Rural poultry production and health management practices in central zone of tigray, Ethiopia
Keywords:Chickens; Feeding; Housing; Scavenging
The objective of this study was to assess rural poultry production andmanagement practices in lowland and midland agro-ecological zones of centralTigray in Northern Ethiopia (13015’ and 14039’ North latitude, and 380 34’ and39025’ East longitude). A total of 160households, 80 from male and 80 from female headed households were selectedrandomly. All farmers in both agro-ecologies provided supplementary feed andwater to their chickens but did not use feed trough, they simply poured thegrain on the ground. About 62.5% of the households in midland and 40% inlowland constructed separate poultry house. There was positive correlation (r =0.48, n=160) between separate housing and flock size. About 81.25% of the producers in the lowlandand 87.5% in the midland selected hens for breeding purpose. Selection andculling of chickens were considered as best traditional breeding practices inboth agro-ecologies. About 75% and 87.5% of the male and female headedhouseholds in lowland and 92.5% and 82.5% of the male and female headedhouseholds in midland, respectively selected hens for breeding purpose usingdifferent selection criteria. Culling age of cocks in midland (2.8±0.08 years) wassignificantly higher (P<0.0001) than in lowland (2.5±0.08 years). About 75%of the male and 50% of the female headed households in lowland and 72.5% of themale and 65% of the female headed households in midland treated their chickensat home traditionally. Different types of treatment methods were used to treatsick chickens and the type of traditional treatment methods used by thehouseholds showed significant (X2=92.3; P<0.001) variation. Diseases, poorveterinary services, below standard housing, poor nutrition and neglecting thelocal chickens in extension packages are the major constraints of the systembut the desire of the farmers to promote poultry production and theirindigenous knowledge on culling and selection practice could be an opportunity toimprove the sector.
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