European chicken populations are not prepared for future challenges

Livestock is a key livelihood component for poor households in developing countries but livestock diseases continually threaten the livestock assets, some of the local chicken populations are at risk of extinction, and in Europe there might be problems in the future with regard to conserving genetic diversity in chicken breeds. OralPres-3-002 copy Christian Hülsebusch presenting a Boran Cattle Breeding Study done in Kenya Research in animal health and productionbest adapted breeds under local conditions. For example crossbeeding of sheeps in Yemen brings significant improvement in lambs’ weights at birth and positive impact in the fertility rate. Kenyan beef producers keep improved Boran crossbred with Simmental, Angus, Fleckvieh, Charolais – as far as forage base permits – to increase production. Cattle traits desired by the Rancher should be hardy animals, adapted to heat, tick resistant with good walking and feeding ability and good fertility and mothering ability. The Cow Sense herd Management software can be used to store and manage information gathered during normal ranch routine and generate analyses. Chickens from Africa and Asia have been reported to have higher heterozygosity (each population has a higher diversity of different traits) than chickens in Europe. At the same time, African and Asian chickens also have higher average genetic contributions. Europe faces serious problems in terms of conservation; some important characteristics will be missed in future and some local chicken populations are at risk of extinction. In Ghana, diseases continually threaten the livestock assets and consequently cause big financial losses. The cost benefit ratio for treatment is often smaller than the difference in value of a healthy to a sick animal. However, farmers do not often dare to take the risk and sell their sick animals rather than treating it. Governmental vets (3 years education) are more expensive compared to community health workers (3 months training education), but provide mostly also a better quality in Services. Quality services are crucial as farmers need to be sure that the person treating their animals is able to do the job well. At this point it was argued, that community animal health workers need improved trainings. In Mali, most important objectives to keep livestock (ranked by importance) are draught, saving, ceremony, manure, sale of live animal, milk for home consumption, milk for selling, meat for self-consumption and prestige, among other reasons. In the study presented, draught is 18 times more important than having livestock for meat consumption. Zebu and crossbreds are more susceptible do diseases compared to N´Dama cattle but Zebu is valued for its productive traits and can work longer in the field than the N´Dama. Crossbreeding remains very important to improve productivity of livestock production. However, in order to keep the diversity of animal breeds, to be able to continuously adapt animals to changing local conditions and to be prepared for future challenges, it is important to breed also valuable indigenous species.


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