The present survey was conducted to characterize herding practices and overall production performances of pastoral systems in the Kanem region, Chad. Overall, 69 livestock keepers were interviewed, among which 12 sedentary agro-breeders, 35 mobile agro-herders, and 22 nomadic herders. Species association is a main feature of the herd structure. Agro-herders make most often an association between cattle and small ruminants (47%). Among mobile agro-herders, the association between cattle and small ruminants is frequent (47%) whereas nomadic herders tend to show more diverse modalities of herd composition. Feed is mainly based on natural pastures. However, complementary feeding is provided, targeting the producing females and weaker stock during the maximal risk period. During the rainy and post-harvest season, milk yields are significantly higher among agro-herders than in other groups (p<0.05). In camels, the season of the year and the herding system have no effect on milk production. Regarding reproduction parameters, the mean age at first calving is 4.7±0.7 years in cows and 5.8±0.6 years in she-camels. The calving interval is 1.9±0.4 years in cows and 2.7±0.4 years in she-camels. The fecundity rate is around 63% in cows and 44% in she-camels. Simple husbandry techniques might help increasing production levels to the benefit of the households, as complementary feeding, which is already provided in a targeted way. The systematic implementation of this complementation faces constraints of availability of these agricultural by-products on the local markets. As far as research is concerned, the study recommends the implementation of herds monitoring of the area in order to precise the livestock breeding practice as well as zootechnical parameters.
Key words: Agro-pastoral, cattle, camel, Chad, herding, Kanem, production performances.
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