An exploratory study on the effects of rearing system and plumage colour on performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of local turkeys

  • Kamorudeen Kolawole Safiyu Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
  • Olajide Mark Sogunle Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
  • Lawrence Tokunbo Egbeyale Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta
  • Taofik Akinyemi Shittu Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Keywords: Local turkey, Plumage, Indoor, Outdoor


In a bid to improve the productive potentials of local turkeys in developing countries, a total of 240 unsexed day-old poults arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial layout into 4 treatments with two rearing systems (indoor and outdoor) and two plumage colours (white and black) were used for this study. Poults were brooded for 4 weeks followed by an acclimatization period of 2 weeks in the two different rearing systems before the commencement of the study which lasted 10 weeks. Each treatment consisting of 60 birds was further sub-divided into six replicates of 10 birds per replicate. Data obtained were subjected to Analysis of Variance in a Completely Randomized Design. Results on performance in the grower phase showed turkeys reared in indoor system recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher weight gain (29.39 vs. 105.19 g/bird/day) and daily feed intake (27.18 vs. 98.11 g/bird/day) compare to turkeys under outdoor system. In addition, weight gain was significantly (p<0.05) higher (29.16 g/bird/day) in turkeys with black plumage than (27.42 g/bird/day) recorded in turkeys with white plumage. However, in the finisher phase turkeys under outdoor system recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher weight gain than turkeys under indoor system. In the finisher phase, interaction effects showed best weight gain and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) (39.22 g/bird/day and 4.60) in white-plumaged turkeys reared in outdoor system. Turkeys under outdoor system also had significantly (p<0.05) higher back and spleen percentages. However, proportions of thigh were significantly (p<0.05) higher in turkeys reared indoor. In addition, white-plumaged turkeys recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher (21.07%) cooking loss than 14.58% recorded in turkeys with black plumage. In conclusion, improved weight gain with best FCR at finisher phase as well as highest spleen portion and cooking loss in thigh meat was obtained in white-plumaged turkeys reared in outdoor system.

Author Biographies

Kamorudeen Kolawole Safiyu, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Research Demonstrator in the Department of Animal Production and Health, FUNNAB
Olajide Mark Sogunle, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Professor in the Department of Animal Production and Health, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Lawrence Tokunbo Egbeyale, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Animal Production and Health, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Taofik Akinyemi Shittu, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta


Aklilu, H.A., 2007. Village poultry in Ethiopia: socio-technical analysis and learning with farmers. Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 178 pp. (Ph.D. thesis)

Aline, K., 2015. Management systems and location effects on growth and carcass traits of kuroiler and local chickens. A thesis submitted to the directorate of research and graduate training in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Science in Animal Science of Makerere University. 101 pages

Amumueller, R., 2008. Certified production of commercial turkeys. World Poultry Magazine Production on Turkeys. 10, 18

Asaduzzaman, M., Salma, U., Ali, H.S., Hamid, M.A., Miah, A.G., 2017. Problems and prospects of turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) production in Bangladesh. Research in Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. 4(2), 77-90.

Awuni, J.A., 2002. Strategies for the improvement of rural chicken production in Ghana. In: Characteristics and Parameters in Family Poultry Production in Africa, (IAEA: Vienna)

Batkowska, J., Brodacki A., Zieba, G., Horbanczuk, J.O., Łukaszewicz, M., 2015. Growth performance, carcass traits and physical properties of chicken meat as affected by genotype and production system. Archives Animal Breeding. 58, 325–333.

Case, L.A., Miller, S.P., Wood, B.J., 2010. Factors affecting breast meat yield in turkeys. World's Poultry Science Journal. 66(2), 189-202.

Castellini, C., Mugnai, C., Dal Bosco, A., 2002. Effect of Organic Production System on Broiler Carcass and Meat Quality. Meat Science. 60, 219-225.

Chen, X., Jiang, W., Tan, H.Z., Xu, G.F., Zhang, X.B., Wei, S., Wang, X.Q., 2013. Effects of Outdoor Access on Growth Performance, Carcass Composition, and Meat Characteristics of Broiler Chickens. Poultry Science 92(2), 435-443.

Creevey, L.E., 1991. Supporting small-scale enterprises for women farmers in the Sahel. Journal of International Development. 3, 355-386.

Dana, N., Dessie, T., van der Waaij, L.H., van Arendonk, A.M., 2010. Morphological features of indigenous chicken populations of Ethiopia. Animal Genetic Resources. 46, 11–23.

Dou, T.C., Shi, S.R., Sun, H.J., Wang, K.H., 2009. Growth Rate, Carcass Traits and Meat Quality of Slow-growing Chicken Grown According to Three Raising Systems. Animal Science Papers and Reports. 27, 361-369.

Ekue, F.N., Pone, K.D., Mafeni, M.J., Nfi, A.N., Njoya, J., 2002. Survey of the traditional poultry production system in the Bamenda area, Cameroon. In Characteristics and Parameters of Family Poultry Production in Africa. FAO/IAEA Co-ordinated Research Programme on Assessment of the effectiveness of vaccination strategies against Newcastle disease and Gumboro disease using immunoassay-based technologies for increasing farmyard poultry production in Africa. IAEA Vienna.

FAOSTAT, 2012. Livestock Primary Production Data. Retrieved from

Feddes, J.J.R., Emmanuel, E.J., Zuidhof, M.J., 2002. Broiler performance, bodyweight variance, feed and water intake, and carcass quality at different stocking densities. Poultry Science. 81, 774–779

Food and Agricultural Organization., 1997. Guidelines for the inclusion of improved household poultry production. Diversification component of the special programme for food security, FAO, Rome 76 pp.

Fortomaris, P., Arsenos, G. Tserveni-Gousi, A., Yannakopoulos, A., 2007. Performance and behaviour of broiler chickens as affected by the housing system. Arch.Geflügelk. 71(3), 97–104.

Gueye, E.F. 1998. Village egg and fowl meat production in Africa. World Poultry Science Journal, 54, 73–86

Halima, H., Neser, F.W.C., vanMarle-Koster, E., deKock, A., 2007. Phenotypic variation of indigenous chicken populations in northwest Ethiopia. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 39, 507–513.

Hoop, R.K., Rippinger, P.A., 1997. The infection with Salmonella gallinarum-pullorum in poultry: experience from Switzerland. Schweiz Arch Tierhelkd. 139, 485–489

Inci, H., Sogut, B., Sengul, T., Sengul, A.Y., Taysi, M.R., 2015. Comparison of fattening performance, carcass characteristics, and egg quality characteristics of Japanese quails with different feather colours. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 44(11), 390-396,

Ironkwe, M.O., Esonu, B.M., Akinola, L.A.F., 2015. Performance Characteristics and Carcass Yield of Indigenous Turkeys Fed Indomie Waste-Based Diets. Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science (IOSR-JAVS). 8(1), 88-91

Jiang, X., 1999. Broiler breeding: breeding goals, selection schemes and the usefulness of local breeds of China. Wageningen, The Netherlands, Wageningen University. 185 pp. (Ph.D. thesis)

Karki, M., 2005. Growth, efficiency of utilization and economics of different rearing periods of Turkeys. Nepal Agricultural Research Journal. 6, 89-88.

Kitalyi, A.J., 1998. Village chicken production systems in rural Africa:household and food security and gender issues, FAO Animal Production and Health Paper 142, Rome, Italy.

Leulseged, Y., 1998. Study on production systems of indigenous and improved poultry in rural areas of North Wollo. Alemaya, Ethiopia, Alemaya University of Agriculture. 102 pp. (M.Sc. thesis)

Li, Y., Luo, C., Wang, J., Guo, F., 2017. Effects of different raising systems on growth performance, carcass, and meat quality of medium-growing chickens. Journal of Applied Animal Research. 45(1), 326-330

Minvielle, F., Gourichon, D., Moussu, C., 2005. Two new plumage mutations in the Japanese quail: “curly” feather and “rusty” plumage. BMC Genetics. 6, 14

Okoli, I.C., Nwaodu, C.H., Uchegbu, M.C., 2009. Feeding Management Practices of Small holder Turkey Farmers in the Warm Wet Tropical Environment of Imo State, Nigeria. Report and Opinion. 1(4), 56-58

Padhi, M.K., 2016. Importance of Indigenous Breeds of Chicken for Rural Economy and Their Improvements for Higher Production Performance. Scientifica. 1-9.

Permin, A., Bisgaard, M., Fransden, F., Pearman, M., Kold, J., Nansen, P., 1999. Prevalence of gastrointestinal helminths in different poultry production systems. British Poultry Science. 40, 439–443.

Petek, M., Ozen, Y., Karakas, E., 2004. Effects of recessive white plumage colour mutation on hatchability and growth of quail hatched from breeders of different ages. British Poultry Science 45, 769-774.

Santos, A.L., Sakomura, N.K., Freitas, E.R., 2005. Comparison of Free-range Broiler Chicken Strains Raised in Confined or Semi-Confined Systems. Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science. 7, 85-92.

Smyth, J.R., 1990. Genetics of plumage, skin and eye pigmentation in chickens. In R.D. Crawford, ed. Poultry breeding and genetics, pp. 109–168. Amsterdam, Elsevier Science Publishers.

Sogunle, O.M., Ogundele, M.A., Akinola, O.S., Njoku, C.P., Oso, A.O., 2016. Effects of different housing systems on growth performance and carcass yield of two breeds of turkeys. Bulletin of Animal Health and Production in Africa. 64(1), 83-93.

Tadelle, D., 2003. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of local chicken ecotypes in Ethiopia. Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, 209 pp. (Ph.D. thesis)

Tarhyel, R. Tanimomo, B.K., Hena, S.A., 2012. Effect of sex, colour and weight group on carcass characteristics of Japanese quail. Scientific Journal of Animal Science. 1, 22-27.

Teketel, F., 1986. Studies on the meat production potential of some local strains of chickens in Ethiopia. Geissen, Germany, J.L. University of Geissen. 186 pp. (Ph.D. thesis)

Tong, H.B., Cai, J., Lu, J., Wang, Q., Shao, D., Zou, J.M., 2015. Effects of outdoor access days on growth performance, carcass yield, meat quality, and lymphoid organ index of a local chicken breed. Poultry Science. 94, 1115–1121

Wang, K.H., Shi, S.R., Dou, T.C., Sun, H.J., 2009. Effect of a Free-Range Raising System on Growth Performance, Carcass Yield, and Meat Quality of Slow-Growing Chicken. Poultry Science. 88(10), 2219-2223.

Yakubu, A., Abimiku, K., Musa Azara, I.S., Idahor, K.O., Akinsola, O.M., 2013. Assessment of flock structure, preference in selection and traits of economic importance of domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) genetic resources in Nasarawa state, Nigeria. Livestock Research for Rural Development. 25, 18.

Yıldız, M.A., Kesici, T. 1997. Examination of the genetic relationship between the genes that determine the yellow and stained white feather color in Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Journal of Lalahan Livestock Research Institute. 37, 84-90.

Yılmaz, A., Çağlayan, T., 2008. Egg weight, shape index and hatch weight in Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica) with different hair color. Fırat University Health Sciences Veterinary Journal. 22, 5-8.

Zhao, Z., Li, J., Li, X., Bao, J., 2014. Effects of Housing Systems on Behaviour, Performance and Welfare of Fast-growing Broilers. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 27(1), 140–146.