The place and importance of indigenous chicken in a subsistence economy
Most households in developing countries subsist mainly on products from homes and farms. Captive animals like cane rats, snails etc, remain the only source of meat during much of a life time. To improve the meat production and consumption of subsistence households, attention should be given to smaller breeds of livestock. The domestic chicken exemplifies the possibility which small breeds of livestock offer for improving the living standard of subsistence households. The chicken occupies a leading position in the livestock industry for reasons including acceptability, adaptability, viability and advantages over other meats because it does not contain much of the unhealthy trans and saturated fats. Rather, chicken meat is rich in the desirable mono-saturated fats and the polyunsaturated fatty acids. Subsistence chicken production is characterized by indigenous chicken kept on free-range system, which is described as the only type of production that can be afforded by the poorer members of a society. Subsistence chicken production contributes directly to the social and economic well-being of the family while the chicken itself is described as the commonest economic resource available to the poor.
Keywords: Subsistence, chicken, living standard, family, importance, free-range