Performance of Chickens under Semi-scavenging Conditions: A Case Study of Ilima and Lubanda Villages, Rungwe District, Tanzania
AbstractA study was conducted in Ilima and Lubanda villages, Ilima ward in Rungwe district to assess farmers' socio-economic status and determine the productivity of local chickens and their crosses under village management conditions. A cross sectional survey design using structured questionnaires was used to collect demographic, chicken production, production constraints and income data from 340 households. The 340 households were selected from the two villages out of 600 households which participated in the Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) funded project between 2006 and 2008. Each of the 340 households was given one Rhode Island Red (RIR) rooster or hen for crossbreeding with local chickens. Data were analyzed using a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software. Findings from the study showed that on the average, a household consisted of 5 people with mean age of 46.7 years and were mainly headed by males (77.8%), and that household’s main sources of income were crop farming (42.4%), livestock production (42.0%), business (21.1%), wages (7.8%) and carpentry (6.7%). Each household had a minimum of one cross breed and one local chicken and a maximum of 15 crosses and 15 local chickens at the beginning of the Project in 2006. As a result of project intervention, the number grew to a maximum of 20 crosses and 30 local chickens per household. Monthly income obtained from chickens in the participating households was between 100/= and 90,000/= Tanzanian Shillings (TAS) with a mean of 11,777.55/= TAS. Chicken production constraints identified included diseases and parasites, unavailability of feeds during the dry season, theft, lack of chicken management skills, predators and lack of capital. An average of 16 chickens per household was lost per year due to diseases, predators, accidents, and theft. Diseases were the leading causes of chicken losses. About 71% of respondents vaccinated their chickens while 29.4% did not. Of the vaccines used, 98.2% were against Newcastle disease while 1.8% were against other diseases. Overall, the households which participated in the project benefited from it in terms of improved poultry management skills and income. It was recommended that farmers be further trained in improved chicken management practices including chicken immunization especially against Newcastle disease, prevention and treatment of parasitic diseases especially fleas as well as chicken house construction so as to avoid the risks of predators.
Keywords: Chicken production and constraints, household, income, village management conditions