RURAL CHICKEN FLOCKS IN THE NORTHWEST OF ALGERIA: THEIR HUSBANDRY, PERFORMANCE INDICES, AND MARKETING
K. Zouaoui1, L. Dahloum2,*, M. Halbouche2, F. Soltani2, A. Homrani1 and A. Yakubu3
1 Laboratoire des Sciences et Techniques de Production Animale (LSTPA), Abdelhamid Ibn Badis University, PO. Box 188, Mostaganem 27000, Algeria
2 Laboratoire de Physiologie Animale Appliquée (LPAA), Abdelhamid Ibn Badis University PO. Box 188, Mostaganem 27000, Algeria
3 Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Shabu-Lafia Campus, P.M.B. 135, Lafia 950101, Nigeria
Corresponding author’s email: Lahouari.firstname.lastname@example.org
The present study was undertaken to contribute towards a better understanding of the production systems, productivity, and trait preferences of local chicken farmers in Algeria. Data were collected from a total of 160 randomly selected smallholder poultry farmers in 3 provinces of the northwest of Algeria. The free-range system of production was predominant and mainly managed by women (61.3%). For 91.9% of the smallholders, selling live birds was the main purpose for keeping chickens whereas eggs were used for both home consumption and income (56.2%). Flock capacity averaged 16.9 birds with an overall hen: cock ratio of 6.5:1. An average number of clutches per hen per year and the average number of eggs per clutch were 4.87 and 12.75, respectively. The mean annual egg production per hen was estimated at 45 eggs per year. Egg hatchability was 79.36% while the chick survivability rate was 61.5%. Predation (55%), diseases (19.4%), and cold temperature (16.2%) were the major causes of chick mortality. The average price of adult indigenous cocks and hens was about 7 USD/bird and 5.5 USD/bird, respectively, while the average selling egg price was about 0.14 USD/egg. Rural chickens and egg marketing appeared to be a profitable business, especially for middlemen. Therefore, more attention should be paid to promoting small-scale chicken production and marketing through involving women in various projects aimed at safeguarding and improving local chicken breeds through selection and cross-breeding.
Keywords: commercialization, consumer’s preference, management system, native birds, productivity.