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Management practices and challenges in smallholder indigenous chicken production in Western Kenya
The potential benefit of indigenous chicken (Gallus domesticus) production is still under-exploited in Kenya despite the efforts by different stakeholders to mainstream this production system as a pathway to rural development. The production system is often characterized by low input-low output productivity and low commercialization of the enterprise. This study which dwells on the current management practices and challenges faced by smallholder indigenous chicken farmers was conducted to gain insights into the underlying causes of production constraints. In Western Kenya women (76%) dominate the indigenous chicken production system. The flock composition consists mainly of chicks, hens and pullets (80%) which reflects their retention for production purposes. Less than half of the farmers access institutional support services such as extension, training, credit and veterinary services. In addition, indigenous chicken is largely reared in a low input-low output free-range system with only few farmers (24.2%) adopting management interventions as disseminated by extension service. To improve production and attain increased productivity, policy should focus on repackaging extension messages that considers farmers economic situations and strengthens collective action initiatives. Accessing joint input purchase and collective marketing of chicken products may further assist the farmers to increase profit margins.