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Cockerel Production, Breeds and Benefits of Cockerel

Poultry farming in one of the lucrative farming enterprises in most countries in Agriculture sector. Poultry meat mainly comes from two sources: broilers and cockerel. The small poultry farmer prefers to rear cockerel than broiler because of low cost and lesser susceptibility to disease compared to broiler production.

Cockerels are the young roosters, the male counterparts of the layers (meant for egg production) which reach maturity within 5 to 6 months of age. Before the discovery of modern broiler, cockerels were the meat producers while the hen lays eggs for chicks or table purpose.

Since hatcheries produced separate hybrids for meat and egg productions, the pullets (layers) are kept for egg production while the cockerels given out at a very cheap price. Thinking of commercial meat production, most farmers do not consider cockerel for some reasons.

Some of the reasons for rejecting the cockerels on commercial quantity are:
1. Slow growth rate.
2. Low feed conversion rate.
3. Non tender meat at maturity.

Even with the above reasons, there are still advantageous features of the Cockerels over Broilers. Good features of cockerels are as follow:
1. Cost of chicks is very low which enhances more profit.
2. Cockerels are strong and therefore easier to raise.
3. Meat from cockerels possess better taste due to their age at maturity.
4. Cockerels can easily be raised on free range system.
5. Many consumers have preference for tougher meat at home.

With respect to the above features, cockerels can be commercially raised in two grades which are Juveniles and Roosters. Juvenile cockerels have to do with brooding of day old chicks till they are 4 week old when they can be sold out to other backyard farmers who cannot withstand the stress of brooding process. Keeping of Roosters involve rearing of the birds for about 20 to 24 weeks. By then, they are matured cockerels ready for consumption having the body weight of about 2.5 kg when all things are being equal.

Cockerels are raised in both urban and rural areas. Cockerel is a male chicken under one year of age.

Benefit of Cockerel Production or Farming

  1. The meat is tasty and well-accepted
  2. There is no taboo against eating of the meat
  3. It can be raised on small and large-scale.
  4. Cockerel is hardy and less susceptible to disease compared to other poultry
  5. It can be raised under intensive and semi-intensive system of production.
  6. The meat is low in fat and cholesterol compared to broiler’s meat
  7. It is commonly raised by local people
  8. It is a good source of animal protein and it is of high biologicalvalue.
  9. It is a good source of income to farmers
  10. The business can be combined with other farm business
  11. The day old cockerel could be easily sourced.
  12. Cockerel marketing is all year round and not seasonal.
  13. At maturity it can reach market weight of 3-4kg.

There are different types of cockerel breeds in the world. The breeds could be classified as; (i) Local cockerel (ii) Exotic cockerel.

Read Also: Vaccination Program for Cockerel Birds

Types of Exotic Breeds of Cockerel Chicken

A)     Australorp

Origin                    –              Australia

Classification      –              Heavy breed

Weight                 –              3.20 – 3.60kg

Colours available-            Black

B)      Gold Laced Wvandottes

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy breed

Egg colour           –              Tinted

Weights               –              3.20 – 3.80

C)      Rhode Island Reds

Vaccination Program for Cockerel Chickens
Cockerel chicken

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft Feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted to brown

Weights               –              3.00 – 3.60kg

Colours available-            Red

D)     Plymouth Rocks

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft Feather

Weights               –              3.6 – 4.30kg

E)      Silkies

Origin                    –              Asia

Classification      –              Light Breed, Soft feather

Weights               –              1.20 – 1.50kg

Colours available-            White, Black, Lavender, Blue, Partridge.

F)      Light Sussex

Origin                    –              Britain

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Weight                 –              3.20 – 3.60kg

Colour available-              Light

G)     Rhode Island Whites

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted to brown

Weights               –              3.40 – 3.90kg

Coloures available-          White

H)     Speckled Sussex

Origin                    –              Britain

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted

Weights               –              3.60 – 4.10kg

Colours available-            Speckled.

LOCAL COCKEREL

It is of small stature. The colour varies from one region to the others. It is hardy and reared mainly under extensive system of production where they roam about and fend for themselves. The matire size could reach up to 2.5kg

Classification of Cockerel

Name                    –              Cockerel

Kingdom              –              Animalia

Order                    –              Galliformes

Family                   –              Phasianidae

Genus                   –              Gallus

Specie                   –              gallus or domesticus

Zoological Name               –              Gallus gallus or Gallus domesticus

Reference

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