Full Length Research Paper
The production practices used to rear seventy-three guinea fowl flocks in a semi-arid zone in north-eastern Zimbabwe were investigated during the period of June to July 2002. Data were generated using participatory research appraisal techniques. Extensive (scavenging) and semi-intensive rearing systems were the two types of rearing systems practiced, with the former accounting for 81% participants. Both practices farmed an indigenous helmeted guinea fowl (Numidia meleagris). Men managed approximately 69% of flocks while the fowl was reared for cash generation. Average productivity indices were: flock size8±6 birds (range: 2 to 30/keeper); egg production 89±50 eggs (range: 0 to 200 eggs/hen); hatchability 64% (range: 0 to 100%) and keet survival rate 60% (range: 0 to 100%). Provision of supplementary feed was given to birds under the semi-intensive feeding regime. Feed was offered in a haphazard manner and feed offered comprised mainly of crushed maize, millet or sorghum grains. Ethno veterinary services were used as substitute for conventional veterinary support. Housing provided was substandard. From the results, it was inferred that scavenging was the popular rearing system, however, overall flock productivity compromised of immense eggs losses, poor hatchability and high keet mortality; but there is merit to pursue research for better management styles as strategy to enhance productivity.
Key words: Guinea fowl, rearing, practice, productivity, rural, Zimbabwe.
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