June 02, 2012


Mammo Mengesha  


Related research results and facts of climate change scenarios and the preferences of animal species that reared for animal protein productions were reviewed with the aim of delivering synthesized information for the beneficiaries. Both of the climate change and animal productions have always negative impacts one over the other. Livestock is responsible for 18% of GHG emissions measured in CO2-eq. Upcoming animal protein supply and demands will pose a challenge to the environment. However, due to its low global warming potential, poultry has advantages over other livestock industries. Chicken is the cheapest, without taboos and nutritious of all livestock meats but the red meat industry is a pro-active for environmental concerns. Birds, however, tolerates a narrow temperature ranges and are vulnerable to climate changes. There is a positive relationship between the level of income and the consumption of animal proteins. As a result, animal protein production is projected to double by 2050. Consequently, poultry consumption is expected to grow at 2-3% per year and its share is also around 33% of the total meat produced in the world. The average per capita consumption of poultry is around 11 kg. Technology favors the intensification of poultry production in developing countries but environment and health issues will be the concern. A grain yield is adversely affected by warming that leads to food-feed competitions. This competition gives rise to looking for alternative feeds and other utilizing techniques to improving the nutritive values of poor ingredients. It needs 2 and 4 kg of cereals, to produce 1 kg of chicken meat and pork, respectively. This shows that chicken is relatively efficient in feed conversion ratio than other livestock. It is therefore, concluded that to coping up with climate changes, poultry is the preferred species of farm animals that allowed for protein food productions. Moreover, it is also the preferred species of farm animal that will satisfy the demands of protein foods of the people.

June 01, 2012


Poultry sector in the country during the last ten years has witnessed cyclic boom and burst phenomena due to accelerating factors such as high demand for poultry products as a result of overall economic growth and consequent rise in incomes, investments from food giants, disintegrating joint family system leaving limited scope for home cooking etc. on one hand and decelerating factors such as high feed cost due to instable supplies of agro-feed ingredients, emergence of deadly poultry diseases and resultant distortions in domestic as well as global poultry trade, limited investments in poultry infrastructure etc.
Majority of country’s population living below poverty line is suffering from malnutrition wherein poultry can serve as an important tool to provide household nutritional security and supplementary incomes especially to the vulnerable sections of society. Therefore, technological support is crucial for the development and consistent growth of the poultry sector to protect and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders in the poultry value chain particularly the more vulnerable small poultry holders throughout the Country.

Rural poultry also called poor man's meat/ bank/ social safety net etc. is a major prospect to pastoralist fraternity since land size is depreciating and therefore calling for a need to practice enterprises that require limited land. In Narok South Sub-county, Narok County, the women and youth have already ventured into this enterprise, although its growth path is full of hurdles. 
In the Manyattas, families keep small flocks ranging from 10 – 30 family chicken, mainly indigenous birds. Birds are left to forage during the day and housed at night. There is no supplemental feeding. Housing is still a challenge them having constructed poultry houses. These houses are in poor condition, subjecting birds to adverse weather conditions and predators at night.  Ownership of these birds is solely a women and youth affair with older men concentrating with livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys).
Diseases and pests are a major impediment to poultry farming among the rural community. Maasai community is known to keep livestock and are undoubtedly knowledgeable as far as livestock diseases (diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention) concerns. However, when it comes to poultry, they have scanty to no information hence leaving survival of these birds to fate.
Despite several challenges Poultry farming has uplifted their economic status. Where an egg is retailed at Kshs 15 and a grower chicken at between Kshs 400- 500, selling fifty eggs and 1 chicken in a fortnight generates sufficient income to supplement the husbands little left-behinds for running home food budget for the family, since their financial budget is minimal. Economically, this project has proved viable with high turn-over of new recruits into the enterprise and financial gains from sales. There is therefore a critical need to holistically address the challenges affecting the poultry keeping enterprise among the Maasai community (women and youth) in Narok South Sub-county.
In order to improve this enterprise, I recommend the following measures:
·         Veterinarians and animal health workers: volunteer constructive information on the poultry keepers on poultry diseases, their diagnosis, treatment and control. This information will go a long way to equipping the poultry keepers hence plan for future contingency measures. Also use of Over-The-Counter medications to treat poultry incase outbreaks of treatable diseases occurs.
·         Livestock production experts: provide extension services to poultry farmers on poultry breeding, nutrition, housing and husbandry among other issues in order to maximize the output from the stock.
·         Veterinary Pharma players: this is a virgin ground for marketing of poultry products and therefore establishing brands among the consumers will boost your future sales in this area. The challenge is to start. Training poultry keepers on various products and their safe use is wanting.
·         Developmental Non-Governmental organizations: the women and youth need your assistance. And as part of project pool to choose from, poultry keeping (rural indigenous chicken) is a very profitable industry already established and running. Therefore, expanding this project by supplying starter stock (to those who doesn’t have), better breeding stock and also advocacy on use of poultry and poultry products by the Maa community rather than just keeping them for sale will be a substantial contribution to the rural welfare in general (cheap proteins and income).
·         Business fraternity: through increased buying of these birds and their products, you will be encouraging more production of the same. Flock from these areas can contribute to an unmatched demand for poultry and poultry products in the urban areas all the way to Nairobi. Giving poultry keeper’s competitive prices for their products is a sure way of winning more into the enterprise through financial behavioral change tact.
As a personalized initiative: I have offered to educate poultry keepers on diagnosis of various poultry diseases, and subsequently advice them on poultry nutrition, housing and breeding whenever a chance comes up (more especially when I visit homes to treat or vaccinate livestock). Let us put together our limited resources and establish this enterprise among the pastoral community. It is our obligation.

Telephone: +254788175000
Farmconsult Limited

March 26, 2012


Agajie Tesfaye
Socio-economics, Research Extension and Farmer Linkage, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR),
Holetta Research Center, P.O.Box 2003, Addis Ababa

Livestock is the essential sector for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia making considerable contributions for rural development as source of livelihoods. However, the potential of the sector is not yet well utilized especially with respect to marketing practices, which is mainly governed by traditional ways of marketing. Prices of livestock at the market are mainly influenced by observable phenotypic attributes while well developed markets depend on measurable attributes, such as weight. The study has identified that body condition and age were the most governing attributes of large ruminants, such as oxen and cows, which affect prices at the market. On the other hand, age and weight were observed to be the most crucial attributes influencing prices of small ruminants, such as sheep and goats. It was also noted that weight and color were essential traits influencing prices of chicken. Age and draught power output were also reported to be fundamental attributes influencing prices of equines.

The implication of identifying phenotypic attributes is that feasible options should be designed to sensitize and create awareness of smallholders on how to maximize incomes from marketing of livestock. This can be achieved by introducing and promotion of different applicable and feasible practices. Some of them could be promotion of improved fattening technologies for different species of livestock. Moreover, it is feasible option to organize experience sharing visits to model areas in improved fattening and livestock management practices. In line with this, publication and dissemination of reading materials in local languages, such as leaflets, pamphlets, fliers, posters, manuals and other similar materials would be very crucial especially for households who can read and write. Training of development agents based at grassroots levels on improved fattening, marketing and livestock management practices will contribute to ensure sustainability of supports for smallholders. The eventual effect of these interventions would be enhancing market participation and bargaining power of smallholders, increasing household incomes and contributing to rural development.

Key words: Customers, income, phenotypic attributes, prices

March 24, 2012


E.N. Muthiani, E.C. Kirwa and A.J.N. Ndathi
KARI Kiboko Range Research Centre, P.O Box 12, Makindu

A survey was carried out in Mashuru and Loitoktok divisions of Kajiado District in 2004 to establish the status of chicken consumption and marketing. A total of 242 households were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. A one- off parallel market survey was done in four markets to establish the status of chicken marketing. The survey established that 56.5% of the respondents kept chicken, which was a domain for women. Chicken are kept mainly for income from the sale of eggs and live birds and all the respondents kept indigenous birds under free ranging with average flock sizes of 12 and 4 birds per household in Mashuru and Loitoktok division. About 87.7% and 85.1% of all the respondents in the district eat eggs and chicken meat respectively. The young (<19yrs) and the youth (20-39yr) constitute 76% and 74.3%, respectively of those who eat eggs and chicken. Chicken were sold in markets but there were no designated chicken selling yards in all the three market centres. The number of birds brought in the market did not meet the demand. Mean buying and selling price were perceived as low and ranged from KES. 87.5 and 99.17 for a small hen to KES. 184 and 228 for big cock respectively. The establishment of market infrastructure in the district was recommended. The development of skill in preparation of chicken and chicken products will lead to increased consumption and reduction of malnutrition among the vulnerable groups. Any intervention on chicken production should target the women, the young (<19years) and the youth (20-39 years)


March 22, 2012


Poultry Veterinary Network (Kenya)

Poultry Vets Network (PVN) is a common interest group of Veterinary Surgeons in Kenya with interest in Poultry work. These are Veterinarians keen on improving poultry enterprise by using their learned and acquired skills to assist poultry keepers improve health and productivity of their flock. This network is ardent in collection and distribution of poultry information to end-user (poultry farmers). Linking Research to Development is our key mission by bridging the gap that exists which is Extension. Extension activities will be carried out by veterinarian members also referred to as Poultry Veterinary Volunteers.


In view of a rapidly increasing human population in Kenya, resulting in high demand for food and a decrease in land available for agriculture, food production and food security will remain as priorities in the agricultural sector. To satisfy this rising demand, future development in this sector will be focused in those enterprises that require less land such as poultry production and result in products that are readily acceptable to the consumers. Also, recent calls by the health technicians to limit consumption of red meat due to its likely exposure of people to risks of cancer, demand for white meat (poultry meat, fish etc.) is due to increase.

Poultry are those birds that render economic service to man and reproduce freely under his care. Exotic poultry constitute 30% of total national poultry populations. These are usually kept around urban and peri urban areas, a factor dictated by their proximity to the market. Exotic poultry is kept by the resource-rich or financially stable poultry keepers as it requires a fair to good educational foundation, high financial input and in return has readily high output.  These keepers are in constant contact with the poultry breeders, feed manufacturers, drug manufacturers and other key players in the industry who are keen on training them and offering other on and off-farm extension to agribusiness services. To the advantage of these poultry keepers, most technocrats (technical persons) and resource suppliers (financial and farm inputs) are biased towards urban and peri urban areas due to availability of good infrastructure.

On the other hand, indigenous/ local/ household/ family poultry keepers account for 70% of the total national poultry populations. These poultry are kept in peri-urban (back yard) but majority are kept by the poor, resource and education challenged local communities. Free-range system is most common in rural areas as it is a least capital-intensive production system of low input, low output farming system. They keep an average flock size of 10-14 birds that consist of indigenous family birds. These birds are let free during the day and are only confined at night. Indigenous family birds are harder than exotic breeds on free-range system where little or no food is supplemented. They have a great foraging ability, high feed conversion efficiency, but small size and low production. The family poultry keepers tend to have a wrong belief that these birds are hardy to diseases (except Newcastle disease) and do not need extra attention. Technical experts to advise indigenous poultry keepers on how to improve health and production of these birds are lacking in the villages, with keepers left to employ their indigenous knowledge in disease control, a practice that has not recorded agreeable results. Poultry keepers’ knowledge on poultry disease diagnosis, treatment, prevention & control is wanting. Veterinary medicines are not readily available in villages. Major outbreak of viral diseases especially Newcastle often go un- or under-reported because of poor infrastructural and communication network and thus lasting solution are not arrived at. Another scenario common to rural poultry keepers is that, at the time of disease outbreaks, the families feasts on the sick birds to avert further losses, unaware of the dangers they are exposing themselves to since disease diagnosis has not been arrived at.

Poor housing exposing the birds to predation and ecto-parasitism is also a major impediment to this production system. Most families share housing with these birds oblivious of the dangers they expose themselves to.

Marketing of these birds is also a challenge. After several months of raising dwarfed birds, traders/ middle men exploit rural poultry keepers, robbing them off a fortune while they make big profits when they sell birds in urban areas. Indigenous birds are preferred because they have tasty meat and desirable egg quality, color and taste. Their products are also free from antibiotics, hormones and other harmful chemicals. These birds fetch more income than exotic ones.

Poultry health and production extension work has been solely left to animal production technicians who are limited in knowledge as far as poultry diseases concerns, the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of these diseases. On the other hand, majority of veterinary practitioners in Kenya are biased towards large animals and pets neglecting poultry engagements. This initiative is therefore necessary in order to mobilize veterinary surgeons to assist in poultry extension services and render their extensive savoir faire to assist poultry keepers and the poultry industry as a whole. This initiative is biased towards rural industry and is aimed at uplifting the financial and social status of rural dwellers by emphasizing the need for seriously engaging in poultry activities as a source of income, cheap protein and a source of employment.

  • To gather poultry information, aimed at assisting poultry keepers to improve health and productivity of their birds (information collection).
  • Participate in on and off-farm training of poultry keepers on poultry health and productivity (capacity building),
  • Organize poultry related field events and activities that will engage poultry vets in treating and vaccination of flocks,
  • On-farm visitations and consultations by veterinary volunteers on poultry health and productivity
  • Research including disease diagnosis, necropsies, data collection on disease incidences and losses; and other experimental work
  • Collaborate with institutions, veterinary pharma industry, feed manufacturers, humanitarian agencies, funding bodies and other stakeholders who are keen on improving poultry health and productivity to promote poultry activities.

  • Information gathering (literature search, sharing and archiving) on poultry health and production
  • Publication of resource materials that will assist poultry keepers in understanding the health and production of poultry
  • Organizing and participating in field events and on-farm visits as part of training and monitoring of poultry health and production activities
  • Organize and participate in campaigns aimed at poultry disease control
  • Organize training forums for poultry vet volunteers, farmers and other stakeholders
  • Participate in research activities on poultry health and productivity
  • Liaise with willing partners in implementing poultry related projects
  • Fundraising for poultry health and production activities

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a new brainchild:

the Poultry Veterinarians Network!!  

October 27, 2011


Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Climate change can alter poultry’s relationship with parasites and vectors. These changes can influence where parasites and vectors thrive, making certain geographical regions more or less amenable to them. Climate change can also alter when and for how long parasites and vectors pose a threat to the birds. Climate can determine how vectors/ pathogens are distributed, transmitted and evolve, and can influence the factors associated with emerging poultry diseases and how birds respond to those diseases. Significant environmental changes have been well documented in recent decades, and some of these changes are causing trouble the poultry.
Regular parasite and disease surveillance is necessary as this will provide up-to-date information about changes in vector/ pathogen prevalence and intensity/ populations. Laboratory and field research will help illuminate how climate changes influence vector/ pathogen characteristics, and models will help researchers and producers to predict and plan for vector/ pathogen threats.
“More and more countries are indicating that climate change has been responsible for at least one emerging or re-emerging disease occurring on their territory. This is a reality we cannot ignore and we must help Veterinary Services throughout the world to equip themselves with systems that comply with international standards of good governance so as to deal with this problem,” explained Dr Bernard Vallat, DG of the OIE.
Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Poultry flocks are particularly vulnerable to climate change because birds can only tolerate narrow temperature ranges. Poultry farmers need to consider making adaptations now to help reduce cost, risk and concern in the future.
Potential disadvantages of climate change include:
  • More heat stress in both housed and outdoor flocks
  • Reduced egg production and growth rates at higher temperatures
  • Higher mortality rates in outdoor flocks, resulting from extreme weather events
  • More expensive housing to withstand storms and temperature fluctuations
  • More effective ventilation and cooling systems to counteract higher temperatures
  • Higher energy costs to operate ventilation systems more frequently
  • Increased persistence of some endo and ecto parasites with associated increase in medication
  • Increased mortality and reduced production due to increased mycotoxins in feed
Adaptation suggestions include reviewing poultry house building design in new builds to more effectively cope with new climate and weather extremes, including the installation of more/new equipment to cope with new climate extremes.

Mitigating measures include the installation of renewable energy such as solar or wind power to power poultry sheds, and using biomass boilers or anaerobic digestion of poultry litter.



October 22, 2011


Ministry of Livestock Development, P.O Box 25 Ololulung'a

Control options available

Control of ectoparasites in indigenous chicken is perceived as a major impediment to rural farmers since their scavenging habits and constant contact with contaminated environment make them an easy prey to parasitic infestations. Isolating poultry flocks from other animals to reduce the opportunity for disease transmission; isolating young from older birds if more than one age group is present on the farm and keeping wild birds, rodents, insects and pets away from poultry is almost impossible due to the nature of their production system (free range system).

When the pests are discovered and identified, effective control will entail collective alternatives. This control can be approach as on-host and/ or off-host treatment. A number of techniques have been used in control of these ectoparasites. These include: management changes such as modification of poultry housing by eliminating, minimizing or sealing cracks and crevices required by these pests for shelter in current or planned housing. Entry of wild birds and rodents can be prevented with screen and other barriers.

Cultural methods like paraffin use in control of fleas (Echidnophaga gallinacea) and petroleum jelly applied on scaly legs (Cnemidocoptes mutans); and traditional herbs like neem (Mwarubaini) leaves and bark have been employed in control of ectoparasites in indigenous family chicken. In the treatment of scaly mites, neem (Mwarubaini) mixed with residue from soaked and filtered ash and a little water is made into paste and smeared on the scaly legs. The commonly used insecticides include permethrins, cabaryl compounds, coumaphos, tetrachlorvinphos and/ or tetrachlorvinphos and dichlorvos combination, applied as a spray (or bird dipping) and dust treatments.

Control mites by treating their hiding places. Treat roosts, walls, litter, and equipment by painting, spraying, or dusting. Treat all cracks, crevices, and rough spots. As a general practice, even in the absence of a known infestation of insects or mites, the poultry house should be treated at least twice a year. The treatment should include a thorough cleaning of the house and an insecticide application. Northern fowl mites (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) specifically infest the vent area, although males tend to have a more scattered infestation. Caged layers should be sprayed or dusted from underneath the cage in order to penetrate the vent feathers. For an effective treatment, spray two times with half doses, thirty minutes apart, to ensure that the vent region has been thoroughly saturated with the appropriate pesticide. Floor birds with northern fowl mite infestations can be bunched into a corner and treated with the same spray techniques, again, aimed at the vent area. For very small flocks, simply dipping each bird in a tank of the full dose spray mixture can be very effective. Treatment of Dermanyssus gallinae involves cleaning and disinfecting the poultry house. Mites can be located along cracks and crevices of the roost areas and poultry house, and eliminated by spraying pesticides in these infested areas two or three times for several weeks. Spray roosts and other equipment in the house. Remove nesting material and spray nest boxes inside and out. Allow time for drying before adding new nesting material.

Control of poultry lice requires treating the birds since lice remain on the bird throughout its life. Treat by dipping, dusting, or spraying the birds, and be careful to avoid contaminating eggs, feed and water. Treatment is easiest at night when birds are quiet. For best results, split treatments with half of the recommended amount of insecticide applied initially, and the second half applied soon after the first, since the wet feathers retain more active ingredient. Applying liquid sprays to dry feathers often results in loss of some of the insecticide due to runoff.

Integrated poultry pest management

Poultry integrated pest management (IPM) is based on applied ecology – understanding the pest biology and behavior in the habitat. Pest control in poultry facilities requires a judicious meshing of the cultural, biological, and chemical methods described previously. Biosecurity is always a primary element for preventing as much as possible the introduction of disease organism and pests into the operation. Optimal flock, housing, and waste management procedures should be continuously practiced to assist in suppressing pest populations and to encourage natural control factors, including moisture control, fly parasites and fly predators. When monitoring indicates unacceptable pest levels, additional actions are required to improve the implementation of the management practices.

In addition, chemical applications may be necessary. The timing of insecticide applications must be meshed with the poultry management practices. Very often this restricts applications to between flocks in a house when thorough cleaning and spraying is possible as for beetle, chicken mite, and bedbug control. Chemical applications for fly control by residual spraying, insecticide–bait mixtures and occasional misting are sometimes necessary to bring the adult fly population down to an acceptable level. However, those applications must be made with minimal contamination of the manure to preserve the natural populations of fly parasites and predators.


Regional Animal Health Centre for Western and Central Africa, B.P. 1820, Bamako, Mali
Corresponding author: efgueye@refer.sn

Family poultry (FP), which make up around 80% of poultry stocks in many developing countries of Africa and Asia, are still important. However, FP farmers are facing many constraints, including high mortality, mainly due to Newcastle disease and currently also to the highly pathogenic avian influenza in many countries since its occurrence in Asia in late 2003. Significant improvements in FP production systems can be achieved through well-designed and implemented information dissemination programmes that endow FP farmers with necessary knowledge and skills. The setting-up of poultry networks that enable FP farmers to acquire and share knowledge, views, experiences as well as research and development results in FP keeping in developing countries is discussed. Ways to improve the efficiency of information dissemination through poultry networks by taking into account the socio-cultural and economic environments of targeted FP farmers are also explored.