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Koekoek and White Leghorn (WLH) pure chicken breeds were crossed in 2×2 diallel mating at Haramaya University (HU) poultry farm with the objective of evaluating growth performances, feed intake, feed conversion efficiency, and age at first egg. The four genetic groups (Koekoek, WLH, Koekoek male× WLH female and WLH male × Koekoek female crosses) were obtained from 160 hens (80 from each breed) and 12 cocks (6 form each breed) using artificial insemination mating system. From a total of 172 chickens (12 cocks and 160 hens), 3 cocks and 40 hens were used from each genotype for sire and dam line, respectively. Performance of the genetic groups were monitored using 733 mixed sex chicks (from hatching to 4 weeks) and 288 four week old chicks (144 male and 144 female). Birds in each genetic group were divided into three replications and housed separately in a deep litter pen. The design of the experiment was completely random design (CRD) and data were analyzed using the General Linear Model (GLM) of SAS software. The result showed that there were significant (p<0.05) differences in growth performance, body conformation measurements and feed conversion efficiency among genetic groups. The main cross and pure Koekoek exhibited significantly higher growth performance, low (efficient) feed conversion ratio and body conformation measurements (shank length and breast girth) than reciprocal and WLH genotypes. For age at first egg and mortality traits significantly better or higher performance were exhibited by main cross than all genotypes. From this study it is plausible to conclude that, the result shall encourage poultry breeders and farmers to cross these two pure breeds to exploit heterosis for production and reproduction traits in traditional poultry production system. Thus, the cross between White Leghorn pullet and Koekoek cockerels is recommended for poultry breeders to take advantage of heterosis for growth performance, feed efficiency, age at first egg (AFE) and mortality.
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