Tibaijuka W. E.
Traditional poultry production accounts for about 80% of the poultry population in Africa. Such poultry species are kept by smallholders, mostly in free-range and in backyard systems for food security, income and socio-cultural purposes. Flock productivity is low compared to high input systems due to sub-optimal management, lack of supplementary feeds, low genetic and diseases. Scavenging system provides most of the scavengeable feed resource base (SFRB) for rural poultry. However, the quantity and quality of SFRB for scavenging poultry varies with season, altitude, climatic conditions, farming activities as well as social, management and village flock biomass. In the present review, diets consumed by scavenging poultry indicates to contain on average low nutrient concentration of protein (100 g kg DM-1 ), energy (11.2 MJ kg DM-1 ) and minerals such as Ca (11.7 g kg DM-1 ) and P (5 g kg DM-1 ). This low concentration indicates that the amount of nutrients from SFRB alone cannot support optimal growth and egg production of scavenging poultry. Thus such nutrients which can not optimally supplied by SFRB should be provided as supplementary feeds. However, quantitative assessment of SFRB and nutrient concentrations could provide the best strategies to optimize the available SFRB for improving rural poultry productivity.
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