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This study is involved on how Keeping poultry makes a substantial contribution to household food security throughout the developing world. It helps diversify incomes and provides quality food, energy, fertilizer and a renewable asset in over 80 percent of rural households. Small-scale producers are however constrained by poor access to markets, goods and services; they have weak institutions and lack skills, knowledge and appropriate technologies. The result is that both production and productivity remain well below potential and losses and wastage can be high. However, adapted breeds, local feed resources and appropriate vaccines are available, along with proven technologies that can substantially improve productivity and income generation.


Title Page i
Caritas logo ii
Approval Page iii
Certification Page iv
Dedication v
Acknowledgement vi
Abstract vii
Table of Contents



CHAPTER ONE                                                                                1

  • Introduction 1
  • Background to the Study 1
  • Production System 9

CHAPTER TWO                                                                               10

  • Review of Related Literature 10
  • Training and Management 11
  • Marketing and Socio -Economics 13

CHAPTER THREE                                                                           17

  • Species and Breeds 17
  • Feed Resources 25
  • General Management 30
  • Baby Chick Management 46
  • Disease Control in Family Flocks 58

CHAPTER FOUR                                                                              69

  • System Architecture 69
  • System Flow Chart 71
  • Pseudo Code 73

CHAPTER FIVE                                                                               75

  • General Conclusion 75
  • Recommendation 76

Reference                                                                                          79

Appendices      80



Importance of Family Poultry

Family poultry is defined as small-scale poultry keeping by households using family labour and, wherever possible, locally available feed resources. The poultry may range freely in the household compound and find much of their own food, getting supplementary amounts from the householder. Participants at a 1989 workshop in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, defined rural poultry as a flock of less than 100 birds, of unimproved or improved breed, raised in either extensive or intensive farming systems. Labour is not salaried, but drawn from the family household (Sonaiya

E                    )   D   P   L   O            S   R   X   O   W   U            Z   D                       V individual farm families in order to obtain food security, income and gainful employment for wom  H   Q         D   Q   G         F   K   L   O   G   U   H   Q   ´               %                                    U Family poultry is quite distinct from medium to large-scale commercial poultry farming.

Family poultry is rarely the sole means of livelihood for the family but is one of a number of integrated and complementary farming activities contributing to the overall well-being of the household. Poultry provide a major income-generating activity from the sale of birds and eggs. Occasional consumption provides a  valuable source of protein in the diet. Poultry also play an important socio-cultural role in many societies. Poultry keeping uses family labour, and women (who often own as well as look after the family flock) are major beneficiaries. Women often have an important role in the development of family poultry production as extension workers and in vaccination programmes.

For smallholder farmers in developing countries (especially in low income, food- deficient countries [LIFDC]), family poultry represents one of the few opportunities for saving, investment and security against risk. In some of these countries, family poultry accounts for approximately 90 percent of the total poultry production (Branckaert, 1999). In Bangladesh for example, family poultry represents more than 80 percent of the total poultry production, and 90 percent of the 18 million rural households keep poultry. Landless families in Bangladesh  form 20 percent of the population (Fattah, 1999, citing the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 1998) and they keep between five and seven chickens per household. In LIFDC countries, family poultry-produced meat and eggs are estimated to contribute 20 to 30 percent of the total animal protein supply (Alam, 1997, and Branckaert, 1999), taking second place to milk products (38 percent), which are mostly imported. Similarly, in Nigeria, family poultry represents approximately 94 percent of total poultry keeping, and accounts for nearly four percent of the total estimated value of the livestock resources in the country. Family poultry represents percent of the estimated 82 million adult chickens in Nigeria. In Ethiopia, rural poultry accounts for 99 percent of the national total production of poultry meat and eggs (Tadelle et al.,2000).

Poultry are the smallest livestock investment a village household can make. Yet the poverty-stricken farmer needs credit assistance even to manage this first investment step on the ladder out of poverty. Poultry keeping is traditionally the role of women in many developing countries. Female-headed households represent 20 to 30 percent of all rural households in Bangladesh (Saleque, 1999), and women are more disadvantaged in terms of options for income generation. In sub-Saharan Africa, 85 percent of all households keep poultry, with women owning 70 percent of the poultry. (Guéye, 1998 and Branckaert, 1999, citing World Poultry 14).

Income generation is the primary goal of family poultry keeping. Eggs can provide a regular, albeit small, income while the sale of live birds provides a more flexible source of cash as required. For example, in the Dominican Republic, family poultry contributes 13 percent of the income from animal production (Rauen et al., 1990). The importance of poultry to rural households is illustrated by the example below from the United Republic of Tanzania (see Table 1.1). Assuming an indigenous hen lays 30 eggs per year, of which 50 percent are consumed and the remainder have a hatchability of 80 percent, then each hen will produce 12 chicks per year. Assuming six survive to maturity (with 50 percent mortality), and assuming that three pullets and three are cockerels, the output from one hen projected over five years would total 120 kg of meat and 195 (6.8 kg) eggs.


Table 1.1 Projected output from a single initial hen


Time (months)

hatching eggs











0 1
8 1
20 15 3 3 1
28 3 3
40 45 9 9 6
48 9 9
60 135 27 27 18


Total 195 39 40 12 13 25


Source: Kabatange and Katule, 1989.


A study on income generation in transmigrant farming systems in East Kalimantan, Indonesia (see Table 1.1), showed that family poultry accounted for about 53 percent of the total income, and was used for food, school fees and unexpected expenses such as medicines (Ramm et al.,1984).


Flock composition is heavily biased towards chickens in Africa and South Asia, with more ducks in East Asia and South America. Flock size ranges from 5 – 100 in Africa, 10 – 30 in South America and 5 – 20 in Asia. Flock size is related to the poultry farming objectives of:

home consumption only;

home consumption and cultural reasons; income and home consumption; and income only.

In Bangladesh (Jensen, 1999), the average production rate per local hen of 50 eggs/year was regarded by some as low productivity. However, if it is considered that 50 eggs per hen per year represents four hatches from four clutches of eggs laid, incubated and hatched by the mother hen, and the outcome is 30 saleable chicken reared per year (assuming no eggs sold or eaten, 80 percent hatchability and 25 percent rearing mortality), then it is a remarkably high productivity.




Family poultry are kept under a wide range of conditions, which can be classified into one of four broad production systems (Bessei, 1987):

free-range extensive;

backyard extensive;

semi-intensive; and intensive.


Table 1.2 Flock size and poultry farming objectives in Nigeria


Objectives Flock size % of sample
Home consumption only 1-10 30
Home consumption and cultural reasons 1-10
Income and home consumption 11-30 44


Income only >50 10.5


Source: Sonaiya, 1990a.


Free-Range Extensive Systems


In Africa, Asia and Latin America, 80 percent of farmers keep poultry in the first two extensive systems. Under free-range conditions, the birds are not confined and can scavenge for food over a wide area. Rudimentary shelters may be provided, and these may or may not be used. The birds may roost outside, usually in trees, and nest in the bush. The flock contains birds of different species and varying ages.


Backyard Extensive Systems


Poultry are housed at night but allowed free-range during the day. They are usually fed a handful of grain in the morning and evening to supplement scavenging.


Semi-Intensive Systems


These are a combination of the extensive and intensive systems where birds are confined to a certain area with access to shelter. They are commonly found in


urban and peri-  X   U   E   D   Q        D   V        Z   H

rOun O´         VD


PU       D   O confined in an enclosed area outside during the day and housed at night. Feed and water are available in the house to avoid wastage by rain, wind and wild animals. In the European system of free-range poultry keeping, there are two other types of housing.  The  first  of  t   K   H   V   Hark  ´ L   V V  

overnight (for security against predators) in a building mounted on two rails or skids (usually wooden), which enable it to be moved from place to place with draught power. A typical size is 2 × 2.5 m to hold about 40 birds.


density) for adult birds of typically 3 to 4 birds per square metre (birds/m2), both inside and (at least this) outside. The fold unit is usually small enough to be moved by one person. Neither of these two systems is commonly found in developing countries.


Intensive Systems


These systems are used by medium to large-scale commercial enterprises, and are also used at the household level. Birds are fully confined either in houses or cages. Capital outlay is higher and the birds are totally dependent on their owners for all their requirements; production however is higher. There are three types of  intensive systems:


Deep litter system: birds are fully confined (with floor space allowance of 3 to 4 birds/m2 within a house, but can move around freely. The floor is covered with a deep litter (a 5 to 10 cm deep layer) of grain husks (maize or rice), straw, wood shavings or a similarly absorbent (but non-toxic) material. The fully enclosed system protects the birds from thieves and predators and is suitable for specially selected commercial breeds of egg or meat- producing poultry (layers, breeder flocks and broilers).

Slatted floor system: wire or wooden slatted floors are used instead of deep litter, which allow stocking rates to be increased to five birds/m2 of floor space. Birds have reduced contact with faeces and are allowed  some freedom of movement.

Battery cage system: this is usually used for laying birds, which are kept throughout their productive life in cages. There is a high initial capital investment, and the system is mostly confined to large-scale commercial egg layer operations.


Intensive systems of rearing indigenous chickens commercially is uncommon, a notable rare exception being in Malaysia, where the industry developed in response to the heavy demand for indigenous chickens in urban areas (Supramaniam, 1988). However, this accounts for only two in every 100 000 (0.002 percent) of that

F   R   X   QgenWousUchick¶en.V        L   Q   G   L


Table 1.2 Production and reproduction per hen per year under the different management systems


Production system N° of eggs per hen/year N°    of    year-old chickens N°         of         eggs         for consumption and sale



Scavenging    (free- 20-30


2-3 0
Improved                40-60 4-8 10-20
Semi-intensive         100 10-12 30-50
Intensive        (deep 160-180 25-30 50-60




Intensive (cages) 180-220 180-220


Source: Bessei, 1987.


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