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Use of factor scores for predicting body weight from linear body measurements in three South African indigenous chicken breeds

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Body weight and weight of body parts are of economic importance. It is difficult to directly predict body weight from highly correlated morphological traits through multiple regression. Factor analysis was carried out to examine the relationship between body weight and five linear body measurements (body length, body girth, wing length, shank thickness, and shank length) in South African Venda (VN), Naked neck (NN), and Potchefstroom koekoek (PK) indigenous chicken breeds, with a view to identify those factors that define body conformation. Multiple regression was subsequently performed to predict body weight, using orthogonal traits derived from the factor analysis. Measurements were obtained from 210 chickens, 22 weeks of age, 70 chickens per breed. High correlations were obtained between body weight and all body measurements except for wing length in PK. Two factors extracted after varimax rotation explained 91, 95, and 83 % of total variation in VN, NN, and PK, respectively. Factor 1 explained 73, 90, and 64 % in VN, NN, and PK, respectively, and was loaded on all body measurements except for wing length in VN and PK. In a multiple regression, these two factors accounted for 72 % variation in body weight in VN, while only factor 1 accounted for 83 and 74 % variation in body weight in NN and PK, respectively. The two factors could be used to define body size and conformation of these breeds. Factor 1 could predict body weight in all three breeds. Body measurements can be better selected jointly to improve body weight in these breeds.

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This study was conducted successfully with the aid of the financial support from the Department Of Agricultural Economics and Animal Production, University of Limpopo, and we would like to acknowledge their support.

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Correspondence to David Norris.

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Malomane, D.K., Norris, D., Banga, C.B. et al. Use of factor scores for predicting body weight from linear body measurements in three South African indigenous chicken breeds. Trop Anim Health Prod 46, 331–335 (2014).

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