Indigenous chicken production environments, reproductive and productive performances and constraints in kaffa zone, south western Ethiopia
The main objective of this study was to describe the production systems, productive performances and associated constraints of indigenous chicken populations in Kaffa Zone. From ten districts of Kaffa Zone, three districts were purposively selected based on their potential for indigenous chicken population and accessibility. From each rural kebeles those households who possess a minimum of five mature indigenous chicken were purposively selected. Then, data on both qualitative and quantitative variables were collected from 300 purposively selected households using a semi-structured questioner. The results indicated that majority of the respondent were female (71.1%) and 56% of them were illiterate. The average family size per household was 5.86. Farmers mainly keep their chickens in the kitchen (60.7%) and main houses (30.7 %). Maize (55.7 %) and sorghum (20.3 %) were the major feed supplements provided by the households. The average chicken flock size, age at first egg (months), average egg/hen/clutch (clutch size), clutch number and annual egg/hen/year were 8.68, 6.09, 12.3, 3.6 and 44, respectively. The average hatchability was 80.5%. The major production constraints were predators (72.7 %) and diseases (27.3 %) across the studied districts. The type of predators which are commonly occurring included Buteo jamaicensis locally known as “Gace”, Helogale hirtula locally known as “Shiifoo” or “Wociwoco”, Felis silvestris locally known as “Haallaro” and Felis catus locally known as “Kubbi Kullaro” accounted about 54.6, 24.4, 15.5, and 5.5 % respectively. The effective population size and rate of inbreeding were 486 and 0.111% indicating chicken populations in the study area are not exposed to inbreeding. In conclusion, the current study indicates illiterate female farmers were mainly involved in care and managing of chickens under scavenging system. The performances of chickens were comparable with the national reports under scavenging system; however, these performances were influenced by predators and diseases. Therefore, educating and training women’s should be implemented to improve the overall socio-economic status of the family and benefit them. In addition, successful intervention strategy should be carried out to effectively utilize the existing potentials of indigenous chicken populations in line with predator and disease control programs. Again, conservation of the indigenous chicken populations should also be considered before they have been diluted with exotic breeds
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