Small Ruminant Production and Management Systems in Urban Area of Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria
Keywords:Constraints, herd size and composition, management practices, sheep and goats, socio-economic characteristics
A total of one hundred small ruminant farmers randomly selected from three Local Government Areas of Ilorin metropolis were surveyed to examine small ruminant production and management in the southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria. About 90%, 83%, 43% and 55% of the respondents were male, married, in the age bracket of 40-49 years and had secondary education, respectively. West African dwarf goats (45.2%) and Yankasa sheep (58.4%) were the most preferred and dominant breeds of goats and sheep in the study area. The method of feeding commonly adopted (96.3%) by the farmers was a combination of scavenging and supplementation while cassava peels was the main feed supplement. Most (56.20%) of the farmers got their animals through purchase only. Majority (56.3%) practised semi-intensive system of husbandry and a greater proportion (38.8%) reared the animals for consumption purpose. Tick-borne disease (37.82%), diarrhoea (23.18%), mange (17.08%) and helminthosis (14.64%) were the most prevalent diseases. Higher proportions of the farmers (38.5%) and (32.3%) employed self medication and local herbs, respectively, in treating their animals. Routine inspection of animals, as an improved practice, was introduced to 96.4% of the farmers while 68% adopted the practice making it the highest in terms of awareness and adoption among farmers. Farmers identified scarcity of fodders, lack of training and knowledge, shortage of veterinary services and limited capital as the most serious constraints facing small ruminant production in the study area. Chi-square analysis revealed that sources of animals and years of experience in production were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with the total number of animals reared by respondents. Correlation analysis showed that age of farmers, number of children and years in livestock farming were positively (r = 0.057, 0.194 and 0.087) but not significantly (p > 0.05) correlated to the number of stock reared. Small ruminant farming in the study area is a smallholder affair managed semi-intensively and requires improved feeding, provision of veterinary services, financial assistance and extension services to encourage and enhance production.
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