The phenotypic characteristics of local chickens were studied in three local govermnent areas of ekiti state, Nigeria (lkole, Ekiti East and Oye local government). One hundred and eighty (180) captive adult birds (normal feathering female and male, frizzled local chicken were scored and measured for phenotypic characteristics (variation in plumage and shank colour, and eye colour, shank length, body length, body weight, bealc length, comb height, comb type, clutch size, chest length, comb length and sex.
Seven plumage colour types (brown, white, white/black/brown, black, white\black, brown/black and white/brown) were observed. The predominant plumage colour across the three local government areas is white/black/brown (20%, 26.7%, 28.3%). The least dominant plumage colour across the three local government is white/brown. Four eye colour were observed orange, yellow, red and brown. The orange eye colour is the most common eye colour across the three local govermnent areas (46.67%, 60%, 55%). The single and the rose comb type were observed across the study area. The commonest comb type was single. The normal feather type is more dominant across the three local government areas (80%, 78.33%, 86.44%). Whereas, the frizzled feather chicken is less dominant across the study areas. Four shank colour were observed in the three study areas (cream, yellow, brown and black). Across the study areas the yellow colour shank is most dominant (54.24%, 65%, 61.67%) whereas the brown colour is less dominant.
There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) across the local governments for body weight, shank length, comb length, chest length and comb height. The beak length and the body length were significant (P < 0.001). The body weight ranged from 1.06 - 1.08 kg. Oye and Ekiti east local government had the highest (P > 0.05) similar value 1.08 kg while Ikole local govermnent had the least value (1.07 kg). The shank length varied from 13.69 - 13.71 cm). The comb length ranged from 4.56 - 5.15 cm. Ikole local govermnent had the highest similar value (P > 0.05) 5.15 cm. The beak length ranged from 2.36 - 2.67 cm. The body length varied from 38.55- 43.50 cm. The chest length varied from 13.63 - 14.14 cm. The comb height ranged from 2.14- 2.51 cm. The magnitude of the value of the parameters between shank length and comb height, between shank length and comb height, between shank length and body length, between comb height and comb length and between comb height and body length were positive and significant (P < 0.001). There was also positive .and significant relationship between comb height and body weight and between clutch size and body weight (r =0.34292, 0.36718). Between shank length and beak length, between shank length and body weight, between comb height and beak length and between beak length and body weight there was positive and significant (P<0.05). The correlation between shank colour and clutch size, between comb length and clutch size and between beak length were negative.
Keywords : phenotypic characteristics, chickens, plumage colour, body weight, body length, shank length, beak length, comb height, correlation.