A short summary of the importance of the current phase in the local bicycle chicken project

18 months after the very first plans were drawn up, the Boussé selection centre is now operational as a unique local African breeding and selection centre.

Prior to this project, the conventional improvement model for local chick production was based solely on introducing exotic males to improve the performance of the local female off-spring. This was relatively easy to implement but had limited sustainability as the laying potential is still limited by the performance of the local female and therefore limits the effect on volume of day old chick productions.

Today, by reversing this process and concentrating on the males, the Selection Centre in Boussé is producing local selected male breeders, the Coq du Faso, to be crossed with exotic females the Sasso hen, which have a higher egg producing capacity than local Burkina females. This unique and innovative concept results in a fast and increased capacity of day old chick production. In addition day old chicks will be vaccinated against Newcastle Disease at the hatchery reducing mortality. The end product, the ‘poulet du faso’ or Faso Chicken yields a heavier carcasse with more meat per animal and therefore a greater economic gain for the farmer.  The selection centre has been specifically designed to continuously produce males, whilst simultaneously running pedigree work through selection to improve performances.

Today we have a flock of local coq breeders that are tested against diseases transmitted vertically (from hen to chick) like avian leucosis and individually identified.

There is also a small hatchery set up in the selection centre to autonomously produce ‘Coq du Faso’ . These males will then be cross bred with the SASSO females and the by-product females will be sold as selected local females.

Performance analysis of the the local parent stock at Boussé (e.g. fertility, hatchability, laying capacity, growth) and selection of only the best genetic lines as replacement stock, will result in improved genetic potential of the Coq with each new generation. The first pilot batch of “Poulets du Faso” was produced at the selection centre in Boussé by crossing the French rustic breed and the local coqs. These chicks are now being raised by local farmers, mostly women, under local farming conditions alongside the traditional Burkina chicks and being carefully monitored. The chicks were compared in size and weight after the first four weeks; the Poulet du Faso had grown twice as fast as the Burkinabe chicks.

Article by: Dr Pierre Marie Borne

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