Background and Objective: Guinea fowl originates from Africa where it has a cultural significance and its raising is considered as an important traditional activity and food source. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the production of guinea fowls and guinea fowl eggs in the Western Tandjilé Department. Materials and Methods: Four sub-prefectures were chosen for the potential production of guinea fowl. A total of 320 guinea fowl farmers were the subject of this cross-sectional and retrospective survey. Results: The average number of laying females was 18 heads per backyard. Guinea fowl with dark gray plumage were dominant. Puberty occurs at 7 months (28 weeks) in males and at 8 months (32 weeks) in females. The hen was the most solicited (93%) for the brooding of 17 eggs on average. The hatching rate was 90% and the survival rate of guinea fowl at weaning at 2 months was 81.1%. Almost all farms (98%) were individual. Cereals alone or mixed with oilseeds have been the main feeds of guinea fowl, produced or purchased by producers. An average of 110 eggs laid per female during the five months of laying was observed. Diseases, losses due to predation, theft and lack of supervision were the constraints mentioned. Conclusion: The production of guinea fowl and guinea fowl eggs in the Western Tandjile Department requires special attention and adequate supervision to get rid of the constraints related to this breed and improve its productivity.
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Western Tandjilé Department in Chad has shown great interest in mélé agriculture due to a lot of benefits1. Guinea fowls are raised in an extensive divagate system in most of the parts2. Compared to chicken, guinea fowl is hardier and therefore better adapts to traditional breeding3. It fits easily in difficult breeding conditions, unlike exotic chickens. This short-cycle farming is almost everywhere due to availability of products in low price and within the reach of the most buyers4,5. It makes it possible to diversify the producer incomes in this Department and cope with un unforeseen one-off expenses2,6.
The guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) represents an important component of the farmyard in the department of west Tandjile6. Apart from its use as a source of income and protein, it also plays a socio-economic role in this Department7. However, guinea fowl remains undervalued, a situation illustrated by the limited number of scientific works devoted to it7. Existing work has focused on the characteristics6 and socio-economic study of guinea fowl2. Investigations into the production of guinea fowl in the province of Tandjilé are infrequent. However, it is well known that guinea fowl breeding offers several advantages and represents a very important asset for rural and peri-urban producers. Thus, the promotion of its breeding remains highly timely in the Province of Tandjilé. The objective of this study was to evaluate the production of guinea fowl breeding in the Department of West Tandjilé to increase the level of guinea fowl and guinea fowl egg production to meet the basic needs of the population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Description of the study area: The study was carried out in the Department of West Tandjilé, Kelo, Sudanese zone of Chad. This Department is located at 9.3995° North Latitude, at 15.8038° East Longitude. The climate is humid tropical. A part from commercial activities, the population of this locality practice agro-silvo pastoral farming system. Rainfall varies between 500 and 1200 mm per year. The average annual temperature is around 35°C. The rainy season corresponds to the growing season and runs from mid-April to the end of October. March and April are generally the hottest, July and August are the wettest months. The vegetation of the region is a shrub savannah in gallery forests.
The study was conducted from August to October 2021 in the Department of West Tandjilé. A total of 320 guinea fowl and guinea fowl egg producers participated in this study and 80 producers per sub-prefecture were selected randomly from 4 sub-prefectures (Baktchoro, Bologo, Kolon and Kelo). The data collected covered the structure of backyards, the plumage color of guinea fowl, breeding practices (ownership of breeding, reproduction, feeding, housing, etc.), egg production and production constraints.
Statistical analysis: The data collected were analyzed using XLSTAT software (6.1.9) to compute descriptive statistics (frequencies, averages, standard deviations, minimum, maximum and percentage). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to compare the means. The Newman Keuls multiple comparison tests were applied to determine the significant differences in means at the 5% level of significance.
Guinea fowl structure in households and plumage color
Structure of guinea fowl farmyards in households: Table 1 shows that the number of female guinea fowls was higher than that of males (Table 1). Based on the number of households enquired in the department of the west Tandjile, female breeders were 40.58% of flock (n = 5,837 heads), young males were 7.80% (n = 1,121), young females were 42.08% (n = 6,053) and male breeders were 9.53% (n = 1,372).
Plumage of guinea fowl: Of the three plumage colors of guinea fowl observed in the Department of West Tandjile (Fig. 1), the proportion of guinea fowl with dark grey plumage was the highest followed by those with grey plumage. Those with white plumage were in small proportion (p<0.05).
Reproduction of guinea fowl: The reproductive parameters of guinea fowl in the Western Tandjilé have shown that young guinea fowl reach puberty between 7-8 months or 28-32 weeks of age. The average number of hatched eggs was 17 units for all poultry species that were being used to incubate eggs. Hatching and survival rates were improved (Table 2). Among all the species used for eggs incubation in study area, the hen was the most solicited (93%), followed by the duck (6%) and the hen or duck (1%) in households.Guinea fowl rearing practices
Properties of guinea fowl: Individual ownership of guinea fowl backyards in households was the largest (98%, n = 312) compared to the collective ownership which is very low (2%, n = 8).
Feeding guinea fowl: All producers fed their guinea fowl with grains, oilseeds, or a combination of two (Fig. 2). Cereals (millet, maize, sorghum, Penicillary millet and rice) formed the basis of the guinea fowl diet followed by the mixture of cereals and oilseeds (groundnuts, cucumbers and sesame). The use of oilseeds in the diet of guinea fowl was the least. These feeds were either purchased [19% (n = 60)] or produced by the breeders themselves [30%, n = 96)]. Majority of the breeders [51%, n = 163)] purchased or produced the feed at the same time.
Guinea fowl habitats: In Western Tandjilé Department different types of housing (Fig. 3) were used for guinea fowl farming. Tree branches have been the main type of housing where guinea fowl spend their night.
Constraints on guinea fowl breeding: The main constraints to guinea fowl breeding included diseases (57%), followed by predation and theft. Many other obstacles to guinea fowl breeding in the Western Tandjilé Department have also been reported by breeders including lack of technical supervision and labor (Fig. 4).
Guinea fowl egg production: Table 1 shows the average number of female guinea fowls (18.28±13.72) per breeder in one production season. It was also observed that average number of eggs were 110.16±17.89 in 5.15±0.86 months. On an average, guinea fowls produce eggs for 3.53±1.55 years. These parameters varied according to the sub-prefectures (Table 3). The estimated total eggs laid during the season was 633,600 units. Breeders prefer guinea fowl farming due to higher production performance as compared to other poultry (Fig. 5). The breeding of guinea fowl is the most productive compared to other poultry (chickens, ducks and pigeons).
Guinea fowl structure in households and plumage color: The study showed that the breeding of female guinea fowl is more practiced than that of males in West Guinea. Indeed, in all breeding activities, the high number of females ensures the sustainability of the objectives of the farm. The objective of the guinea fowl breeding is the production of egg for consumption. This requires having several females to have more eggs. The same observations have been made in Chad6, Burkina Faso8 and Nigeria9 in the same area. The number of laying females varied according to the sub-prefectures with a larger number in the Sub-prefecture of Baktchoro. This observation confirms the fact that Baktchoro is more involved in this breeding than the others. The number of guinea fowl with dark grey plumage were the highest in the Department of the Western Tandjilé followed by grey and white plumage. The result of this study is different from those of Meutchieye et al.10. who reported more white-plumaged guinea fowl.
Reproduction of guinea fowl: Puberty occurs at 7 months in male and 8 months in female guinea fowl. Similar results were obtained by Sanfo et al.8 and Dahouda et al.11 but different results were reported by Hien et al.12 and Sanfo et al.13. The hen was the best incubator of the eggs of the guinea fowls in the department of the west Tandjile. It has the best hatching rate and survival of guinea fowl at weaning. In the study area guinea fowl laid their first egg around 8 months or 32 weeks of age. Most authors observed that the guinea fowls laid their first egg in the age range of 7-9 months (Table 4). The 90% hatching rate was also between the range of 80 and 95% recorded by previous studies. In contrast, Table 4 shows that the survival rate of guinea fowl at weaning was lower than that reported for the same area.