Poultry Research Programme

Poultry Research Programme

This Programme is responsible for development of improved strains of poultry for egg laying and meat. The ShikaBrown® egg laying chicken known for its egg quality and resistance to prevailing poultry diseases was developed in the Institute. The Programme liaises with commercial hatcheries as outlets for its parent stocks. We have been collaborating with poultry farms and hatcheries. Feeding and management packages to enhance the productivity of poultry have been developed.


Poultry Research Programme is one of the Programme’s in NAPRI charged with the mandate to

  • Develop and popularize layer type breed of chickens for Nigeria- Shikabrown® layer.
  • Develop and popularize other types/breed of poultry for Nigeria that includes; Broiler, Guinea fowl, Duck etc.
  • Develop formulae/standard poultry diets to meet the need of all classes of poultry for different seasons of the year.
  • Artificially inseminate NAPRI chickens using un-extended semen
  • Develop and promote the use of unconventional feed resources for poultry diets.

A poultry breeding project to develop a suitable egg strains for the production of parent stock as a step towards self-sufficiency in the supply of commercial layers in the country, started about 30years in NAPRI, Shika. The first 4 years were used to create a gene pool from 2 imported grandparent lines. So far, selection particularly for egg number to 280 days has progressed for 30years (1985 – date). Other traits considered are age at sexual maturity, egg weight and mature body weight. The sire and dam sides of the 2 lines were maintained as discrete populations. The criterion for selection was a combined selection in which pullets were selected basis of and index taking into consideration individual production, sire and dam family averages. The cockerels were selected on the basis of an index constructed using information on full and half sib averages only. Within populations full and half sib - matings were avoided to minimize inbreeding. Prior to registration and release a multi- locational performance testing of the stock for genetic stability at different ecological zones of the country was carried out as part of the development effort.
The aim was to enable Nigeria attain self-reliance in the sourcing of poultry breeding stock and the boosting of poultry production in the country without resorting to heavy importation of quality and “non-quality” chicken stocks. This exercise was of paramount concern to the country as it would help in reducing to a minimum, the accelerating depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserve. The project eventually gave rise to SHIKABROWN® an egg type strain of chicken which is the first and ever livestock specie to be registered and released in Nigeria. Shikabrown® having satisfied all necessary registration conditions was registered and released in year 2000. Below are the components of Shikabrown®
ShikaBrown® combines higher adaptability to local environmental conditions with an excellent production performance in the efficient utilization of locally available feed stuffs. The chicken is well adapted to tropical climates and gives the best economic returns and less susceptible to common poultry diseases, hence minimum investment on drugs is required. During the advent of Avian influenza in Nigeria I make bold to say that ShikaBrown® was never affected in Zaria nor in those other areas where the birds are found. The strain is early maturing, maintains high persistency of production, with an average hen-house production of about 80% during peak production. The generally low values of mortality (less that 7%) indicate the “hardiness” of the strain and high adaptability. The key features are: Hardiness, resistant to common tropical diseases. High persistency of lay (12 weeks above 80%) 290 eggs/laying period and 140-150gm feed/bird/day. Average egg weight is 60g and body weight at end of lay is 1.8kg. ShikaBrown® in its present status will create employment especially for the youth and women in rural an.d peri-urban areas of Nigeria and contribute to poverty reduction among the rural and peri – urban communities. Below some are production statistics of Shikabrown® and their parents
*It is important to note that the production information was generated over 20 years ago and does not anyway represent the current production statistics of both the parents and the commercial stock
To further testify to the goodness of ShikaBrown® NAPRI is involved in the Federal Governments growth enhancement scheme (GES) in the supply of 100,000 ShikaBrown® day old pullets to 10 states of the Federation. In the past 4 years or so the programme have been involved in third party National and international projects involving Shikabrown®. The Project titles are:

  • WAAPP - Mass production and nationwide distribution of shikabrown Parent and commercial stock. The objective is to increase the uptake and production of ShikaBrown® layer type chickens in Nigeria
  • FARA – Scaling out the IAR4D Concept: Establishment of Poultry innovation Platforms in Kano-Katsina-Maradi Pilot learnig sites of SSA CP. The overall objective is to reduce the scarcity of day-old chicks parent stock for layer-type chickens and to improve productivity and sustainability of egg production in Nigeria.

To complement the egg type chickens, NAPRI is also developing a meat type chicken (broiler)
The project is aimed at production a meat-type parent stock that is suitable for the Nigerian environment with the following characteristics:-

  • High body weight (about 2-3kg) at 8 weeks of age.
  • Livability and law mortality during the brooding and rearing period.
  • High tolerance to the hot, humid environment of Nigeria.
  • A general performance which will surpass the performance of imported strains raised in the same environment.
    1. It is also expected that this technology would help in alleviating poverty as it would help to create employment for individuals, it would also help to meat up the protein requirement of the households as a result of a reduction of the cost of the chicken, since it is being developed in the country.
    2. Other results expected include: to reduce to the barest minimum the dependence of Nigerian poultry farmers on imported parent stock chickens, which will help in the reduction in the foreign exchange being expended on importation of meat type chickens. This will also help to prevent entry of exotic diseases into Nigerians.

Over the past 6 years, two strains of grandparent chicks were imported from 2 different sources. The birds were mated in all possible combinations while maintaining the sire and dam lines as discrete populations. Mono allelic crossings were made for 5 generations to create as much variations within the base population as possible. The system of selection involved creation of 2 selection and 2 control lines for the sire and dam lines respectively. Selection for the 2 selection lines was primarily for high eight week body weight, while the 2 control lines were randomly picked. For each generation, about 10,000 chicks were hatched, with 1000 hens and 500 cocks monitored on deep litter out of which 280 hens and 40 cocks were used for the selected as parents for the next generation, and 120 hens and 20 cocks for the control population. Full and half sib mating were avoided within populations to minimize inbreeding. Selection work has so far progressed for 5 generations. Production of commercial broilers would be done in the next generation, which would be monitored in the Institute, and other stations across 6 geopolitical zones of the country to ascertain their performance and genetic stability.

Stay in touch with us