A Survey of Small-scale Broiler Production Systems in Botswana
Aspects of husbandry, productivity parameters, diseases, marketing and farmer attitudes in small-scale broiler farms in Botswana were studied using a questionnaire-based survey. The number of broilers per production cycle in small-scale operations ranged from 100 to 2000, with an average of 640. On average, small-scale producers had 4–5 production cycles per annum with an interval of 2–3 weeks between batches. The average marketing age was 48.3 days at a live weight of 1.79 kg and a carcase weight of 1.42 kg. The average feed conversion ratio was estimated to be 2.72 (kg feed/kg live weight) and the average mortality was 9.15%. Overall, the performance indices of broilers under small-scale farm conditions were much poorer than those obtained elsewhere under improved management conditions, but these lower performance levels are suggestive of the potential that exists for further improvement. The survey also identified several areas of concern that constrain the realization of the full potential of this sector. Factors contributing to the poor performance under small-scale farm conditions are complex, but feed supply and quality, chick quality and farmer training appear to be areas for immediate improvement.
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