The aim of the study was to evaluate heterotic and combining ability effects for growth in nine chicken genotypes. A 3 × 3 complete diallel mating system involving two indigenous breeds named Venda (V) and Naked Neck (N) and one commercial broiler breed named Ross 308 (R) were used. The nine genetic groups of crosses were reared up from hatch to 13 weeks of age in deep litter open house. Body weights of 180 chicks (20 chicks per genetic group), recorded at 0, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 weeks of age, were used to estimate heterosis, general combining ability (GCA), and specific combining ability (SCA). Results showed that the Ross 308 had the heaviest body weight at all weeks of measurement except for hatch. With respect to crosses, the V × R and its reciprocal cross, R × V had the heaviest body weights at 13 weeks. Heterosis estimates for body weight were higher in the Venda male × Ross 308 female and Venda male and Naked Neck female crosses. GCA was significant (P ≤ 0. 01) for body weight from hatch to 13 weeks of age while SCA and reciprocal effects were both significant (P ≤ 0. 05) for body weight at all ages of measurement except for hatch. The Ross 308 gave the highest positive effect of GCA for body weight except for hatch. V × N gave the highest and positive effects of SCA for body weight.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology