and hatchability on total eggs were 67.2 and 41.4%, respectively. Cocks were heavier (P ≤ 0.05) with distinct sexual dimorphism in Aseel. The body weight of hens and cocks was 1,704.4 ± 23.2 and 2,702.5 ± 28.1 g at 40 wk and 2,333.7 ± 26.1 and 3,793.7 ± 20.8 g at 72 wk of age, respectively. The age at sexual maturity was 214.0 ± 6.0 days. The egg production up to 40, 52, and 64 wk of age was 18.0 ± 1, 30.0 ± 2.0, and 47 ± 3 eggs, respectively. The annual egg production (72 wk) was 64 ± 6 eggs. The proximate composition of breast muscle was; protein 21.5 ± 0.5%, fat 3.4 ± 0.1%, ash 2.0 ± 0.1%, and moisture 73.3 ± 0.5%. The pH of breast muscle was 6.0 ± 0.03 and the cholesterol content was 72.5 ± 6.7 mg/100 g. Efforts are on for improving the productivity in the flock without compromising the original breed characteristics.