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Phenotypic characteristic of junglefowl and chicken

  • T.T. DESTA (a1)

Junglefowl display adaptive characters like seasonal breeding, well-established social hierarchy, explorative behaviour, territoriality, aggression and short ranged flight, however, they are smaller, produce less and mature later than commercial breeds. Non-green junglefowl cocks display eclipse plumage – a reliable indicator of genetic purity and a trait that has been disappeared from chickens. Junglefowl show high sexual dimorphism, however, intra-sex level variation is considerably limited. There are conflicting reports on viability of hybrids from junglefowl, however, red junglefowl crossed with chickens invariably produce fertile offspring. Although junglefowl and chickens share common parasites and diseases, junglefowl exhibit high variability in natural immunity and are relatively resilient to infection. Junglefowl prefer secondary forests and village environs, demonstrating their propensity for human landscapes. Habitat preference and historical, ritual and leisure activities of ancient man might have resulted in junglefowl being recruited for domestication. Particularly, native chickens share a number of phenotypic characters with junglefowl, however, cosmopolitan chickens have experienced high phenotypic input from world-wide dispersal and adaptation to a wide range of management and breeding regimes. Based on morphological scores and behavioural ecology, red junglefowl resembles chickens and amongst the junglefowls, red and Ceylon junglefowl are closely related, whereas grey and green junglefowl have been found to be distant.

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