Morphometric and morphological characterization of chicken resources adapted to pastoral and agropastoral areas of southern Ethiopia

Main Article Content

Amine Mustefa
Hizkel Kenfo
Teklewold Belayhun
Abebe Hailu
Abraham Assefa


Thirteen qualitative and six quantitative variables taken from 303 adult chickens (95 cocks and 208 hens) from three locations/districts were used to phenotypically characterize the indigenous chicken populations in pastoral areas of South Omo Zone, Ethiopia. The studied traits were influenced by the effect of location and sex, where chicken populations from Hamer district and females of all districts were the smallest and lightest. Qualitative characteristics of the studied chicken populations such as normal feather morphology and distribution, plain plumage pattern, flat head shape, triangular body shape, and dominant red eye, earlobe and plumage colour suggest that they constitute previously undescribed populations. Chest circumference, wingspan and body length were the three most important morphometric traits used in discriminating the studied chicken populations. On average, 61% of the sampled populations were classified correctly into their respective locations. The multivariate analysis results discriminate the chicken populations into two groups: the Hamer group and the Omo group (chickens from Bena Tsemay and Male districts). However, such grouping should be confirmed and advanced to ecotype level using further genetic characterization studies as the observed phenotypic differences might be due to genetic or environmental variations. Such confirmation is important to design breeding programmes (for sustainable utilization) specific to each ecotype.



Article Details

How to Cite
Mustefa, A., Kenfo, H. ., Belayhun, T. ., Hailu, A. . and Assefa, A. . (2021) “Morphometric and morphological characterization of chicken resources adapted to pastoral and agropastoral areas of southern Ethiopia”, Genetic Resources, 2(4), pp. 72–84. doi: 10.46265/genresj.NDFM2712.
Original Articles

Ajang, O A, S Prijono, and W K Smith (1993). “The effect of dietary protein level on growth and body composition of fast and slow feathering broiler chickens”. British Poultry Science 34, pp. 73–91. DOI:

Baneh, H and S H Hafezian (2009). “Effect of environmental factor on growth traits in Ghezel sheep”. African Journal of Biotechnology 8, pp. 2903–2907. URL:

Bekele, G et al. (2015). “On-farm Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Chicken and their Production System in Bench Maji Zone”. Science, Technology and Arts Research Journal 4, pp. 68–73. DOI:

Bell, D D (2002). “Anatomy of the Chicken”. In: Commercial chicken meat and egg production. Ed. by Bell et al. USA: Springer, Boston, MA, pp. 41–58. DOI:

Central Statistical Agency (2019). “Agricultural Sample Survey 2018/19. Report on Livestock and Livestock Characteristics”. In: Statistical Bulletin No. 588. Vol. II. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Central Statistical Agency. URL: livestock-product-utilization-private-peasant-holdings-meher-season-2018-19-2011-e-c/.

Dana, N et al. (2010). “Morphological features of indigenous chicken populations of Ethiopia”. Animal Genetic Resource 46, pp. 11–23. DOI:

Derib, G (2017). Production and Marketing Systems of Goat in Hamer Woreda, South Omo Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Arbaminch, Ethiopia. URL:

EBI (2016). Ethiopian National Strategy and Plan of Action for conservation and utilization of Animal Genetic Resources. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute. URL: 20(1).pdf.

FAO (2012). “Phenotypic characterization of animal genetic resources”. In: FAO Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 11. Rome, Italy: FAO. URL:

FAO (2019). “Poultry Sector Ethiopia”. In: FAO Animal Production and Health Livestock Country Reviews n.11. Rome: FAO. URL:

Getu, A, K Alemayehu, and Z Wuletaw (2014). “Phenotypic characterization of indigenous chicken ecotypes in the north Gondar zone”. Ethiopia. Animal Genetic Resources 54, pp. 43–51. DOI:

Gezahegn, B and K Bamud (2018). “Identification of Major Crop Production Constraints in Bena-Tsemay District, South Omo Zone, Southern Ethiopia.” Food Science and Quality Management 74. URL:

Hailu, A et al. (2020). “Phenotypic characterization of sheep populations in Tahtay Maichew district”. Northern Ethiopia. Genetic Resources 1(2), pp. 13–23. DOI:

Halima, H et al. (2007). “Phenotypic variation of indigenous chicken populations in northwest Ethiopia”. Tropical Animal Health and Production 39, pp. 507–513. DOI:

Hammond, J C and H M Harshaw (1941). “Some Factors Influencing Shank and Skin Color in the Growing Chicken”. Poultry Science 20, pp. 437–444. DOI:

Hidosa, D, S Hailu, et al. (2020). “Goat Feed Inventory and Feed Balance in Hamer and Bena-Tsemay Woreda of South Omo Zone, South Western Ethiopia”. Acta Scientific Veterinary Sciences 2(6), pp. 28–43. URL:

Hidosa, D and Y Tesfaye (2018). “Assessment Study on Livestock Feed Resource, Feed Availability and Production Constraints in Maale Woreda in South Omo Zone”. Journal of Fisheries and Livestock Production 6(2). DOI:

Luo, W et al. (2018). “Genome-Wide Association Study and Transcriptome Analysis Provide New Insights into the White/Red Earlobe Color Formation in Chicken”. Cell Physiology and Biochemistry 46, pp. 1768–1778. DOI:

Makarova, A V et al. (2019). “Molecular-genetic bases of plumage coloring in chicken”. Vavilov Journal of Genetics and Breeding 23, pp. 343–354. DOI:

McDowell, R E (1972). “Improvement of Livestock Production In Warm Climates”. In: San Francisco: W.H. Freeman & Co. URL: livestock-production-in-warm-climates.

Melesse, A (2000). Comparative studies on performance and physiological responses of Ethiopian indigenous (Angete-Melata) chickens and their F1-crosses to long-term heat exposure. Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle-Saale, Germany. URL:

Melesse, A and T Negesse (2011). “Phenotypic and morphological characterization of indigenous chicken populations in southern region of Ethiopia”. Animal Genetic Resources 49, pp. 19–31. DOI:

Mustefa, A, A Assefa, et al. (2020). “Phenotypic Characterization of Donkeys in Benishangul Gumuz National Regional State”. Online Journal of Animal and Feed Research 10(1), pp. 25–35. DOI:

Mustefa, A, T Belayhun, et al. (2020). “Phenotypic characterization of Raya cattle in northern Ethiopia”. Tropical Animal Health and Production 53, pp. 48–48. DOI:

Mustefa, A, S Gizaw, et al. (2019). “Growth performance of Boer goats and their F1 and F2 crosses and backcrosses with Central Highland goats in Ethiopia”. Livestock Research for Rural Development 31(89). URL:

Negassa, D, A Melesse, and S Banerjee (2014). “Phenotypic characterization of indigenous chicken populations in Southeastern Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia”. Animal Genetic Resources 55, pp. 101–113. DOI:

Nelson, N M (1947). “Normal Eye Color in the Chicken”. Poultry Science 26, pp. 61–66. DOI:

Rensch, B (1950). “Die Abhangigkeit der relative sexual differenz von der korpergrosse”. Bonner Zoologische Beitrage 1, pp. 58–69.

SAS Institute (2002). URL:

Tesfahun, B, K Kebede, and K Effa (2017). “Traditional goat husbandry practice under pastoral systems in South Omo zone, southern Ethiopia”. Tropical Animal Health and Production 49, pp. 625–632. DOI:

Vaughn, K (2019). URL:

Yunis, R and A Cahaner (1999). “The effects of naked-neck (Na) and frizzle (F) genes on growth and meat yield of broilers, and their interactions with ambient temperatures and potential growth rate”. Poultry Science 78, pp. 1347–1352. DOI: