Feed resources management of smallholder sheep and goat producers in Imo and Enugu states of southeastern Nigeria
A survey was conducted in six hundred households spread across two Local Government Areas of Imo and Enugu Slates of southeastern Nigeria, where either sheep, goat or both were reared at the time of the study. The study was conducted with the aid of questionnaires, farm visits and personal interviews, to determine the feed and feed resources management of smallholder sheep and goat producers in the area. Materials fed to sheep and goats included cut forage such as grasses, weeds, herbs, forbs, trees and shrubs, lianas, crop residues, kitchen and local food processing wastes. Cut forage was fed to goats and sheep by 84.3 and 32.3% of the farmers irrespective of season. Kitchen waste was the commonest type of supplementary feed offered in 84.0% of the households irrespective of season and animal species. Concentrate and improved pasture were rarely fed to sheep and goats. Crop residue was offered by 7.4% and 9.4% of the sheep and goat farmers respectively. Feed shortages were more prevalent in the dry season. Fodder conservation and agro-forestry were not practiced except for live fencing. About 40.3% and 22.6% of the
smallholder goat and sheep farmers adopted cut and carry feeding system alone, 56.7 and 14.0% adopted cut and carry in conjunction with free grazing, 26.4 and 63.4% practiced free grazing, where 0.25 and 4.0% adopted tethering in bush fellows for goats and sheep respectively. Shepherd grazing was not practiced.
Keywords: Smallholder farmers, feed resources, fodder, browse, crop residue, sheep, goat, Nigeria