Evaluating Characteristics of Indigenous Chicken System with Flock Size Trends in a Participatory Research on Improved Management Practices in Kenya

Joseph Mutitu Ndegwa, Patricia Norrish, Derek Shepherd, Catherine Kimani, Anne Wachira, Donald Siamba, Roger Mead

Abstract


This study investigates characteristics of indigenous chicken farms categorised on flock size patterns identified in a research involving 200 farmers in five regions in three counties (Nyandarua, Laikipia, Nakuru) in Kenya. Four villages were selected per region and10 farms in each village. Training and sensitisation meetings, introduction of intervention options (Housing, Feed Supplementation, Vaccination and Deworming), implementation by farmers, and monitoring and evaluation were carried out. The farmers used own inputs in implementing the project interventions and recorded various project activities and outputs. The project was monitored over a span of five, 3-months long periods. Variation analysis was used to identify similarities and differences between 7 farm categories (groups) based on their differences on the levels of the following factors: (1) Average farm flock sizes at five different periods (2) Treatment characteristics (interventions) application - (housing, vaccination, de-worming, and supplementation) (3) Demography characteristics (total flock additions, total flock reductions, total unplanned reductions and total controlled reduction) and (4) Production characteristics (mean hatchability and egg production per hen per cycle based on predicted egg production). Results indicate there were significant differences between the groups. Almost all the flock size differences between farm groups were significant at 1 percent level. There was a rise in differences of the between and within groups mean squares from period 1 to 5 as a result of the flock sizes levels also increasing with period. The treatment characteristics application levels had little differences between groups but housing and feed supplementation had larger values than the other two characteristics. The treatments application differences not being significant could be a consequence of influence from the research team being more or less the same in all the farms. The demography characteristics, total addition and total reduction values were close to one another among the farm categories. These together with flock size levels had little influence from the research team but were mostly a reflection of individual farm’s decision and activities. However, the production characteristics reflected more both the farmer’s action and the hen potential. The group with the lowest flock size trends had production values close to those of other groups. This would suggest that low flock size level in a farm is not a reflection of poor production dynamics. The demographic characteristics differences between farms compare well with significant levels on flock size differences between farms shown earlier, especially the total additions, total reductions and total controlled reductions. There was no single significant difference among the groups on vaccination and production characteristics – mean hatchability and egg production. Production characteristics may have been more influenced by hen factors, which may not have been different among the different farm groups. The analysis of variance made it possible to validate the flock size classification using values of dissimilarity group index between farms.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jas.v3i2.6363

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379

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