Research findings on indigenous guinea fowl in Nigeria and the constraints on the local production are discussed. The most pressing problems include low hatchability, high mortality up to eight weeks, lack of reliable advice on veterinary and other problems and a shortage of sources of hatching eggs and young stock. In addition to early mortality, which may be as high as 60%, the characteristic timid, but very active, flighty and noisy temperament probably contributes to poor feed conversion efficiency through high energy output and feed wastage. Nigerian guinea fowl tend to be slow growing, weighing less than 1 kg at 8 weeks of age, and do not come into lay until about 1 year of age. Although monogamous in the wild, a sex ratio of 1:4 can give good fertility. Egg production is confined to the rainy season from April to October. Sex identification presents an enormous problem for most guinea fowl farmers. The nutrient requirements of native guinea fowl have not been established, making it impossible to be sure that balanced diets needed for optimum production are fed. The most important intestinal parasites are Eimeria sp., Ascaridia galli, Heterakis sp. and Capillaria caudiflata. The main external parasites are lice (Damalina sp. and Argas persicus).
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