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ISSUE TWO 2017 PARTNERS
Additionally the project aims to explore farmers’
perceptions, attitudes and behaviours towards
disease prevention and biosecurity in raising village
chickens, and to train village chicken farmers in
methods of best production.
High chick mortality and deaths from
Newcastle disease were identified as the two
main constraints to village chicken production. A
12-month study showed that conducting one to
two Newcastle disease vaccinations, protecting
chicks from predation using bamboo coops
and providing supplementary feed to chicks in
creep feeders were able to reduce mortality rates
significantly. This resulted in a substantial increase
in the number of birds sold by farmers.
The Myanmar Livestock Federation (MLF)—the
chicken project’s private-industry partner—
developed a chick starter diet from local
ingredients. MLF also supported the development
of a sustainable retail system to make the feed
available in villages.
Improvements in village chicken production
are dependent on farmers’ uptake of new
technologies and skills. To facilitate adoption,
the project used innovative approaches
to communicate research findings in an
understandable manner to village farmers.
Included were unique extension methods, such
as incorporating messages to improve village
chicken production into traditional puppet plays
and by developing a series of movies advising on
improving village chicken health and biosecurity.
Rural chicken farmers were the central focus
of this extension work and they were trained in
simple and sustainable methods to improve the
health and production of scavenging chicken
flocks. Training in village chicken production has
been provided to almost 1,000 villagers across 70
villages of the CDZ.
The small ruminant and cattle components of
the Dahat Pan project have operated alongside
each other. The project team has been detailing
patterns of production and animal health to
obtain a greater understanding of cattle, goat and
sheep rearing in Myanmar, as well as identifying
opportunities for improvement.
Initial activities included meetings with
farmer groups to understand their issues. The
interested farmers then participated in a program
of regular monitoring of liveweight and body-
condition scoring to increase understanding of the
nutritional challenges and more clearly describe
seasonal patterns of production, such as births.
The project regularly provides ‘farmer report
cards’ to participants and updates billboards in the
villages summarising recent production and
To gain an understanding of the impact of
parasitism on ruminant health, one of the master’s
students, Thiri Zaw, monitored internal parasite
infections in goats, sheep and cattle. Anti-parasite
treatments are available in Myanmar, but there
is little information guiding farmers on the best
timing for treatments.
The results of this work will be integrated
into management recommendations to guide
farmers and animal health staff on the best use
of anti-parasite treatments to maximise their
efficacy while managing the risk of drug resistance
development and avoiding chemical residues. The
local village community animal health workers
(CAHWs) and government veterinarians have been
important supporters of this work, helping guide
UVS students to use drenches and collect samples.
A novel ‘syndromic health monitoring’ scheme
was initiated to collect animal health information.
Broad, descriptive information collected by
junior project staff from their own observations
and observations by farmers, CAHWs and
local veterinarians was collated. The monthly
monitoring revealed that young goats and sheep
often suffer from ‘ill thrift’—a syndrome of poor
growth and health caused by a combination of
poor nutrition and disease challenge.
In an effort to efficiently combat this problem,
the project trialled a ‘creep’ feeding system, which
lets only kids and lambs access a high-quality,
locally sourced feed supplement. From an initial
12 trial participants, creep feeding systems have
been extended to all small ruminant farmers in two
villages. Other villagers were only too keen to use this
creep feeding system. One farmer enthusiastically
reported that livestock traders had begun to
specifically seek out her animals to buy because of
the effect the creep feeding had on them.
Similarly in cattle, creep feeding of calves
has been viewed favourably by farmers, with
increasing numbers of farmers wanting to
participate. For their master’s degree research,
Shwe Sin Win and Aung Thet Myat worked with
farmers to monitor the effects that supplementary
feed had on the growth of calves. Improved
weight gains were observed compared with calves
that did not receive the creep feed.
The Dahat Pan project is now partnering with
other organisations to provide best practice
management recommendations to extend to
farmers throughout the CDZ. Hopefully this
knowledge will now spread more widely to
smallholder goat, sheep and cattle farmers
THE FEED CHALLENGE
A major challenge for the CDZ’s smallholder
farmers is to source year-round feed supplies
for their cattle and small ruminants. The cattle,
in particular, are critical to the success of farmer
livelihoods, supplying draught power for both
agricultural production and local transport.
While the residues of traditional pulse crops,
U Thaun Myint, community
animal health worker from
Ya Thar village, helps vets
treatments and to determine
the best timing of treatments.
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