Livestock Research for Rural Development 12 (4) 2000

Citation of this paper

Impact of female livestock extension workers on rural house hold chicken production


M Farooq,  K Shoukat*, M Asrar*, Shah Mussawar*, F R Durrani, A Asghar** and  S Faisal


Poultry Science Department, NWFP, Agricultural University, 
Peshawar,Pakistan. E-mail: geanes@psh.paknet.com.pk

* Faculty of Rural Social Science, NWFP, Agricultural University Peshawar
** SRSC, Haripur, Pakistan


Abstract

A research project was carried out during the year 1999 to study the impact of training given to female farmers by Female Livestock Extension Workers (FLEW) under the Livestock Extension Women Worker (LEWW) project on the status of backyard chicken production in Mardan division. The study comprised data collection (prior to and after getting training in backyard chicken production over a one year period) from 100 farmers who were eager to join female farmers groups and get training from FLEW. These one hundred farmers were initially selected from 200 farmers at random, keeping in view their eagerness for joining female farmer groups. The training included skill development, production, and breeding of highly productive stock, care of the newly hatched chicks, housing, feeding, disease prevention, and hygienic measures, control of external and internal parasites, egg selection and storage, hatchability of eggs, and its requirements, selection and culling of birds, provision of vaccines and some other medicines, and development of linkages with the Agencies and Livestock and Dairy Development Department of the Government of NWFP. No extra inputs were provided (eg: in terms of birds).

Training had a significant effect on flock size, egg production morbidity, mortality, egg storage duration and hatchability of eggs. Significantly lower flock size was maintained by female farmers prior to get training (18.71.27) than after training (30.81.87 number). Egg production, per household and per bird,  was significantly lower prior to training (108327 and 573.06) than after training (162938 and 97.66.66 eggs, respectively). A significantly higher number of eggs per capita per year were available for farmers after training (1688.61) than before training (1122.0). Mean overall morbidity and mortality per flock were significantly higher before training (53.51.4 and 41.81.38) than after training (26.50.92 and 17.80.79%, respectively). Eggs were stored for a greater (P<0.05) duration in winter (13.60.57 days) and summer (5.850.36) for hatching prior to training than after training (8.620.20 and 3.920.14 days, respectively). A significantly higher number of eggs (16.00.33) were set under a broody hen before getting training than after training (14.00.13 eggs). Hatchability per number of eggs set was significantly lower prior to training (63.11.51%) than after training (84.10.99%). On overall basis, 49 and 50% of the farmers adopted improved chick and adult bird rearing practices, respectively. Vaccination practice was adopted by all farmers (25% were already vaccinating their birds before getting training). A significantly higher number of farmers (93%) were providing better housing facilities after training than before training (7%).

Key words: Backyard poultry, training, women, egg production

 

Introduction

The term “backyard” chickens was employed describe birds which were reared on a subsistence basis, on a small scale inside the family household, as scavengers either for the family needs of eggs and meat,  or generation of small cash income. Shakir et al (1999) reported that an average of 23.15.16 birds were reared as backyard chicken either for family consumption, or to some extent, for generation of cash income (Rs. 595267).  According to Bessei (1989), backyard chicken production on small farms under an extensive management system contributed a considerable amount to cash income of rural families. A smaller flock size (10-12 birds) was maintained by a family in rural areas of Pakistan according to Qureshi (1985) compared with the 235 birds reported by Shakir et al (1999). Despite their important role in egg and meat production, little attention has been paid to backyard chickens. These birds seldom receive proper feed, housing and health coverage against infectious diseases, which results in huge economic losses. Kelly et al (1994) reported 25% mortality in rural household chickens kept in Chitungwiza, an urban center in Zimbabwe. Shakir et al (1999) found a lower mortality rate (13.515%) than that reported by Kelly et al (1994). The probable reasons for lower production, poor management, and health coverage and severe losses could be poor know-how and lack of health and extension services to the farmers. Shakir et al (1999) recommended regular vaccination of the birds against infectious diseases, an increase in flock size, introduction of exotic breeds and reduction in mortality as key factors for the improvement of backyard chicken in Chitral.

Realizing the need to increase rural household chicken production as a means of alleviating poverty, a team of Female Livestock Extension Workers (FLEWs) was formed and equipped with skills in various disciplines of livestock production activities to help the poor and subsistence female farmers. The aim was to enable the farmers to increase their household income through increased livestock productivity. As a follow-up to the activities and regular visits paid by the FLEWs, it was decided there was a need to quantify the benefits being obtained by rural women in backyard chicken production. For this purpose a study was planned to assess the impact of training given to female farmers on backyard chicken production in Mardan division.

 

Materials and methods

 General objectives

A research project was carried out during the year 1999 to study the impact, on status of backyard chicken production in Mardan division, .of training given to female farmers by Female Livestock Extension Workers (FLEWs) under the Livestock Extension Women Worker (LEWW) project of the Livestock and Dairy Development Department, NWFP.
 

Selection of farmers

Amongst two hundred female farmers selected at random, a further selection was made of 100 farmers who were eager to establish female farmer groups and receive training. At each village level, one farmer group was established and allotted to FLEW(s).

 

Training

This included skill development regarding backyard chicken production, breeding of highly productive stock, care of the newly hatched chicks, housing, feeding, disease prevention, hygienic measures, control of external and internal parasites, egg selection, and storage, hatchability of eggs, selection and culling of birds, provision of vaccines and other medicines and development of linkages with the agencies and Livestock and Dairy development Department of the Government of NWFP. The FLEW were trained to work for vertical expansion of the backyard chicken system taking account of the limited resources of the farmers. Thus, there was not a significant increase in operational cost. For example in the case of the farmers who were buying broken rice from the market for newly hatched chicks, it was suggested they should buy chick starter feed in amounts equivalent in cost to what was paid for broken rice, so as to ensure better growth and development of the chicks. However, for those farmers who wished to make more  drastic changes to improve production then they were guided as to appropriate inputs. No extra inputs were provided in terms of birds. However, the farmers were already rearing mixed flocks of Rhode Island Red (RIR), Fayoumi and indigenous chicken. The indigenous chicken was primarily reared for hatching of eggs as they have got excellent rapport for their broodiness and hatching of eggs.

 

Recording

Prior to giving training to the farmers, information was collected on:

        the family,

        flock size,

        egg production and consumption,

        morbidity and mortality,

        egg, chick, and bird prices,

        eggs, chicks, and birds sold,

        egg storage duration,

        number and frequency of eggs set

        hatchability performance

Egg selection was classified as poor, average and good on the basis of egg shape, size, candling, shell quality and ratio of cockerels to hens in the flock. House condition was also classified as poor, average and good on the basis of cleanliness, ventilation, disinfection and construction.

After a more than one year period of activities, training and regular follow-up visits the aforementioned information regarding household chicken production was again recorded.

 

Statistical analysis

All relevant information was transferred to a computer for analysis. The data were analyzed using relevant statistical techniques of data analysis namely, GLM (General Linear Model) procedures (Steel and Torrie 1981) and univariate and Fisher Exact Test (Fisher 1970). The following statistical model was constructed to ascertain the effect of vaccination practice, housing system, house condition, egg selection criteria for hatchability and training received by female farmers on mortality in chicks:

                        Yijklmn =           + ai + j + dk + tl + Sm + eijklmn

            Where,

                        Yijklmn =           n-th observation on mortality in chicks maintained under i-th vaccination practice, in j-th housing system having k-th condition by female farmer receiving l-th training and using m-th criteria for selection of hatching eggs in backyard chicken production,

                                  =          Population constant common to all observations,

                        ai          =          the effect of i-th vaccination practice; i = no vaccination or suggested vaccination schedule is followed,

                        j          =         the effect of j-th housing system; j= house is used as part time or no house available for chicken

                        dk         =          the effect of k-th house condition;  k = poor, average and good,

                        tl          =          the effect of l-th training; l = training given, no training,

                        Sm        =          the effect of m-th egg selection criteria;  m = poor, average and good,

                        eijklmn   =          the residual term associated with each Yijklmn, normally, independently and identically distributed with mean zero and variance 1.

A similar model was employed for flock size, egg consumption, number and frequency of eggs set under a hen. Egg selection criteria were excluded from the aforementioned model for morbidity and mortality in adult birds.

For comparison of the practices adapted by female farmers before and after training, the categorical data were analyzed using Fisher's Exact Test, as the expected numbers in the cells of most of the contingency tables were less than 10 and the chi-square Test was not effectively applicable to the data. The following form of Fisher's Exact Test was used;

Probability of any observed set of entries =

                                                        [(a+b)! (c+d)! (a+c)! (b+d)!] 

                                                                   [n! a! b! c! d!]

Where a, b, c and d were the observed numbers in four cells of contingency table

and "n" the total number of observations (Fisher 1970).

 

Results and discussion

Flock size, egg production, and consumption status

A higher (P<0.05) flock size (30.81.87) was maintained on average by a rural household after the farmers received training than before training (18.81.27) (Table 1). The average flock size represented 8.370.81 chicks and 10.40.59 adult birds before and 14.10.86 and 16.70.17 chicks and adult birds, respectively, after the training was imparted. The flock size maintained by the trained female farmers was higher than that (23.15.16) reported by Shakir et al (1999)  and (10-12) by Qureshi (1985). The increase in flock size per household by around 12 chicken after training could be attributed to improved practices learned by the farmers and increased awareness of the importance of backyard chicken in subsistence income generation.

 

Table 1.  Per year comparison of flock size, egg production, and consumption status, morbidity and mortality before and after training given to female farmers in backyard chicken under LEWW project in Mardan division (Mean values SE)

 

Before training

After training

Average family size

9.650.44

9.670.44

Flock size

18.7b1.27

30.83a1.87

(a)  Chicks

8.4b0.81

14.1a0.86

(b)  Adult birds

10.4b0.59

16.7a1.17

Total egg production

1083b27

1628a38

Eggs produced per bird

57.4b3.06

97.6a6.66

Per capita available eggs

112b2.02

168a8.61

Total egg consumption

210a8.7

213.4a8.63

Per capita egg consumption

21.8a1.01

22.0a1.60

(a) Eggs consumed by children

75.8a8.03

78.5a5.7

(b) Eggs consumed by men   

73.2a4.73

76.0a5.06

(c) Eggs consumed by women

61.9a5.26

58.9a3.74

Overall morbidity in a flock (%)

53.5a1.4

26.5b0.92

(a) Morbidity in chicks (%)

54.1a1.39

27.1b1.09

(b) Morbidity in adult birds (%)

52.8a1.78

26.0b1.18

Overall mortality in a flock (%)

41.8a1.38

17.8b0.79

(a) Mortality in chicks (%)

42.9a1.43

19.5b0.94

(a) Mortality in adult birds (%)

40.6a1.67

17.2b0.96

Per cent reduction in eggs due to mortality

51.8a1.87

25.8b1.04

ab Means with different subscripts across the rows in each column are significantly different at a =0.01.

 

 Training had a positive effect (P<0.01) on egg production. Total egg production per household was higher (P<0.05) amongst those female farmers who received training (162838) than before (108327). Egg production per bird was higher after (97.586.66) than before (57.423.06) training. The higher egg production could be attributed to better care and management of the birds and rearing of more productive exotic strains like Fayoumi and Rhode Island Red (RIR) which are well suited to backyard production under subtropical conditions when crossed with local Desi chicken.

Training had no apparent effect on egg consumption patterns of rural households (Table 1).

 

Morbidity and mortality in backyard chicken

Training reduced (P<0.05) morbidity and mortality in chicks and adult birds. Shakir et al (1999) reported a mortality of around 14% in backyard chicken in Chitral which is lower than the values found by us. This could probably be due to appropriate hygienic measures, better care of the flock  and effective vaccination and health coverage programs adapted by the female farmers after receiving training in backyard chicken production.

 

Egg storage, incubation  and hatching performance

Eggs for hatching were stored longer in winter (13.620.57 days) and in summer (5.850.36) by women prior to training than after training (8.620.20 and 3.920.14 days, respectively) (Table 2). This could be attributed to better knowledge and awareness of the female farmers about the importance of egg storage in incubation and hatching

 

Table 2. Per year comparison of egg storage duration, egg setting  and hatching performance of backyard chicken produced by a rural household before and after getting training under LEWW project in Mardan division

 

Before training

After training

Egg storage during summer (days)

5.85a0.36

3.92b0.14

Egg storage during winter (days)

13.62a0.57

8.62b0.20

Eggs set per incubation

16.0a0.33

13.9b0.13

Eggs used for hatching throughout the year

44.5a2.32

44.5a1.12

Frequency of egg setting for hatching per year

2.84a0.15

3.17b0.07

Hatchability per number of eggs set under a hen (%)

63.1b1.51

84.1a0.99

ab Means with different subscripts across the rows in each column are significantly different at a =0.05.

Fewer (P<0.05) eggs were set under a broody hen in Mardan division after (14.00.13) than before (16.00.33) training (Table 2). Training had no effect on the total number of eggs used for hatching purposes over a one year period by a household. The findings suggest a skillful attitude of the female farmers towards hatching of eggs in backyard poultry production.

Hatchability was higher (P<0.5) after the farmers received training (84.10.99%) than before training (63.11.51) (Table 2). Farooq et al (2000) reported a hatchability of 81.5%  in Fayoumi eggs on the basis of total number of eggs set in the incubator. The lower hatchability of eggs of backyard chicken before the farmers were trained could be due to the prolonged storage period, setting too high a number of eggs under a broody hen and poor criteria for selection of hatching eggs. . This agrees with the suggestion of North (1984) that reducing the storage period leads to better hatchability. He recommended that the eggs should not be stored for more than five days.

 

Adoption of improved practices

On an overall basis 49% and 50% of the farmers adopted improved rearing chick and adult practices, respectively (Table 3). Overall rearing practices include feeding, selection of eggs, hatching, care and management of the adult birds and chicks. This adoption rate could be considered relatively low. Probably, the farmers did not have enough resources to adopt all the suggested practices. They may have given priority to those practices, which they thought to be most important. Thus, all the farmers adopted vaccination after the training was given.

 

Table 3.  Comparison of various practices and their adoption for backyard chicken productivity  before and after the female farmers were trained under LEWW project in Mardan division

 

Before training

After training

Vaccinating chicken

25b

100a

Part time housing

7

93

Egg selection

 

 

Poor

42b

0c

Average            

58a

48b

Good

0c

52a

Improved rearing practices

 

 

Chicks

15

64

Adults

20

70

abc Means with different subscripts across the rows in each column are significantly different at a =0.01.

 Taking one by one some of the practices adopted by the female farmers, after receiving training in backyard chicken production (Table 3), showed that:

        Adoption rate was high for vaccination and provision of housing

        Adoption rate was at a moderate level for egg selection (for hatching) and for improved rearing practices

 

Only 25% of farmers amongst those selected were vaccinating their birds against diseases before receiving training while 100% were found to vaccinate their birds after training. Similarly, only 7% of the farmers were providing better housing facilities at night time, or for egg laying, before training; while after training the proportion was 93%.

Scrutiny of the egg selection criteria revealed that before training the farmers were split almost equally between the categories of poor and average while after training there were none in the poor category and almost equal proportions between average and good. This suggests that special training should be given to the farmers in selection of eggs for incubation, and to advise that an increase in flock size would give better opportunity for egg selection.

The overall uptake of improved rearing practices, from 15 and 20% before training to 64 and 70% after training, for the chick and adult stages, respectively, can be considered as satisfactory.

  

Conclusions

        Training significantly improved backyard chicken production by female farmers.

        Overall adoption rate of the different components of improved rearing practice was satisfactory.

        All farmers adopted vaccination following training.

 

Recommendations

        A mass training program for all the female farmers should be launched to increase backyard  chicken productivity thereby increasing household income.

        Regular vaccination, increases in flock size (keeping in view the space and feed requirements), replacement of poor producers by more productive birds well suited to scavenging conditions, minimal storage period of eggs intended for hatching and selection of quality eggs should be practiced for obtaining better results.

  

References

 Bessei W 1989 The problems of extension in rural poultry production in developing countries. poultry. Archiv-fuer-Gefluegelkunde (Germany, FR) (53) 3: 101-107. (in German).

Farooq M, Durrani F R,  Naila C,  Usman M ,  Asghar A and Khurshid A 2000 Egg characteristics of Desi and fayumi birds maintained under variable management conditions.  Paper accepted in Journal of Animal Health and Production.

Fisher R A 1970Statistical Methods for Research Workers. 14th ed. Hafner Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York. pp. 92-111.

Kelly P J,  Davelaar F  and  Mason P R 1994 Diseases and  management of backyard chicken flocks in Chitungwiza,  Ziababwe. Avian-Diseases.38(3):626-629.

North O M 1984 Commercial Chicken Production Mannual. 3rd Ed. Avi Publishing company, Inc. Westport, Connecticut. 77-78 pp.

Qureshi M S 1985. Annual report of Poultry Research Institute Rawalpindi.  Pakistan. pp. 26

Shakir K,  Mian M A and  Farooq  M 1999 Contribution of backyard chicken to rural household economy in Chitral. M. Sc. (Hons). Thesis. NWFP, Agricultural University Peshawar.

Steel R G D and  Torrie J H 1981 Principles and procedures of statistics; A biometrical approach. 2nd. Ed. McGraw-Hill, Singapore

Received 14 September, 2000

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The problems of extension in rural poultry production in developing countries. 
OT: Probleme der Beratung im Bereich der baeuerlichen Gefluegelproduktion in Entwicklungslaendern. 
AU: Bessei,-W. 
CA: 18. Weltgefluegelkongress. Nagoya (Japan). 5-9 Sep 1988. 
SO: Archiv-fuer-Gefluegelkunde (Germany, F.R.). (1989). v. 53(3) p. 101-107. 
LA: De (German) 
AN: 90-118091