Poultry is one of the most important subsectors of livestock, supplying a cheap source of good quality animal protein in the form of meat and eggs. This study was conducted to assess egg fertility, hatchability and egg quality parameters of indigenous chickens in the Hulla, Aleta Wondo and Dale districts, representing highland, midland and lowland agroecologies, respectively.
Six kebeles (two kebeles from each district) were purposively selected based on a lower distribution of exotic chickens. A total of 750 eggs of indigenous chicken were collected from three different agro-ecologies, 450 eggs were used for fertility and hatchability evaluation, and 300 eggs were used for internal and external quality analysis. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 and SAS version 9.0 packages.
The results indicated that agroecology has no significant effect on the fertility and hatchability of indigenous chicken eggs. The values of egg weight, egg length, shell weight, yolk weight, and yolk diameter and albumen weight of eggs collected from midland were higher than those of eggs from highland and lowland areas. However, the highest values for albumen height, yolk height and Haugh unit were observed on eggs collected from highland agroecology.
In conclusion, agroecology has no effect on the fertility and hatchability of indigenous chicken eggs. However, agroecology significantly affects the internal and external egg quality of indigenous chicken eggs. Therefore, the storage condition and duration of storage need consideration to maintain the external quality of eggs.