Formulate A Research Paper On Poultry Keeping

The United Nations Millennium Goals (http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/#) call for the halving the number of hungry people by 2015; an estimated 824 million people were affected by chronic hunger in 2003. In addition, the goals are to reduce child mortality (under-five mortality in sub-Saharan Africa being presently 168 per 1,000 births) and improve maternal health. Eggs and poultry meat provide an excellent source of a critically important nutrient, protein, together with minerals and vitamins (e.g., B12).

Poultry are produced worldwide by 3 systems:

  • Commercial large scale poultry production systems;

  • Traditional village scavenging poultry (largely in developing countries);

  • Semi-commercial systems (close to urban areas in developing countries);

In addition, there are alternative systems, including free range and organic.

In developing countries, traditional village-scavenging poultry make up a significant proportion of poultry in the national flock or continent flock. This is similar to “backyard” or “farm yard” poultry in Europe and North America, which have decreased, but are still evident. In the rural areas of Vietnam, there are estimated to be 86 million chickens and 29 million ducks; three-fourths of all poultry are maintained in the traditional village system. Similarly, in Tanzania in East Africa, there are estimated to be 26.6 million scavenging chickens and 1.2 million other poultry, mainly ducks (http://www.kyeemafoundation.org/rural_poultry/index.html; accessed March 2007). In 1997, it was estimated that 70% of African poultry (1.5 billion chickens) and between 15 (Malaysia) and 98% (Vietnam) of poultry in Asian countries were of the traditional village-scavenging type (Kitalyi, 1997). With the development of a commercial poultry industry particularly in Asia, these figures are undoubtedly overestimates.

Village poultry contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and the improvement of food security. They provide a source of high-quality protein. “Village chicken products are often the only source of animal protein for resource-poor households. Eggs are a source of high-quality protein for sick and malnourished children under the age of five.” “Estimates based on human and livestock populations in Ethiopia showed that the village chicken provides 12.5 kg of poultry meat per capita per year, whereas cattle provide only 5.34 kg” (Kitalyi, 1997). Moreover, poultry products can be sold or bartered to provide a source of income. This may be one of the few, or only, sources of cash income. Another advantage of traditional poultry is that it is said that women and children own and are responsible for the poultry (http://www.kyeemafoundation.org/rural_poultry/index.html). However, there are marked differences in ownership and management between different countries and communities.

Are there issues or concerns with traditional village poultry production?

  1. Despite the impact of poultry in poverty alleviation, there has been a lack of research to improve the efficiency of traditional poultry production (Kitalyi, 1997). There is tremendous scope for such improvements (see Table 1 for estimates of the present performance productivity in the traditional village system). It might be argued that poultry have not received the attention they deserve from international research centers.

  2. Traditional village poultry production is not efficient and has low productivity (see Table 1). There has been little improvement in the number of eggs produced per layer for the last 40 years, and competition with commercial poultry production is likely to increase. Semi-commercial production is a “half-way house” to being a grower in a vertically integrated system.

  3. The lack of infrastructure supporting poultry in a country or region, including the lack of availability of critical nutrients such as vitamins and of veterinary services or poultry health programs including vaccines. A corollary of this is that traditional village poultry is a potential reservoir for diseases including zoonotic diseases, and there are inadequate veterinary services to recognize when a disease outbreak occurs.

  4. There is an interesting “yin and yang” of traditional village poultry production. The existence of flocks of chickens spread across the world offers a tremendous source of genetic diversity and potentially interesting DNA to be incorporated into commercial founder lines. However, the antithesis of this is that these poultry have not been subject to successful genetic improvement and are little studied.

In conclusion, tradition poultry production is making a difference to poverty alleviation, but there is scope for even greater impacts of poultry on poverty alleviation.

Table 1.

Estimates of the productivity of traditional village poultry production (based on Kitalyi, 1997) compared with a commercial system in the developed world

Parameter Scavenging village chicken Commercial 
Egg production, eggs/hen per year 40 to 60 280 
Egg weight, g 30 to 49 55 to 60 
Age at mature weight, wk > 24 20 
Parameter Scavenging village chicken Commercial 
Egg production, eggs/hen per year 40 to 60 280 
Egg weight, g 30 to 49 55 to 60 
Age at mature weight, wk > 24 20 

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REFERENCES

© 2007 Poultry Science Association, Inc.

1996

. Transforming poultry production and marketing in developing countries: Lessons learned with implications for sub-Saharan Africa. International Development Working Papers 63, Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing; http://ideas.repec.org/p/msu/idpwrk/063.html Accessed Mar. 2007.

The aim of the current project is to develop an innovative poultry production chain that offers high quality and safe products as required by the consumer (‘farming for the future’) through a guaranteed traceability, animal welfare and health and product safety, and valorisation and development of distinctive poultry products. To this end, the following project activities will be undertaken:

  1. Maximum transparency and recognisability: to produce according to the ‘Farm to Fork’ principle; including assessment of sustainability of the production chain;
  2. To improve and guarantee animal welfare in the production chain: at the level of the broiler farm and during the transport and slaughter process;
  3. To improve animal health and robustness, aiming at zero use of antibiotics/free of Campylobacter contamination;
  4. Valorisation and development of allergen, salt and E-number free products and development of new innovative poultry products.


Wageningen UR Livestock Research mainly participates in the studies related to objectives (2) and (3). Examples of research related to these objectives are: studies to develop environmental enrichment at broiler farms that improve the welfare and health of the broiler chickens; development of methods to reduce Campylobacter contamination of the products; development of methods that improve broiler welfare during the end-of-life stages (catching, loading, transport and pre-slaughter treatment); and the development of an instrument to monitor and score the welfare of broiler chickens on-farm.

Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research mainly participates in objectives (1) and (4). For these objectives research in conducted on, for example, the  following topics: sustainability in broiler chicken production, slaughter and deboning; transparency and information systems in the supply chain; development of allergen free products and products with reduced salt content; new innovative products from meat other than breast meat; valorisation of slaughter remains.

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