The most reared species of farm animal around the world is the chicken. However, the intensification of livestock systems has led to a gradual increase in the concentration of a limited number of breeds, resulting in substantial erosion to the genetic pool. The initial step of an ‘animal conservation program’ entails establishing the actual conservation statuses of the breeds concerned in a defined area; in this case, in Italy. To this end, a survey of breeds was performed by means of a census questionnaire divided into two parts. The first part collected information on breeds, breeders, housing facilities, and management aspects, the results of which are presented here. The second part of the questionnaire regarded chicken products and their markets, and these data will be reported in a second paper. The breed status of six chicken breeds was shown to be exceptionally worrying, with total numbers ranging from just 18 to 186 birds. Population sizes exceeding 1000 birds was identified for just four breeds, the maximum being 3400. Some improvements in status were noted in relation to breeds which had been the subject of conservation efforts in the past. The two most common breeds reported are the Bionda Piemontese, a double-purpose breed, and the Livorno egg-laying hen. Collo Nudo Italiano, Millefiori Piemontese, Pollo Trentino, and Tirolese chicken breeds and the Castano Precoce turkey breed were not listed by breeders at all. The most reported turkey breeds are the Bronzato Comune and the Ermellinato di Rovigo. The population sizes of native Italian poultry breeds were shown to be generally poor. Italian poultry farmers and the population at large are largely ignorant about indigenous poultry breeds. Thus, promoting the virtues of Italian breeds would help their conservation by encouraging breeders to rear these birds and consumers to buy their products. The identification of strategies to facilitate access to pure breed birds is essential, and will require the collaboration of university research centers, public entities, and breeders. The results presented in this paper constitute the initial part of a more complex conservation program.

Overview of native chicken breeds in Italy: Conservation status and rearing systems in use

Gariglio M.;Franzoni A.;Soglia D.;Sartore S.;Schiavone A.
2021

Abstract

The most reared species of farm animal around the world is the chicken. However, the intensification of livestock systems has led to a gradual increase in the concentration of a limited number of breeds, resulting in substantial erosion to the genetic pool. The initial step of an ‘animal conservation program’ entails establishing the actual conservation statuses of the breeds concerned in a defined area; in this case, in Italy. To this end, a survey of breeds was performed by means of a census questionnaire divided into two parts. The first part collected information on breeds, breeders, housing facilities, and management aspects, the results of which are presented here. The second part of the questionnaire regarded chicken products and their markets, and these data will be reported in a second paper. The breed status of six chicken breeds was shown to be exceptionally worrying, with total numbers ranging from just 18 to 186 birds. Population sizes exceeding 1000 birds was identified for just four breeds, the maximum being 3400. Some improvements in status were noted in relation to breeds which had been the subject of conservation efforts in the past. The two most common breeds reported are the Bionda Piemontese, a double-purpose breed, and the Livorno egg-laying hen. Collo Nudo Italiano, Millefiori Piemontese, Pollo Trentino, and Tirolese chicken breeds and the Castano Precoce turkey breed were not listed by breeders at all. The most reported turkey breeds are the Bronzato Comune and the Ermellinato di Rovigo. The population sizes of native Italian poultry breeds were shown to be generally poor. Italian poultry farmers and the population at large are largely ignorant about indigenous poultry breeds. Thus, promoting the virtues of Italian breeds would help their conservation by encouraging breeders to rear these birds and consumers to buy their products. The identification of strategies to facilitate access to pure breed birds is essential, and will require the collaboration of university research centers, public entities, and breeders. The results presented in this paper constitute the initial part of a more complex conservation program.
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article n. 490
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Autochthonous poultry; Avian biodiversity; Italian poultry breeds
Castillo A.; Gariglio M.; Franzoni A.; Soglia D.; Sartore S.; Buccioni A.; Mannelli F.; Cassandro M.; Cendron F.; Castellini C.; Mancinelli A.C.; Iaffaldano N.; Di Iorio M.; Marzoni M.; Salvucci S.; Cerolini S.; Zaniboni L.; Schiavone A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1776034
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