Village chicken production and egg quality in dry and wet, resource-limited environments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Author: T. Tenza, L.C. Mhlongo & M. Chimonyo
Year: 2023
Issue: 6
Volume: 53
Page: 850 - 858

The study investigated the quality and production of village chickens in wet and dry environments. Three hundred households were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Both external and internal characteristics were measured in 4 000 eggs using visual observation and laboratory analyses. The main source of income for the households in both environments was government grants. Village chickens were largely kept for eggs, meat, income, leisure, and rituals. The proportion of households selling eggs was low (less than 3%). Village chicken productivity was constrained by feed shortages, high disease prevalence, theft, slow growth, predation, and lack of access to the market. Feed availability varied seasonally. The dry environment produced 30% more eggs, which was an anomaly. Egg weights were larger (49.8 g) in wet than dry environments (39.6 g). It was concluded that egg quality and production were affected by feed availability. To improve egg production and quality, the environment should be improved using inputs such as feeding programs and housing.

Keywords: and nutrition security, Challenges, contribution, food, productivity
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