Feleke Assefa Argaw
A survey was conducted in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia to assess local egg selection practices, brooding practices, practices of breaking broodiness, techniques of egg fertility testing, and factors related with incubation. A multi-stage sampling procedure was employed to select weredas, sample kebeles and respondents in which the three weredas were selected by purposive sampling technique. Pretested structured questionnaire and focused group discussion were employed to generate data. All generated survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics of SPSS 20. Broody hens were the only means of egg incubation and chick brooding. Broody hens were selected based primarily on body size, broody character, ability of defending predator and number of eggs laid from which broody character predominates the other parameters. Eggs laid at home were the predominant source of egg for incubation and selected mainly based on size, shape and season in which the egg is laid. A bamboo basket bedded with teff straw, a nest on the ground and a nest under bed were the common laying nest preparations. Farmers practiced to store eggs in either directly on the laying nest, in cold room and on the grain. The preferable season of allowing broody hen to hatch was from October to December because of better feed access, less predator and better chick survivability. Majority of the farmers practice cleaning the egg by cloth as treatment. Shaking the egg was the commonly used method of checking egg fertility. Farmers attempt to increase egg production by stimulating broody hens to resume laying through various practices from which moving to neighbors was the most common.
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