Contribution of village chickens to the resource-poor households.
Gwala, Mlungisi Petros.
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Village chickens are reared by almost every rural household in low-income, food-deficit regions of the world, but their contribution to food security at both, household and national levels is not well understood. The study was conducted to determine distributions patterns of village chicken meat within resource-poor households. A total of 242 households participated in the survey. There was a strong association between village chicken and other livestock ownership (P < 0.001), large chicken flock owners reared other livestock species. Village chickens were kept mainly for home consumption. Adult members of the households ate more village chicken meat than broiler meat as compared to the youth (P < 0.05). Village chickens were mainly slaughtered during periods of transitory food shortages. Logistic regression identified gender of the head of household, income, religion and gender of the decision-maker as significant determinants to influence the consumption of preferred of village chicken meat cuts by adult males and females (P < 0.05). Children consumed less preferred portions (heads, necks and feet). Income received in the household, flock size and ownership of other livestock were significant determinants of households attaining adequate food throughout the year. It was important to assess factors that limit the consumption of village chicken meat to children. There was a relationship between number of children and consumption of intestines in the households (χ2 = 9.05; P < 0.05). Increasing number of children in the households increased chances of consuming intestines. Gender of the head of household, household size and age restriction practice were significant predictors for an adult male to preferred meat cuts (P < 0.05). Village chicken flock size and season were significant predictors for an adult female to consume neck and thighs. Household size was a major predictor for head and liver consumption by male children (P < 0.05). Household size was a significant predictor for a female child to consume meat from the head, feet and wing (P < 0.05). The number of village chickens slaughtered varied with seasons. As the household size increased, children, especially female children were likely to suffer from nutritional insecurity. Households did not fully utilise village chickens to optimise household protein intake among household members. Village chicken contribution to resource-poor households is not yet optimised to alleviate poverty in resource-poor households. The factors that affect meat consumption by household members should be considered for future programmes aimed to improve the contribution of village chickens.