Veterinary Sciences and Medicine

An Evaluation of a Pilot Flock Health and Productivity Monitoring Programme on Performance of Smallholder Layer Chicken in Peri-Urban Kampala, Uganda

Author(s): Immaculate Nabukenya, Collins Atuheire, Benard Agwai, Samuel G. Okech, Maria G. Nassuna-Musoke, Paul Semazzi, Christine Kesiime, Sylvia A. Baluka, Joseph Ouma and James Okwee-Acai*

We evaluated a pilot flock health and productivity monitoring programme in peri-urban smallholder poultry farms in Kampala, Uganda. A total of 14 flocks were enrolled for this action-oriented longitudinal study. On enrolment, a flock was visited and evaluated every fortnight using a standard flock evaluation form. From each visit, a flock health report was produced prescribing specific on-farm interventions. A linear regression model was fitted to assess the effects of repeated flock visits on fecal coccidian oocyte counts (OPG), flock mortality and daily egg lay. Characteristically, the flocks were mostly (92.7%) Isa Brown chicken kept on deep litter. Most (78.6%) flocks commenced egg lay at 20-24weeks of age and attained peak production five weeks from start of lay (at 25-30weeks of age). At peak production, daily percentage egg lay for most (75%) flocks was 65-85%. The layer flocks (78.6%) were provided branded pre-formulated feeds bought from commercial feed processors. At least 64% of farmers reported outbreaks of diseases including Newcastle, infectious bronchitis, gumboro and fowl typhoid amongst flocks. Farmers (93%) however, vaccinated flocks against Newcastle disease only. percentage egg lay was negatively associated with OPG (β=-0.000180, p<0.05). Daily egg lay however, improved (β=0.110, p<0.05) following repeated scheduled flock visits. Likewise, flock mortality decreased with the visits. Overall, we concluded that smallholder layer poultry in Uganda are performing below production potential. However, production could be significantly improved through tailored flock-health and productivity monitoring programmes as the model extension approach to support of smallholder farmers.

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