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pigs faceThe status of animal welfare practice among poultry farmers in Uganda



Year: 2021

Lutebemberwa Isa
Makerere University, Uganda

Supervisor(s): Dr Tayebwa Dickson and Dr Sylvia Nalubwama


 

Uganda’s population has increased drastically over the last 10 years, from 17.9 to 41.6 million people increasing the demand for animal products. Consequently, farmers intensified production changing from free range, to cages and deep litter management systems which is likely to compromise the welfare of poultry. This study aimed to assesses the status of animal welfare among layer poultry farms in Kampala and Wakiso districts. Data from 32 deep litter poultry farms, with birds above 3 months of age was collected using a questionnaire to assess farmers attitudes and practices, and a checklist to score the infrastructure and behavior of the flocks in reference to the five freedoms of animal welfare. Preliminary results indicated that 65.4% of farmers provide perches, designed from locally available material whereas 31.2% of the farms reported vices such as cannibalism, vent pecking and egg eating. Assessment of the litter quality showed that 46.9% of the farms had solid and caked litter. Biosecurity was a major concern because 46.9% had no functional house unit footbaths while 78.1% prepared no protective attire including overall and gumboots for farm workers. For disease control, only 6.3% had a veterinarian at the farm while the rest of the farmers preferred to just call when there was need or after treatment failure. Remarkably, all farms had flocks which were vaccinated. Water and feed were provided although the source of the feeds and water was variable according to the farms. 62.5% of the farms had no feed formula and those that had, relied on the expertise of the managers (50%), veterinarians (28.1) and feed ingredient suppliers (15.6%) to formulate. In 75% of the farms, nest boxes were provided although no provision was made to block direct light from the environment. Practices such as debeaking were performed by a veterinarian on 66.7% of the farms while the rest of the farms had their own staff to do it. In summary, the farms visited so far attempted to provide feed, care, disease control and access of poultry to exercise which are good indicators of proper animal welfare. Nevertheless, glaring loop holes were identified in biosecurity underscoring the need for sensitization training on the importance of animal welfare in optimizing production.