Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (1) 2014 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Characterization of small-scale backyard turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) production system in Bauchi State-Nigeria and its role in poverty alleviation

G T Ngu, I S R Butswat, G D Mah* and H N Ngantu**

Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, University of Buea,
Box 63, BUEA - Cameroon
geotenngu@yahoo.com
* Animal Production Programme, ATBU Bauchi,
P.M.B 0248, BAUCHI - NIGERIA
** Department of Zoology and Animal Physiology, University of Buea,
Box 63, Buea-Cameroon

Abstract

A diagnostic study on turkey production system in Bauchi State, Nigeria was conducted using a baseline survey by means of on-site assessment and orally administered structured questionnaires. The survey focused mainly on characterization of flock size and structure, housing system, feeding, marketing, breeding and ownership pattern. Descriptive statistics by means of simple percentages, means and chi square were used to analyze data obtained.

The results revealed a strong interest in the production of indigenous turkeys within the study area for both commercial and household consumption. The bulk of respondents were males (51.6%) and fall within the 20–39 years age range. Bauchi and Toro local government areas and the western zone had the highest number of turkey population in the study area. The male to female ration favored more females than males with the exception of the Northern zone. The results further indicated that most of the respondents used the extensive system of management for raising their stocks and that half of the farmers raised turkeys for commercial purpose. It was observed that poor fertility, insufficient capital, theft, inadequate housing and lack of technical information on turkey production and disease attacks were deterrents to indigenous turkey production and appear to be the most significant limiting factors to back yard raising of turkeys. It was observed that solving these problems through adequate extension services will accelerate indigenous turkey production and would bring about an increase in the production of economical and high quality animal protein, and thus improve the standard of living of the populace thereby curbing protein malnutrition and alleviating poverty.

Key words: indigenous, population, survey


Introduction

Poverty alleviation in Nigeria like other developing countries is a topical issue, especially as most of the populations living in the rural areas live under conditions of abject poverty. Poverty alleviation can be achieved through an increase in economic growth resulting from the engagement of skilled, semi-skilled and even unskilled labor in productive ventures. This would lead to an increase in per capita income, purchasing power, and ultimately, provision of food for the teeming population (Mundi 2000). Food ranks first among the basic necessities of life and in terms of nutrient requirement; emphasis is placed on the protein: calorie ratio. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of 65-86g protein per caput per day with animal sources contributing at least 28-34g (Oluokun 1992). The per capita intake of animal protein in Nigeria, at present stands at a meager 9g per day (Boland et al 2013), far below the FAO recommended value of 35g (Oyawoye 1999). There is therefore a protein: calorie deficiency in Nigeria, with its resultant consequences of Kwashiorkor/marasmus.

Poultry are the most numerous among the variety of farm animals owned by livestock farmers in Nigeria and could therefore contribute substantially in narrowing the gap between animal protein requirement and consumption in Nigeria. This is because of its high level of biologic as well as economic efficiency. Nigeria’s poultry population is estimated at 140 million (FAO2009), of which about 90% is made up of indigenous poultry (Gueye 1998, Sonaiya et al 1999). Additionally 80-90% of this indigenous poultry species are in the hands of rural and small-scale farmers (Ebangi and Ibe 1994).Local chickens, particularly at family level, still represent an appropriate system for supplying the fast-growing human population with high quality protein and providing additional income (Gueye2003). A report by Alabi et al (2006) on the contribution of family poultry to women income in the Niger Delta indicated that family poultry husbandry contributes 35% of the income of household women, and it is estimated at about 25% and 50% of Nigerian minimum wage and per capital income, respectively. The widespread use of poultry in third world countries demonstrates the importance of this small, easily managed household livestock. Small size, short gestation period, high fecundity, ability to forage for themselves and a natural desire to stay around the house put rural poultry among the most vital resources of rural Africa, Asia, and Latin America (National Research Council 1991).

There are many underrated, but highly promising poultry species such as turkeys, quails and guinea fowl. Turkey production has not been fully exploited in the developing countries despite its greater potential than the chicken (Shingari and Sapra 1993, Peters et al 1997, Perez-Lara et al 2013). Turkey thrives better under arid conditions, tolerates heat better, ranges farther and has higher quality meat (Fisinin and Zlochevskaya 1989, Yakubu et al 2013). Bauchi State has a poultry population comprising 278,208 chickens, 861, 491 ducks and 7,765 turkeys (IAR/BSADP 1996). It is common to see several harems of indigenous turkeys foraging extensively in backyards alongside chickens and ducks in the state (Photos 2 and 3). These birds are nondescript have multi-colored plumage and sometimes appearing as pure black or white. These indigenous types are, however, the least studied of the domestic fowls and very little effort has been directed at increasing their productivity under free ranging conditions. The objectives of this study were therefore to:


Material and methods

Time and spatial aspects of the study

Bauchi state was selected for this study because it is common sight to see several harems of indigenous turkeys in enclosures adjacent to homes or foraging extensively in backyards with other poultry species. The areas included for the study were towns, villages, hamlets and isolated ranches along the highways. The information for this study was gathered from July– December 2011.

Location, population density and climate of Bauchi State

Bauchi state is situated in the Northern guinea savannah ecological zone of Nigeria. The entire state covers a total land area of 49,259,01km2 (5.3 % of the total land mass of Nigeria) and is located between latitudes 9031’ and 12030’ North and longitudes 8050’ and 110 East. Bauchi state has a population of 2,866,444 million people. The society is primarily agrarian and agriculture contributes about 75% to the state economy (Garba 1991). The climate is characterized by two well-defined seasons: the rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to April). The mean annual rainfall is 905.33 mm with an annual temperature range of 11-140C. The annual rainfall is between 700 -1250 mm in the North and South – South West zones respectively. Mean monthly hours of sunshine are about 300 hours (highest) in December and about 150.1 hours (lowest) in August. August records the highest relative humidity of 65.5% and February records the lowest 16.5% (Kowal and Knabe1972).

Questionnaire construction and administration

Twelve (12) local government areas (LGA’s) out of twenty (20) in the state were purposely selected from the three (3) Agricultural zones (Western, Central, and Northern) as designated by the Bauchi State Agricultural Development program (BSADP) to administer the questionnaires. They are Bauchi, Toro and Dass in the Western zone; Gamawa, Dambam, Misau, Shira and Katagum in the Northern zone; Warji, Ganjuwa, Darazo and Ningi in the Central zone. Based on IAR/BSADP (1996) poultry statistics figures, the 100 questionnaires were distributed as follows: 50 for the Western zone, 30 for the Central and 20 for the Northern zone respectively. BSADP subject matter specialists in livestock extension were used as enumerators in administering the questionnaires. Turkey farmers were selected in towns and villages by the presence of turkeys in enclosures adjacent to homes. A questionnaire in English and translated in the local dialect (Hausa) by the extension agents was orally administered to the farmers. Information on age and sex of farmer, turkey population data and distribution, housing and management system, uses of turkey and productivity of the birds were collected.

Data analysis

Turkey husbandry and management practices were classified by simple percentages i.e, expressing frequencies of respondents on a percent basis. Turkey population distribution and sex ratios were all determined using mean percentages and chi-square (x2df-1) test.


Results

The narrow breasted turkey kept in the villages and towns were classified as indigenous (Table 1). The stocks were purchased or bartered locally (usually at the village level or at the local market where birds from nearby villages and towns were commercialized).

Table 1: Characteristics of respondent family turkey farmers in Bauchi State

Parameter

Frequency

% respondents

Sex of farmer

 

 

 

Male

49

51.6

 

Female

46

84.4

Age (years):

 

 

 

0-19

2

2.1

 

20-39

47

49.5

 

Above 40

46

48.4

Management sytem:

 

 

 

Intensive

9

9.5

 

Extensive

86

90.5

Housing facility

 

 

 

Kitchen

6

6.3

 

Animal hut

60

63.2

 

Outside

12

12.6

 

Others (cages, fences)

17

12.9

Feed supplementation

 

 

 

No supplementary feeding

1

1.1

 

Food remains/grains

76

80.0

 

Commercial feed

13

13.7

 

Food remains/commercial feed

5

5.2

Source of replacement stock:

 

 

 

Purchased

26

28.3

 

Other farmers

59

64.1

 

Own stock

7

7.6

Purpose for raising turkey:

 

 

 

Consumption

6

6.3

 

Sales

64

67.4

 

Consumption/sales

17

17.9

 

Prestige

4

4.2

 

Others (gift, personal interest)

4

4.2

Duration of keeping breeding male:

 

 

 

1 year

2

2.1

 

2 years

51

53.7

 

3 years

25

26.3

 

Above 3 years

17

17.9

These indigenous turkeys are called tolo-tolo, which is the local name for turkeys in Hausa. Most of the respondents used the extensive system of management in raising their stock.The convenience of the backyard type of management system is an advantageous factor that was frequently commented upon by the respondents. When reared in enclosed compounds having numerous trees and shrubs, the birds were encouraged to forage among leaf litter. Birds were not used for breeding until they were at least a year old. Almost all the respondents keep breeding males in their flocks for up to 2 years and above.

Table 2: Productivity of indigenous turkey in Bauchi State

Parameter

Frequency

% of respondents

Incubation of eggs by hen:

 

 

 

Yes

91

95.8

 

No

4

4.2>

Hatchability of eggs:

 

 

 

Do hatch all eggs

19

20.0

 

Do not hatch all

76

80.0

Clutches / year:

 

 

 

1

1

1.1

 

2

37

38.9

 

3

47

47.4

 

4

11

11.5

 

Above 4

1

1.1

Clutching interval (month):

 

 

 

1

37

38.9

 

2-3

35

57.9

 

Above 3

3

3.2

Brooding method:

 

 

 

Free ranging hen and poults

25

26.3

 

Separating poults from hen

70

73.7

Age of highest poult mortality (weeks):

 

 

 

0-4

42

44.2

 

5-8

32

33.7

 

9-12

21

22.1

Most of the respondents reported that the hens do not hatch all the eggs (Table 2). Hatchability is therefore one of the critical factors limiting the number of turkeys raised in the study area. It was gathered that 86.3% of the respondents reported to having 2-3 clutches per year with an average clutch size of 10-15 eggs with an estimated hatch of 50%. Average clutching interval among the respondents was 2-3 months. The long time necessary for maturation, coupled with high poult mortality rates, were said to be the reason for the high price of adult indigenous turkeys. Results revealed that most of the respondents raised turkeys for commercial purpose and the average cost of a mature live turkey was about 2.500 Naira ($17). Also most of the respondents affirmed to having a ready market for turkeys.

Turkeys raised with domestic fowl, especially in restricted areas, experienced high mortality rates. Poults of 5-12 weeks of age experienced mortalities of 50-100%. Older turkeys were also affected, but mortalities were considerably lower. Sick birds were quiet, off feed, depressed with head lowered, feathers ruffled and droppings were pale and loose. The major diseases were Histomonas meleagridis infection (blackhead), bacillary white diarrhoea (BWD) and fowl pox. The respondents used drugs and sought veterinary assistance. The unpredictable and often poor survival rate of turkey poults is one of the major limiting factors reported by the local farmers for the success in raising indigenous turkeys in this traditional manner. This has resulted in larger number of domestic fowl being reared instead of the turkey.

Toro LGA and the Western zone had the highest number of turkeys (Table 3). Table 4 and 5, give the mean percentage distribution of turkeys in LGA’s and zones. Bauchi LGA had the largest mean percentage distribution of turkeys (15.88 %) as well as the Western zone with a mean percentage distribution of 47.85%.

Table 3:   Distribution of indigenous turkey in the zone and local governments of Bauchi State by numbers and sex of bird

 

Zones

Local government

Number of Clusters

Male

Female

Young

 

Western

Bauchi

5

29

72

40

Toro

36

188

310

408

Dass

7

10

31

21

Combined area (total)

 

48

227

413

469

 

 

Northern

Gamawa

1

4

16

0

Dambam

4

6

13

28

Misau

6

17

30

75

shira

5

50

25

33

Katagum

4

8

5

7

Combined area (total)

 

20

85

89

43

 

Central

Warji

8

41

41

20

Darazo

5

7

11

33

Ganjuwa

6

8

11

13

Ningi

8

12

42

1

Combined area (total)

 

27

68

105

79

Overall combined area (total)

 

95

380

607

691


Table 4: Mean Percentage distribution of turkey population in Local Governments in Bauchi State

Local Government

No. of clusters (farmers)

Turkeys Pop.
(‘000)

Mean

%

Bauchi

5

1.41

28.20

15.88

Toro

36

9.06

25.17

14.17

Shira

5

1.08

21.60

12.16

Misau

6

1.22

20.33

11.45

Gamawa

1

0.20

20.00

11.26

Warji

8

1.02

12.75

7.18

Dambam

4

0.47

11.75

6.62

Darazo

5

0.51

10.20

5.74

Dass

7

0.62

8.86

5.00

Ningi

8

0.67

8.36

4.72

Ganjuwa

6

0.12

8.38

3.00

Katagum

4

0.20

5.33

2.82

Total (12)

95

16.78

177.57

100.00


Table 5: Percentage distribution of Turkeys by Zones in the study Area

 

Zone

No. of Clusters (farmers)

Turkeys Pop. (‘000)

 

Mean

 

%

Northern

20

0.317

15.85

32.83

Central

27

0.252

9.33

19.32

Western

48

1.109

23.10

47.85

Total

95

1.678

48.28

100

Percentage distribution, chi square and ratio of turkeys by sex in the zones is presented in Table 6. The male: female ratios for the Northern, Central and Western Zones were 1:1.05, 1:1.54 and 1:1.82 respectively. The chi square analysis revealed that there was significantly greater female population than the male population (P < 0.01) in the Central and Western zones (Xdf-1= 7.9 and 54.1 respectively) but not in the Northern zone. Chi square values for the distribution of turkeys in the study area was significant (P < 0.01) for LGA’s with Bauchi and Toro having the highest populations, the values being 141 and 906 turkeys respectively.

Table 6: Percentage distribution, Chi square (X df-1) and ratio of turkeys by sex in the zones of the study Area

Zone

Male pop.

%

Female pop.

%

Male: female

χ2

Northern

85

22.37

89

14.66

1:1.05

0.092NS

Central

68

17.89

105

17.30

1:1.54

7.914٭٭

Western

227

59.74

413

68.04

1:1.82

45.056٭٭

Total

380

100

607

100

 

 

Overall %

38.50

 

61.5

 

1:1.60

52.20٭٭

NS = Not significant ** = significantly different (P <0.01) at 2DF

There was also a significant (P<0.05) difference among the zones, with the Western zone recording the highest turkey population of 1,109 birds (Table 7).

Table 7: Chi Square (Xdf-1) distribution of Turkeys in the study Area by Local Government and Zones

zone

LGA’s

No. of farmers

Turkeys pop.

LGAv

I.G χ2df-1

Zonal Av.

Zonzl χ2df-1

 

 

Northern

Gamawa

1

20

20.00

1829

 

 

Dambam

4

47

11.75

0.627

 

 

Misau

6

122

20.33

2.068

 

 

Shira

5

108

21.60

3.127

 

 

Katagum

4

20

5.00

6.482

 

 

Zonal total

5

20

317

 

 

15.85

0.004

 

Central

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warji

8

102

12.75

0.283

 

 

Darazo

5

15

10.20

1.428

 

 

Ganjuwa

6

32

5.33

6.056

 

 

Ningi

8

67

8.38

2.782

 

 

Zonal total

4

27

252

 

 

9.33

2.840

 

Western

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bauchi

5

141

28.20

12.140

 

 

Toro

36

906

25.17

7.022

 

 

Dass

7

62

8.86

2.382

 

 

Zonal total

3

48

1,109

 

 

23.10

3.054

 

 

 

 

 

 

48.28

5.898٭

Overall total

 

95

1,678

177.57

46.229٭٭

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mean

 

 

 

14.797

 

16.09

 

** Significantly different (P< 0.01) at 11 DF      * significantly different (P< 0.05) at 2 DF

Photo 1: A harem of indigenous turkeys foraging extensively with chickens in Miya Berkete village in Toro Local Government Area Photo 2: 3 months old Turkey poults in Jajuwol village Toro LGA


Photo 3: A Tom and Turkey Hens in Bauchi LGA Photo 4: Intensive raising of 1 – 5 weeks old Turkey poults in cartons


Discussion

The turkeys examined in this study appear to be a distinct population, the result of a long history of domestication in Bauchi State. The localities where turkeys were more numerous coincided with geographical areas inhabited by ethnic groups with a strong cultural identity and interest in the raising of these multi-hued birds. It was also realized that the number of birds raised increased in areas with high rainfall, which gives room for the growth of adequate- forage materials since most of the birds are raised extensively. This is particularly true for the western zone, which is located in the South-South Western part of the State. The vegetation in this part is made up of the Guinea savannah unlike the drier Northern zone, which has a Sudano-Sahelian vegetation. Toro local government, located in the Western zone and with the highest turkey population, experiences the same wet climate prevailing in the Jos plateau, an environment conducive for the extensive raising of turkeys. This zone also harbors the main road link into the state from the Southern part of Nigeria, which already has a rich turkey rearing culture (Peters et al 1997). This therefore makes it easier for the marketing of turkeys, hence the profitability and high number of turkeys in this zone.

Fewer turkeys were observed in the Northern zone of the state. It is possible that the influence of the drier North with its harsh climate and dry Sahel vegetation may be having a reducing effect on the number of birds raised since forage crops and green leaves are absent for a greater part of the year. It seems more likely that indigenous turkey meat especially that of the hen, considered as a gastronomical delicacy due to its particular flavor and tenderness, coupled with the convenience of the backyard type of management system with which they are raised will go a long way to preserve indigenous turkey production in the study area. Recognition of their value augurs well for their survival.

Turkey populations appear to have dropped drastically over the years. This may be a result of the low frequency of successful mating because of the low average male: female ratio of 1:1.6. This is due to the increased effect of the dominant male and much fighting among the males. Yakubu et al. (2013) obtained a tom: hen ratio of 1: 2.75 which falls within the range of 1.69 to 3.69 reported for native turkey in the State of Michoakan, Mexico (Lopez-Zevala et al 2008). The duration of keeping a breeding male in the flock may also affect fertility since it is known that turkey tom fertility decreases with age (Csuka 1998,Wishart et al (2001).

In-situ conservation may be promoted by emphasizing the purported excellent organoleptic properties of meat from indigenous turkey and the convenience of their back yard system of management. This will meet with a substantial degree of success if the duration of keeping a breeding male in a harem is reduced to one year after attaining sexual maturity, and also by increasing the male: female ratio to 1: 5 so as to increase the mating frequency and reduce the effect of the dominant male (Mallia 1998).

The productivity of the indigenous turkeys could be further improved upon by cross- breeding exotic Toms having superior genetic make-up with indigenous hens. Furthermore, the problem of poor hatchability can be curtailed if turkey farmers in the rural areas can form cooperative societies to procure kerosene incubators and also seek for inputs and credits from financial institutions so as to increase their production.

A major concern for people raising indigenous turkeys with the backyard type of system is the poor survival rate of turkey poults. Respondents in this study brood their poults artificially by placing them inside cartons and heat them with kerosene lamps. (Photo 4). The symptoms andmortality rates reported by the respondents would indicate that Histomonas meleagridis infection (blackhead) and bacillary white diarrhoea are responsible for the pronounced losses. This could be caused by the fact that chickens and turkeys were raised in the same areas. Chickens habitually harbour the caecal worm Heterakis gallineraum, and the worms often carry Heterakis meleagridis, and probably represent an important strategy for the long- term survival of the caecal worm and protozoan in the soil (Levine 1985).The epidemiology of blackhead indicates that the turkey should never be reared on the same site as chickens, yet this was the most prevalent practice among the turkey farmers (Photo 1). Further studies are, however, necessary to confirm the presence of H. meleagridis infection in indigenous turkeys.


Conclusion and Recommendations


Acknowledgements

Special thanks to the management of Bauchi State Agricultural Development Program (BSADP) for their numerous contributions towards the success of this study. Worthy of mention are Dr. Dauda Abdullahi, MallamYusufu Y. Mahmood, Mallam Iliyasu Suleiman, Mrs. Rose Danladi Idi, Mallam Abdullahi Adamu Jalam, Mallam Babayo Shehu Misau, and Mallam Garba Mohammed Toro.


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Received 13 August 2013; Accepted 17 December 2013; Published 1 January 2014

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