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Uses and flock management practices of scavenging chickens in Wolaita Zone of southern Ethiopia

Abstract

Rearing of scavenging chickens is among the most commonly practiced farm activities in Ethiopia. This system is dominated by indigenous chickens. Output from indigenous chickens is low due to poor management and absence of intense selection that is intended to improve economically important traits. This showed that village chickens are rather evolved for adaptation traits. However, the level of risk is low, and this has made rearing of scavenging chickens a choice of farm activity for smallholder farmers. The objective of this study was to characterize the scavenging chickens’ production system in Wolaita Zone. Single-visit survey involving individual interview of 119 farmers and 6 focus group discussions was used to collect the data. Our results showed that rearing of scavenging chickens was constrained especially by disease and predation problems. However, farmers proposed a set of solutions to minimize the effect of these problems. Rearing of scavenging chickens fulfils the multi-functional need of the society. This system has special features because it can sustain in its own without the need for modern commercial chicken farming facilities. However, farmers also reported the drawbacks of rearing of scavenging chickens and these mainly include uproot of garden crops and tiresomeness of the night watching. Selection of chickens was mainly depending on physically observed traits like body size and plumage colour. The initial foundation flock was mainly obtained from the local market. The ideal place for scavenging chickens production is the one that has intermediate weather condition and has some trees that can be used as shade; however, it was substantiated that it has to be free from bush and shrubs, weeds and wet lands. Therefore, these pieces of knowledge embedded among smallholder farmers need to be well documented and synthesized to design an appropriate type of technology packages that can be communicated back to farmers to improve productivity of the scavenging chickens.

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Acknowledgements

We duly acknowledge farmers that participated in individual interview and focus group discussion for sharing their knowledge. The study cost of this project was covered by Wolaita Sodo Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training College.

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Correspondence to Takele Taye Desta.

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Desta, T.T., Wakeyo, O. Uses and flock management practices of scavenging chickens in Wolaita Zone of southern Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod 44, 537–544 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9933-y

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Keywords

  • Constraints
  • Scavenging chickens
  • Selection criteria
  • Socio-economic importance
  • Southern Ethiopia