SMALL LIVESTOCK

The role which various small livestock play in the nutrition and economy of most families is an important one. In rural areas, many farmers unable to keep larger livestock regard sheep and goats as an investment - ready cash when money is needed for school fees or sickness. Smaller livestock - chickens, rabbits, etc - mean that hospitality is always available for visitors, and provide a supply of eggs and meat for the family, even though this is often only for special occasions.  

Improving production of small livestock will bring great benefits for the health of the whole family. We hope health workers can use some of these suggestions in their communities. Would a rabbit project, for example, be a useful addition to your community clinic? 

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 10.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 10, please click here (PDF 4.4 MB).


  • ‘Barefoot vets’ for sheep and goats

    by Dr Roger Sharland. Sheep and goats are often neglected in development projects. But they are very important in the lives of those who do keep them. They act as a type of bank - animals can be sold for special occasions or for a particular need.

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  • Editorial

    The role which various small livestock play in the nutrition and economy of most families is an important one. In rural areas, many farmers unable to keep larger livestock regard sheep and goats as an investment - ready cash when money is needed for school fees or sickness. Smaller livestock - chickens, rabbits, etc - mean that hospitality is always available for visitors, and provide a supply of eggs and meat for the family, even though this is often only for special occasions.

    Read More
  • Fodder gardens for goats

    by Mike Carter.  Many smallholder farmers are short of land. They may want to keep livestock because animals provide security, but are unable to do so because they do not have enough land for large animals. One solution to this is to raise goats in pens and to grow fodder to feed them.

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  • Impregnated mosquito nets

    by Dr Chris Curtis.  Malaria is caused by parasites (called Plasmodium) which are carried from the blood of one person to that of another by Anopheles mosquitoes (see above). This type of mosquito generally bites late at night, so bednets would be expected to be a good way of protecting against them. However, mosquitoes are very clever at finding holes or other ways into nets and they also bite arms or legs which rest against the net during the night.

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  • Letters

    Issues raised by AIDS We have discussed protection of health workers from AIDS at a number of meetings. The conclusion is always - not a great risk, unless you have cuts and even then it’s OK as long as you’re careful to cover the cut and wear two pairs of gloves!

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  • Problems with poultry

    by Mike Carter.  You have probably seen an ‘intensive’ poultry project: day-old chicks of a ‘grade’ or ‘hybrid’ type have been bought; an expensive poultry house has been built for them, perhaps with a corrugated tin roof; special feed is brought ready-mixed from mills.

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  • Rabbits

    Rabbits are kept by small-scale producers in virtually every country of the world. When well managed, they are very productive, reproducing rapidly and producing good quality meat and fur. They are useful animals for individual farmers, village groups and schools. 

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  • Resources

    AGRICULTURE The Tropical Agriculturalist Series published by CTA and Macmillan Rabbits by Denis Fielding ISBN 0-333-52311-3 (106 pages)

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  • The editor's scrapbook! - Tips from around the world

    Muscovy ducks are an excellent way of controlling flies. At a recent ceremony in Togo, a number of muscovy ducks were killed and prepared for cooking. An employee of the Heifer Project opened their crops, out of interest, to see what they had been eating. (The crop is an enlarged pouch in the throat of a bird where food is stored before being digested.) Each crop was filled with hundreds of flies! 

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  • The guinea pig

    The guinea pig or cavy (cuy or cobayo) comes from the Andes in South America. Villagers in many parts of South America keep guinea pigs in their kitchens.

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