A majority of rural households in South Africa-own village chickens which contribute significantly to their livelihoods, yet, there is dearth of information on production practices of this enterprise. Thus, this study was conducted to determine the village chicken production practices in the Amatola Basin of the Eastern Cape Province. Data were gathered using a questionnaire survey of 81 households. They were identified from seven villages using snowball’s sampling technique. Village chickens were mostly (60.5%; n = 49) owned by women and mainly raised to meet household food requirements. Some farmers (28.4%; n = 23) also occasionally sold their chickens to neighbours at an average of R50 (USD7.55) per bird. Most chicken flocks (96.3%; n = 78) were provided with supplementary feeds and drinking water. Majority (93.8%; n = 76) of their households also provided some form of shelter for their chickens. Although, most respondents (93.8%; n = 76) confirmed the use of alternative remedies to control parasites and treat diseases; most chicken keepers (81.5%; n = 66) experienced chicken losses due to predation and health related problems. Since this study was limited to the documentation of village chicken production, there is the need for a further research to ascertain the extent to which chicken management practices and environmental variables affect village chicken production in this area.
Key words: Ethno-veterinary medicines, free-range, resource-limited farmers, rural, scavenging chickens.
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