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close this bookAnimal Traction in Rainfed Agriculture in Africa and South America (GTZ, 1991, 311 p.)
close this folderD. Features of draft animal husbandry
View the document1. Selection of animals
View the document2. Procurement of draft animals
View the document3. Feeding of draft animals
View the document4. Methods of keeping draft animals
View the document5. Training and utilization of draft animals

4. Methods of keeping draft animals

Corresponding to the information given in the previous section, in which pure stall feeding occurred in none of the cases, exclusive stall keeping was not mentioned in regards to the housing for draft animals. (figure D 16)

Fig. D 16: Methods of keeping draft animals conc. stall keeping (numbers out of total no of instances 79)

All day


At night


Sometimes at night






No relationship exists between the type of housing and the already existing draft-animal tradition, whereby it must be taken into consideration that very few questionnaires were available for the Asian region. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where animal traction had been introduced with the support of promotion agencies, the answer "stall keeping depending upon acceptance of the extension services" was marked.

Generally, a stall should fulfil the following functions:

- protection of the animals from the weather (rain, sun),
- good drainage,
- acceptable hygienic conditions,
- protection from theft and wild animals,
- assurance of an optimal exploitation of given feedstuffs,
- collection of manure.

In the densely populated countries of Asia, where stall keeping plays a decisive role, the last two functions listed are important due to the scarcity of land. Starkey and Apetofia (1986) reported on Nepal that collecting fodder involves much labour and a decision must always be taken between this option and tending or construction of fences; nevertheless, the collection of dung in conjunction with stall feeding is highly regarded.

Similar to the full exploitation of fodder resources the use of manure in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and South America is extensive, in comparison to highly populated countries of Asia. Collection and storage of dung is not carried out everywhere and is thus connected with a high loss of nutrients. Because of a lack of transport possibilities (carts, suitable paths) the spreading of manure is only done mostly on fields near the farmyard and for garden manure. The efficient use of natural nutrient cycles and therefore the degree of integration of animal husbandry in cropping can also be measured according to the method of keeping animals.

Accordingly, the housing for draft animals in Africa is very elementary in practice, as opposed to the high demands of the recommendations placed by the extension services (e.g. stalls with roofs and manure storage). The variants reach from tethering under a tree or keeping animals under a simple straw roof in close proximity to the yard, to keeping animals in a corral overnight (eg in East and South Africa)

The prestige value of the animals also plays a role. While a donkey requires a minimum of care, horses receive considerably more attention in this respect. Usually children are given the task of feeding and removing wastes from draft animals. Keepers of draft animals in the overlapping areas of animal production and crop production profit from specialization in terms of a division of labour by accommodating their animals with extensively keep herds during the dry season. Thus, the labour investment is seasonally eliminated.