The Nigerian indigenous chickens (NICs) are a critical component of the global animal genetic resources. They are distributed in rural areas, kept by the majority of the rural poor. They constitute different strains, or ecotypes local to tribes, regions, or ecological zones and are valued for their disease resistance, adaptation, and yield of valuable products and income on marginal inputs making them a low risk species. They are hence a unique and vital genetic resource and gene pool for present and long-term genetic improvement and human need for food and sustenance. The NIC is however; threatened by extinction owing to neglect, negative selection, breed substitution, and genetic introgression. There is need to draw research and policy attention to the conservation of NICs in accord with the global effort for the conservation of indigenous chickens which is probably the most neglected among farm animal species. The present review therefore, focuses on the physical and performance characteristics, genetic diversity and improvement, utilization and conservation of NIC genetic resources.
Part of the book: Landraces