A Community Poultry Intervention to Promote Egg and Eggshell Powder Consumption by Young Children in Halaba Special Woreda, SNNPR, Ethiopia

  •  Anteneh Omer    
  •  Demmelash Mulualem    
  •  Henry Classen    
  •  Hassan Vatanparast    
  •  Susan J. Whiting    


Animal source foods such as eggs are often lacking in complementary foods in Ethiopia, a country with a high rate of malnutrition in under 5-year-old children. It is recommended that young children receive an egg a day, but rural households often cannot afford them or do not have experience raising chickens. The aim of this study was to conduct a poultry intervention, providing two chickens to households with a young child, stipulating that the child was the owner, and required an egg a day. This randomized, controlled, community trial was conducted in southern Ethiopia with children 6-12 mo living in selected kebeles. Chickens were gifted to families who guaranteed that eggs would be fed to the child in the Intervention, along with education on poultry production and promotion of eggs for children. Eggshell powder (ESP) was encouraged for use as a calcium supplement by children ≥ 1 y. Control kebeles continued with existing nutrition education for the 6-month trial. Baseline and end line outcome measures included child consumption of eggs, ESP, and poultry production. Other outcome measures will be reported elsewhere. Egg consumption by children was significantly improved only in the intervention group from 0.8 to 17 eggs/month (p < 0.001). ESP consumption got community acceptance with an average consumption of a child in the intervention group for 17 days/month (p < 0.001). Poultry production increased in the Intervention communities even when child-owned chickens were excluded from analysis (from 138 to 251 chickens) while in the Control communities, the number of chickens decreased (from 219 to 101). Cage construction improved in the Intervention communities, however, losses of chickens occurred. A 6-month poultry intervention that emphasized child ownership and provided education for poultry and nutrition education resulted in families increasing livestock numbers, and children eating on average more than half an egg a day.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1916-9752
  • Issn(Onlne): 1916-9760
  • Started: 2009
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