Characterization of indigenous chicken production systems in Rwanda

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Characterization of indigenous chicken (IC) production systems in Rwanda was conducted from November 2015 to January 2016 with the aim of understanding socio-economic characteristics, management of IC, production parameters, feed resources, and constraints faced by farmers rearing IC. A survey involving 206 households was carried out in 5 districts with the highest populations of IC using structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using SAS software. The results showed that the majority of respondents (62.4%) were males and 37.6% were females. The majority of respondents (83.6%) had formal education. All family members were involved in the chicken husbandry practices. However, women (78%) were highly responsible for IC management activities. The family size averaged 5 persons (ranging 2 to 13) per household. Land was privately owned by farmers (84%) with a mean holding of 0.87 ha per household. The production system was mainly extensive with minimum provision of supplementary feeds. Chickens were being housed in separate houses at night and mating was uncontrolled. Breeding and replacement stocks were mainly sourced from the hatching of eggs using broody hens (60.68% of respondents). There were no vaccination programs, and ecto- and endo-parasites control was done when need arose. Egg production, income generation, meat production, and production of breeding stock were the main reasons of keeping IC. The first 3 main challenges facing IC production were diseases outbreaks, lack of investment capital, and predators. Others challenges, such as feed shortage, thieves, fluctuation of market price, lack of information on poultry rearing, and lack of chicken houses, also were mentioned. The IC production constraints mentioned need urgent mitigation measures to sustain utilization of IC against the changing climatic and economic conditions. Therefore, individual, public institution, and non-governmental organization efforts are required to develop sustainable breeding objectives directed to functions of IC and production challenges faced in the systems.

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