Digestive Tract Development of Native Chickens under Village Management

Authors:Samuel Jacobson, Nathalie Pulcini, Sahar Ahmed


Young chicks feed in the family with their mother during the day and are sheltered at night. The nutrient intake of chicks fed by clear dung is low and uneven, which may impair their growth and development of the digestive tract. The study was conducted in six adjacent villages, Tshifudi, Tshidzini, Tshamutshedzi, Tshivhilwi, Tshitereke and Makhuvha. All villages in Thulamela, Vhembe, Limpopo, South Africa, are located between 22°48′ S to 22°53′ S north latitude and 30°28′ E to 30° 42′ E longitude. The Vhembe district is the northernmost part of the province of Limpopo, bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The experimental results show that chickens under village management are characterized by slow development of the digestive tract, high growth performance and high mortality. In the first six weeks, the use of locally produced feed, brooding and dietary supplementation strategies to provide shelter for newly hatched chicks may be an important tool for overall improvement in chicken production, by reducing early adult mortality and increasing growth rates.

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