Characterisation of production systems for indigenous chicken genetic resources of South Africa

Author: B.J. Mtileni, F.C. Muchadeyi, A. Maiwashe, P.M. Phitsane, T.E. Halimani, M. Chimonyo and K. Dzama
Year: 2009
Issue: 1
Volume: 2
Page: 18 - 22

Indigenous chicken production systems were studied in Limpopo, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 137 households in the three provinces. The study showed that a small proportion of the households (9.8%) derive their livelihood from livestock compared to social grants (52.0%) and wages (35.9%). Fifty percent of the households owned chickens in comparison to 49.7% that owned other livestock. The mean flock size was 10.9 ± 1.95 chickens per household with a range of 1 – 56 chickens. The mean number of chickens per household differed significantly among districts but not provinces. Households with multi-species owned on average 6.28 ± 0.92 goats, 2.55 ± 0.57 sheep and 2.71 ± 0.52 cattle. Results indicated that indigenous chickens perform significant functions in the livelihoods of rural farmers primarily for household meat (89.8%), egg consumption (64.2%) and to a lesser extent for manure, cultural ceremonies and income generation. Farmers cited sub-standard housing, poor disease control, and absence of organised vaccination and poultry extension services as the main problems for chicken production in the provinces.

Keywords: household livelihood, low-input chickens, socio-economic, Subsistence farming
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