Characterization of indigenous Aseel chicken breed for morphological, growth, production, and meat composition traits from India
U. Rajkumar S. Haunshi C. Paswan M. V. L. N. Raju S. V. Rama Rao R. N. Chatterjee
Poultry Science, Volume 96, Issue 7, 1 July 2017, Pages 2120–2126, https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pew492
Published: 23 February 2017 Article history
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Aseel is an important native chicken breed of India, known for its martial qualities (aggressive fighting abilities), pugnacity, and majestic gait. The aim of the study is to conserve and characterize the Aseel germplasm, which is considered to be endangered. The birds were maintained on deep litter under a simulated backyard type of housing having night shelter and a free-range area. A total of 313 chicks produced in the second generation from the flock collected from native tract in Andhra Pradesh was characterized for morphological, growth, production, and meat quality parameters. Aseel birds were characterized by multicolored plumage (predominantly dark brown, black, golden, etc.) with solid feather patterns and normal distribution. Ear lobes were red (92%) and small in size, while 98% of the birds had red colored pea combs with variations in intensity of color. The shank color was yellow in the majority (65%) of the birds. The skin color was white (98%) with pinkish red coloration on exposed body parts, especially on the breast. The fertility and hatchability on total eggs were 67.2 and 41.4%, respectively. Cocks were heavier (P ≤ 0.05) with distinct sexual dimorphism in Aseel. The body weight of hens and cocks was 1,704.4 ± 23.2 and 2,702.5 ± 28.1 g at 40 wk and 2,333.7 ± 26.1 and 3,793.7 ± 20.8 g at 72 wk of age, respectively. The age at sexual maturity was 214.0 ± 6.0 days. The egg production up to 40, 52, and 64 wk of age was 18.0 ± 1, 30.0 ± 2.0, and 47 ± 3 eggs, respectively. The annual egg production (72 wk) was 64 ± 6 eggs. The proximate composition of breast muscle was; protein 21.5 ± 0.5%, fat 3.4 ± 0.1%, ash 2.0 ± 0.1%, and moisture 73.3 ± 0.5%. The pH of breast muscle was 6.0 ± 0.03 and the cholesterol content was 72.5 ± 6.7 mg/100 g. Efforts are on for improving the productivity in the flock without compromising the original breed characteristics.
Issue Section: Management and Production
Aseel is one of the important indigenous chicken breeds of India and is well known for its pugnacity, majestic gait, agility, high stamina, and dogged fighting qualities (Singh, 2001). The home tract of Aseel chickens is the state of Andhra Pradesh; however, the birds are present in parts of other states like Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The Aseel hens are poor layers but have excellent broodiness traits and are quite formidable in the protection of their young ones under free-range conditions. Eight variants of Aseel breed were reported in India of which, Aseel (Yellow) and Aseel (Black) are commonly available (Panda and Mohapatra, 1989). These birds are characterized by their hardiness and ability to thrive under adverse climatic conditions. The productivity is low in Aseel chickens, but the birds are known for their meat quality with desirable taste and flavor (Rajkumar et al., 2016). The native chicken meat is known for intense flavor, firm texture, low fat, and rich nutrients (Zhao et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2008). Assessing and documenting the meat quality and its composition, especially proximate composition in Aseel is very important in terms of its nutrient composition and also in consumer interest.
Of late, there is growing interest in native chickens among farmers because of their hardiness, ability to thrive under adverse conditions, and the desirable taste and flavor of their eggs and meat. Considerable genetic erosion is occurring because of the introduction of improved hybrid chicken varieties in the breeding tracts of recognized breeds leading to dilution of genetic purity or replacement of the breeds, which has brought them under threat of extinction (Singh, 2009). The available literature on the morphology, performance, and other parameters of Aseel chicken is very limited (Singh et al., 2000a,b; Mohan et al., 2008; Haunshi et al., 2011). Further, there is a considerable variation in the growth and production traits of Aseel chickens in the published literature (Mohan et al., 2008; Haunshi et al., 2011; Sarkar et al., 2012). Comprehensive information on characterization of Aseel chickens for morphology, growth, and production in a complete laying cycle is essential for planning, management, and conservation of Aseel chickens in a sustainable manner. Therefore, the present study was carried out with an aim to conserve and characterize Aseel chickens with respect to morphological, growth, production, and meat quality traits.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was carried out at the experimental poultry farm of Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Directorate of Poultry Research (ICAR-DPR), Hyderabad, India. Hyderabad is located in the Deccan plateau in the southern part of India positioned between 17°23'N and 78° 28'E at a height of 500 m above sea level. The region experiences usually a hot and humid tropical climate with maximum temperature ranging from 20°C in winter to 45°C in summer seasons. The experiment was approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee.
The Aseel chickens were collected from the native breeding tract in Andhra Pradesh, India, for conservation purpose. A total of 313 chicks, produced randomly in the second generation (G-2) was utilized for the study. Standard management practices were followed during brooding, growing, and laying stages. The hens were housed in individual cages with dimensions of 19.05 cm width × 38.1 length × 50.8 front height × 45.7 cm back height, and cocks were maintained on deep litter in a backyard type of housing with night shelter and a free-range facility for movement of the birds to retain the original breed characteristics. The birds were maintained on ad libitum feeding with maize and soya based diets during the experimental period. The birds were vaccinated against Marek's disease (first d), Newcastle disease (Lasota - seventh and 30th d; R2B - 9th wk; inactivated - 18th wk), infectious bursal disease (14th and 26th d), fowl pox (6th wk), and infectious bronchitis (18th wk). The ambient temperature ranged from 20°C to 42°C during the rearing period.
Data on physical characters like feather distribution and pattern, comb types, color of the shank, skin, ear lobe, eyes, spur, etc., were collected on 236 birds (116 hens and 120 cocks) at 20 wk of age as per the standard proforma developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research - National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBAGR).
Body weight was measured in chicks at one d old, and 4, 6, 12, and 16 wk of age on pooled sex and at 20, 40, 52, 64, and 72 wk of age on a unisex basis. The corresponding shank lengths were measured until 40 wk of age. The body weight was measured to 0.1 g accuracy using digital balance.
Age at sexual maturity (ASM); egg weights at 32, 40, 52, 64, and 72 wk of age; and part-period egg production up to 40 (EP40), 52 (EP52), and 64 (EP64) and annual egg production up to 72 (EP72) wk of age were recorded. The weight of eggs was recorded using a digital balance (0.01 g accuracy).
Meat quality parameters, namely, the proximate composition, pH, and cholesterol content of breast muscle, from 20 Aseel cocks slaughtered at 20 wk of age were evaluated. Moisture (Sox Plus, Model SCS-6, Pelican Equipments, Chennai, India), fat, protein (Kel Plus, Model KES 6 L, Pelican Equipments, Chennai, India), and ash contents of the meat were determined as per procedures of AOAC (1995). Cholesterol content of the muscle was estimated by the Zaks and Henly method.
The pH of meat was determined as per AOAC (1995). Briefly, 5 g of meat were homogenized with 45 mL of distilled water for one min using a tissue homogenizer. The pH of the homogenate was recorded by immersing the combined glass electrode and temperature probe of the digital pH meter.
The data on qualitative characters were expressed as percentages. The descriptive statistics for various growth, production and meat quality traits were analyzed using SPSS version 16.0. One way ANOVA was carried out to study the effect of sex on body weights and shank length.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Morphological features, namely, plumage, comb, shank, ear lobe, eye, and skin color observed in Aseel chickens are presented in Table 1. Aseel chickens had compact, firm, and muscular bodies held in a distinct upright position with strong shanks, majestic gait, short curved beaks, and broad skulls. The keel bone was straight and well developed. The back was straight with a slanting appearance from the neck to the tail. Aseel birds were characterized by multicolored plumage, predominantly dark brown, black, red, golden, and white, with solid feather patterns and normal distribution (Figure 1–4). The long, glossy tail feathers drooping downwards added to the beauty of the bird. The primary feather color was black in both sexes; however, different feather colors with various combinations also were observed. Variations in plumage colors in the Aseel breed also were reported by many authors (Panda and Mohapatra, 1989; Singh, 2001; Sarkar et al., 2012; Suganti, 2014). Almost all the birds (98%) had pea combs that were small in size with dark red color and firmly set on the head. The pea comb was the breed characteristic of Aseel birds with minor variations (Singh, 2001). Strawberry combs were observed in 2% of the birds. Firm and small pea combs reduce the incidence of injuries during fights as the birds were bred for cock fights during earlier days. Similar to the present findings, strawberry combs (24.05%) were reported in Aseel from Bangladesh (Sarkar et al., 2012); however, the proportion is very low (2%) in the present study. This may be due to the purity and uniformity of the breed in India, the home tract of Aseel chickens. Wattles were observed in 72% of males, which were small in size and sometimes rudimentary. However, wattles were either absent or rudimentary in females. Sarkar et al. (2012) reported similar findings for wattles in Aseel chickens from Bangladeash. The beak color was yellow in most (95%) of the birds with 5% black coloration. Ear lobes were small and red in color in 92% of birds, and white and black colors also were observed in smaller proportions (Table 1). Small and red ear lobes were reported by Sarkar et al. (2012) from Bangladesh. Eye color was black in almost all the birds with compact and circular eyes. The neck was long with uniformly thick lustrous multicolored plumage based on the body plumage pattern. Skin colors observed were white (98%) and yellow (2%) with a bright reddish coloration on exposed parts of the skin, especially on the chest region. Similar observations were reported in Aseel by Singh (2001) from India and Sarkar et al. (2012) from Bangladesh. Spur was present in most of the males (96%) and absent in females. Aseel shanks were predominantly yellow (65%) followed by black and white in considerable proportions (Table 1). Yellow shanks were reported in Aseel from Bangladesh (Sarkar et al., 2012). The Aseel chickens were bred for game purpose over the years, evolving the features like compact and firm body structure, strong appendages (spur and toe), firmly attached pea combs, strong legs, etc., suitable for the purpose for which they were bred. All the findings confer to the Indian chicken breed standards as per ICAR-NBAGR guidelines, the nodal agency for breed characterization and registration. The observations were in accordance with American Standards of Perfection (APA 1998) and British Poultry Standards (Roberts, 1997) with little variations due to breed evolution over the years.
Qualitative characters in Aseel chickens expressed as percentage (n = 236).
Character Type/size Percentage,%
Comb Pea comb 98
Comb size Small 64
Comb color Dark red 82
Pale red 7
Wattles Males 72
Spur Males 96
Ear lobe Red 92
Black and others 2
Eye color Black 99
Skin color White 98
Shank color Yellow 65
Beak color Yellow 95
The fertility and hatchability are influenced by the breed, nutrition, age, and management of birds. The mean fertility rate was 67.18% in Aseel chickens. The hatchability percentage was low, 44.71% on total egg set (TES) and 80.87% on fertile egg set (FES), respectively. High fertility (86.96%) and hatchability (FES: 81.21% and TES: 70.74%) was reported in Aseel birds, which was under selection for improved growth (Mohan et al., 2008; Haunshi et al., 2012). The variations in fertility and hatchability might be due to the differences in age of the birds and environmental conditions. The low reproductive performance might be due to the fact that the birds were brought from the field and reared under captive conditions under a new environment, leading to reduced fertility and hatchability among the birds.
Growth performance of Aseel chickens up to 72 wk of age is presented in Table 2. The juvenile body weight and shank length at 6 wk of age were 297.7 ± 6.4 g and 57.9 ± 1.2 mm, respectively on pooled sex. The growth appears to be slow in Aseel chickens during the early period of life and birds continued to grow up to 40 wk of age. The growth was faster in the later period up to 40 wk of age. The body weights recorded up to 16 wk of age were comparable to the findings of Chatterjee et al. (2007) in Aseel chickens. Sex had significant (P ≤ 0.05) effect on body weight and shank length in the Aseel. Cocks had firm and compact bodies with broad chest and upright posture. Similar observations on sex effects were reported by Haunshi et al. (2011) in the Aseel. Higher body weights at 40 wk (Haunshi et al., 2011) and lower body weights (Mohan et al., 2008) than the present findings were reported in Aseel peela. Higher body weights in a former study might be due to the selection practiced for higher body weight in the Aseel, whereas in the present study, birds were not under any selection and brought from the field a generation before. Higher shank lengths were observed in the present study for Aseel chickens than reported by Haunshi et al., (2011). Aseel cocks have been selected for their fighting abilities with longer and stronger shanks and legs either naturally or by farmers, leading to longer and stronger shanks in the birds. The annual body weight of cocks (3.79 kg) and hens (2.33 kg) were similar to the observations of 3 to 4 kg (cocks) and 2 to 3 kg (hens) reported by Singh (2001).
Shamo i don't know wether you have Asil but they do have white skin. Unless where it's exposed like around there chest and wing knobs and around there thighs and around there went it's Pink it gets redish over time. You not the expert and im not that's why they do these types of Research and studies. I will post you a picture to get a better idea of white skin they're talking about.
I googled the article just to see the pictures to get a fair idea what they are really talking about. Aparently these are low grade asil considered as impure and dunghill. Obviously they surved the prupose of the study "meet quality" :)
"""The Aseel chickens were collected from the native breeding tract in Andhra Pradesh, India, for conservation purpose. A total of 313 chicks, produced randomly in the second generation (G-2) was utilized for the study""
I don't think you Read the whole Article.and the Research is not just meat quality. :-(:-(
I’d like to hear what you guys think about the straight comb asils and are they considered true asil, like the bangham... or is this just a type of hybrid with recent infusion of other blood? I’ve even seen pics of straight comb shamo that were in Japan also. Myself, I’m not big on using the word pure because it means something different to everyone, I’m more of a “line” guy myself.
Some claim that the home track of Asils is Panjab as well as Andhra Pradesh. I have done some reading and ended up with only one idea: if the red jungle fowl had not reached the Panjab or Rajasthan, how come asil have originated from that part of India/Pakistan?
Friend Asil USA, about single combed Shamo. These exist and are very rare. They are known as Daikiri-Shamo. See herunder a photo of this variety. This photo is from end of the 1970's. Photo source Dr Vanderheyden from Belgium
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names