Livestock Research for Rural Development 16 (11) 2004

Citation of this paper

Egg production performance of RIR x Fayoumi and Fayoumi x RIR crossbreed chicken under intensive management in Bangladesh#

M M Rahman, M A Baqui* and M A R Howlider**

Department of zoology, Jahangirnagar university, Savar, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh
Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, Savar, Dhaka
*Dept. of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka.
**Dept. of Poultry Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh.
#This paper is a part of first author's Ph. D. Thesis.




An experiment was conducted to compare the egg production performances of RIR x Fayoumi and Fayoumi x RIR crossbreed chicken under intensive feeding and management. One hundred and thirty two pullets (66 from each crossbreed) were caged individually at 16 weeks of age and reared up to 70 weeks under natural light and with a balanced feed containing 18% crude  protein.


There was a slight improvement in egg production from the crossbreed of Fayoumi male and RIR female compared with the reciprocal cross; however age at onset of lay, fed intake and mortality did not differ.


Key words: Chicken, crossbreed, egg production, Fayoumi, RIR.




The genetic makeup of the birds and nutritional management largely determine the efficiency of poultry production in the existing smallholder mixed farming system of rural Bangladesh. The rural farmers have been traditionally rearing small flocks of poultry birds for subsidiary income and to supplement nutrition for their families.  The women in the community are mainly involved in the subsidiary income generation activity  (BBS 1995). The local deshi (native) chicken are genetically poor producers having a range of live weight of 1.0 to 1.2 kg and laying from 42 to 45 small size eggs (35 to 40g) annually under existing scavenging management (Bulbul 1983; Sazzad 1986; Huque and Haque 1990).


Recent studies indicated that the egg production at smallholder level could be doubled in the existing production system through intervention of crossbreeding in the semi-scavenging poultry model (Rahman et al 1997). The semi-scavenging poultry rearing model has been developed in Bangladesh by the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) for rural smallholder farmers (BRAC 1994). The model comprises small units of breeders, mini hatcheries, chick rearing units and the smallholder farmers as end-producers with small flocks of 10 Sonali (RIR x Fayoumi) crossbreed hens (Jensen 1996; Jensen 1997;  Saleque and Mustafa 1997). It has been shown that RIR and Fayoumi are successful parent breeds in the government farms. Ambar et al (1999) named the cross between RIR male and Fayoumi female as "SONALI" (golden colour in Bengali).  In the semi-scavenging poultry model, the Sonali chicks are reared in confinement during the first 8 weeks of age in the chick rearing unit after which they scavenge part-time for some days in the smallholder farmer's yard and are gradually shifted to the existing scavenging system. Sonali performed best among eight exotic breed combinations with highest egg production (156 eggs/hen/ year), lowest mortality and highest profit per hen (Rahman et al 1997). In another study, the productivity of Sonali was found to be higher and more profitable compared to RIR and Fayoumi under smallholder hill farming condition with feed supplementation (Rahman et al 1998). The government's DLS have been maintaining RIR and Fayoumi breeds in their farms and producing Sonali chicks for rural smallholder farmers. To establish the semi-scavenging poultry model in Bangladesh, DLS have been executing the Participatory Livestock Development Programme (Nazir Ahmed 2000; PLDP 2001) involving leading NGO's like BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), PROSHIKA and TMSS (Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha).


However, one report showed that the crossbreed of Fayoumi male and RIR female produced significantly more eggs than the reverse cross (Sonali) with two different diets (Abou-el-Kassem Abd-el-Latif et al 1987). In view of the above conflicting findings, the current research was designed to compare the egg production performance of RIR x Fayoumi and Fayoumi x RIR crossbreeds under farm condition of rural Bangladesh.


Materials and Methods


A total of 132 selected pullets from two breed combinations, (66 RIR x Fayoumi and 66 Fayoumi x RIR) were placed in individual cages (3 tier, double sided x 3 units) at the age of 16 weeks in an open sided poultry house to study the egg production of individual hens. The pullets were produced at the Central Poultry Farm (CPF), Mirpur, Dhaka, through planned breeding and were grown in a nearby village small poultry farm of Jahangirnagar University. The individual cages (30cm x 20cm x 45cm) were marked by serial number and acted as  identification of the birds. The birds were randomly distributed among 6 lines of each cage unit, with one line being composed of one of the two breed combinations. Feed containing 18% crude protein and 2700 kcal/kg energy was fed up to 70 weeks of age. Feeding and watering were ad libitum and identical for both the treatment groups. The birds were de-wormed every 2 months. Birds were exposed to natural light as practiced in rural areas of Bangladesh. Birds were vaccinated against Newcastle disease (RDV) at 6 month intervals. Statistical analysis was done using a package programme (SPSS (1999).. A T-test was performed to compare all data between genotypes. The mortality percentage data were transformed in ARCSIN as Y=Sin-1Öx (Steel and Torrie 1980) prior to statistical analysis.


Results and discussion


There were no differences between the two crossbreeds in age at first egg, egg weight and mortality (Table 1), however, egg production was higher for the cross of Fayoumi male and RIR female (Figure 1).   The lack of difference in age at first egg contrasts with the data of Abou-el-Kassem Abd-el-Latif et al (1987) who reported  earlier egg laying in the Fayoumi x RIR compared with RIR x Fayoumi.

Table 1. Egg production performances of RIR x Fayoumi (FAY) and FAY x RIR crossbreed hens


Breed combination

SED and
Level of significance+



Age at first egg d 1




Egg production % (H.D. basis up to 70 weeks of age) 2



1.395* *

Egg weight, g 4




Feed consumption, g / bird / day (19-70 weeks of age) 3




Mortality % (19-70 weeks of age)




SED Standard Error of  Difference;  NS Not significanat; * * P<0.01

The higher egg production observed in Fayoumi x RIR (Table 1 and Figure 1) than in RIR x Fayoumi is in accordance with the findings of Abou-el-Kassem Abd-el-Latif et al (1987). They found 7.5 and 3% higher egg production in Fayoumi x RIR than in RIR x Fayoumi up to the age of 39 weeks under two feeding regimes.

Figure 1. Egg production pattern of RIR x Fayoumi (Fay) and Fay x RIR crossbreed hens

The RIR x Fayoumi and Fayoumi x RIR crossbreeds under natural lighting pattern in the present study reached peak egg production at 25 and 26 weeks of age, thereafter the egg production pattern was day length dependant (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Monthly egg production of RIR x Fayoumi (Fay) and Fay x RIR crossbreed hens according to day length


Table 2. Live weights (g) of RIR x Fayoumi (FAY) and FAY x RIR cross breed hens at different ages

Age, weeks

Breed combination

SED and
Level of significance+



























The live weights of hens of both the genotypes (Table 2) were similar at 6 different ages.




The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and cooperation of the owner of the small poultry farm in the village, Jahangirnagar University, Department of Livestock Services. The Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute hosted the experiment. Funding came from the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) and the World Bank (ARMP, IDA 2815-BD).



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Ambar M A J, Bhuiyan A K F H, Hoque M A and Amin M R 1999: Ranking of some pure and crossbred chicken using scoring indices. Indian Journal of Poultry Science, 34(2) 140-146.


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BRAC 1994 Poultry programme, RDP annual report, Mohakhali, Dhaka, Bangladesh. pp 21-24.

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SPSS 1999 SPSS for Windows. Standard Version. 10.0.1


Steel R G R and Torrie J H 1980 Principles and Procedures of Statistics, 2nd edition. Mc Graw-Hill Int. Book Co. New Delhi.

Received 12 August 2004; Accepted 13 September 2004

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