Cross-breeding local chickens
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CTA. 2004. Cross-breeding local chickens. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57454
Childwell Nyirenda of the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture explains how cross-breeding can improve productivity in local birds.
Cross-breeding local chickens Cue: Local village chickens that scavenge for their food are, in many parts of Africa, the most important form of livestock, particularly among poor households. Unlike the exotic birds kept in intensive poultry systems, local chickens can generally survive with very little financial input, providing small amounts of eggs, meat and income. However, there is also potential for village chicken keepers to improve the productivity of their birds. Better management of housing and feeding can keep birds healthy and speed up their growth. And by careful cross-breeding between different local varieties, some poultry farmers are even managing to produce animals that can lay more, and larger eggs. Childwell Nyirenda is an animal breeder with the Zambian Ministry of Agricuture, Food and Fisheries who specialises in crossing local breeds of chicken. He spoke to Daniel Sikazwe about the importance of village chickens in Zambia, and how cross-breeding can improve poultry productivity. IN: ?We conducted a survey in ? OUT: ?we can survive on that.? DUR?N 4?15? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Childwell Nyirenda on the benefits to be had from cross-breeding local village chickens. Transcript Nyirenda We conducted a survey in some districts of North western Province. The survey has shown that chicken is the most pre-eminent livestock, owned by about 76% of the households, with an average of about 10 in each household, which means it?s the most popular livestock, is the chicken. Chickens play the most important role among livestock species in the social, economic and socio-cultural life of the people. Most of the households depend on chickens for subsistence, selling them very easily by the roadside, farmgate, market and so forth. Chicken is here known as ?bank on hand?. Sikazwe Meaning that you can easily sell it and then get the money, and it?s easy to rear as well. Nyirenda Yes. However, productivity of the chickens is so low in the tropics. A successful transition from the extensive to the semi-intensive production system is needed to improve productivity. Sikazwe In terms of management, where do you think things have gone wrong, especially if you compare with those who are keeping broilers? Nyirenda The most important thing is feed and housing. There is no accommodation, proper accommodation for village chickens. Some of them sleep in the house where even human beings sleep; that?s the problem. Sikazwe And then what about feed, what happens? People in the villages, or people in areas where village chickens are being kept don?t go to buy feed and then give it to the chickens, they just allow the chickens to roam about? Nyirenda Yes they are scavengers. During the dry season like this one, they can be given a bit of maize, grains. These grains are given to them at times, but they should not be competing with the farmer himself, the peasant farmer. What we need it suitable, cheap management and a source of feed for them ? the local feed. Now when it comes to improvement of local chicken production, it?s very important that one. The goal is to make accessible to peasant farmers genetically productive breeds of chickens. For instance, some look like guinea fowls. Guinea fowl like type of local chicken, crossed with local chocolate looking type will produce breeds that will lay almost 25 or more eggs, instead of nine or twelve only. Normally with birds from Europe, the weight of the eggs is 57 grams, but ours it?s only 30 grams. But at times, when we cross breed them, the weight goes up. Sikazwe Oh, so you are saying that the local chickens, the so called village chickens lay very few eggs, maybe nine to twelve? Nyirenda Very few, nine to twelve, and the hatchability is also low, that is why we are saying productivity is very low. But if we cross the breeds, the local breeds, among themselves ? we know how to select them, the selection is very important ? some can produce, the offshoots can be producing maybe 25, 29 which cannot compare with European breeds that produce up to 250. But ours can produce up to 25, given a low level of management, then it?s OK, we can survive on that. End of track.