​Study on Housing Management Practices Followed by Dairy Farmers in Northern Telangana State of India

Ch. Ashokbabu, A. Saratchandra, Ch. Harikrishna, M. Srinivas Reddy
Background: Adequate housing is essential for wellbeing and welfare of any kind of livestock, which keeps them comfort and healthy thereby increases production and reproduction performance by exploiting their fullest genetic potential. As scanty information available on farmers practices on animal housing, the present study was undertaken to assess housing management practices followed by dairy farmers in Northern Telangana state of India.

Methods: Data were collected from randomly selected 240 dairy farmers from 24 villages of 8 mandals from 4 districts. A pretested semi-structured questionnaire in precise language was employed for collecting data through interview and face to face discussion with the dairy farmers duly avoiding ambiguous, dichotomous and non-variant items for proper interpretation.

Result: Majority (59.58%) respondents kept animals in kutcha houses and 74.58% sheds located to nearby their dwellings. Majority (50.42%) of the sheds were in east-west direction and 82.08% of the respondents followed single line system of housing. Majority 91.25, 95.42, 84.16, 67.92 and 69.58% of the respondents protected animals against extreme weather conditions, maintained cleanliness, had earthen floor, backward slope in the floor and wooden pillars, respectively. Majority of animal houses had thatched roof (50.42%) and without walls (82.08%) and majority of them (89.58%) provided mangers but only 11.25% had pucca type mangers. Only a few respondents (14.58%) provided pucca drainage system and most of the farmers (58.75%) had manure pit adjacent to their animal houses. The study concludes that, the dairy farmers of the study area are well aware of advantages of keeping animals in hygienic animal houses under adverse tropical climatic conditions of the study area and providing them periodical trainings and visits to modern organised dairy farms helps them to optimize productivity from dairy animals.
Animal husbandry practices play a vital role in the improvement of animal productivity and livestock production. Dairy farming plays an important role in social and economic livelihood of the farmers of Telangana state. Provision of health sustaining comfortable environment is a principal function of farm animal housing (Thomas and Sastry, 2009). Adequate housing management is essential for wellbeing and welfare of any kind of livestock, which keeps them comfort and healthy thereby increases production and reproduction performance by exploiting their fullest genetic potential. Provision of proper housing facilities to dairy animals not only reduces the energy wastage in maintain thermo neutral zone but also provides good hygienic condition, reduces incidence of diseases, protects them from predators and provides better working condition to the farmers (Prajapati et al., 2015).

As very scanty information available on farmers practices on animal housing in the tropical climate conditions prevailing, the present study was undertaken to assess existing housing management practices adopted by dairy farmers in Northern Telangana state of India.
A simple random sampling technique was employed to select the districts, mandals/towns, villages and respondents for the present study. Out of the 33 districts in Telangana state the present study was conducted in Karimnagar, Kamareddy, Jagtial and Peddapalli districts of Northern region. These four districts have been purposively selected because, they are considered as potential districts for milk production due to assured veterinary and milk marketing facilities in the state of Telangana and animal husbandry is the most important economic occupation in these districts. Two mandals/towns from each district and three villages from each mandal were selected making up a total of 24 villages with 10 dairy farmers randomly selected from each village, thus making 240 respondents as followed (Rajashekar et al., 2018).

The present study was undertaken in the selected districts of North Telangana state during the year 2018-19 for a period of 5 months with prior approval from P.V.N.R. Telangana Veterinary University, Hyderabad. A pretested semi-structured questionnaire in precise language was employed for collecting data through interview and face to face discussion with the dairy farmers duly avoiding ambiguous, dichotomous and non-variant items for proper interpretation. The geographic profile of the above four districts is presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Geographic profile of selected four districts in North Telangana State.



The researcher visited the villages of the respondents and they were interviewed one at a time by the researcher himself. The geographic profile of selected districts is presented in Table 1. Before collecting the data, the objectives of the study were lucidly explained and careful attempt was made to develop rapport with them. The questions in the schedule were presented to them in precise language to ensure that they perceived the questions correctly, so as to avoid any interpretational variation of the questions among the respondents and answers obtained were recorded instantly along with personal observations.

Data were collected on various housing management practices followed by them like type of shed, location of shed, type of flooring, type of roof, direction of shed, ventilation, cleanliness of shed, slope in floor, manger, floor space availed / given, manure disposal, etc. A total of 19 questions were asked to farmers on shelter management practices. The respondents were given full weightage if he/ she gave correct answer to the question. If he/she gave wrong answer no score was assigned. The total score obtained by the individual respondent for all the statements was recorded and tabulated as per the objectives concerned and simple tabular analysis with percentage was followed for analyzing the data.
Housing management practices followed by the dairy farmers in selected districts presented in Table 2, revealed that most of the farmers (59.58%) provided a kutcha type of houses in the study area. These findings are similar to the findings of Varaprasad et al., (2013) and Patil et al., (2015). In contrast to this Rajasekhar et al., (2018) found that majority of dairy farmers provided a pucca type of housing to their dairy animals followed by kutcha type in the study area. Majority (74.58%) of the farmers in the entire study area housed their animals nearby their dwellings, whereas few farmers (13.75%) kept their animals attached to their home. These findings are similar to the findings of Vij and Tantia (2005) and Dhaliwal and Dhillon (2017). Availability of land for shed, convenience and hygiene could be the reasons for deciding the location of the shed. In the case of direction of shed, most of the sheds (50.42%) are east-west in direction. Because of hot climatic conditions in north Telangana region farmers preferred east-west direction. These findings are corroborating with the findings of Sinha et al., (2009) and Kumar et al., (2011). In the entire study area 82.08 per cent of dairy farmers provided single line housing system to their dairy animals. The probable reason might be due to the fact that single line housing is cost-effective. Prevailing climatic conditions and economic status of the farmers might have played a significant role in the selection of housing. The results are in consonance with the findings of Ahiwar et al., (2009), Sinha et al., (2009) and Vranda et al., (2017). Regarding the size of the animal house, 80.42 per cent respondents provided optimum house. These findings are similar to the findings of Sinha et al., (2009) and Kumar and Mishra (2011).

Table 2: Housing management practices followed by respondents.



A majority number of farmers provided adequate floor space, lighting and ventilation to the animals. The findings indicated the awareness of farmers towards the provision of floor space, lighting and ventilation. The present findings are in accordance with those reported by Sreedhar et al., (2017). It was noticed that proper housing to protect animals from adverse weather conditions and cleaning of shed regularly was followed by more than 90 per cent of dairy farmers in the study area. These findings are similar to the findings of Janaka (2017).

Earthen flooring was found to be the dominant (84.16%) type of flooring practiced by the farmers in the study area, followed by cement concrete (12.92%), mud flooring (1.67%) and stone paved (1.25%). These results are similar to the findings of Sabapara et al., (2010) and Kishore et al., (2013).  It was observed that, the flooring pattern followed by farmers was in accordance to their economic status. Majority (67.92%) of the dairy shed floors in the study area were towards the back followed by without any slope (32.08%). These results are in agreement with the findings of Rathore and Kachwaha (2009), Sinha et al., (2009), Rathore et al., (2010) and Kumar and Mishra (2011).

Majority of the dairy farmers preferred wooden type of pillars rather than iron pillars. This owed to the low cost and easy availability of wooden poles. The findings are in support of the findings of Sabapara et al., (2010).

The data depicted in Table 2, revealed that about 82.08 per cent of the respondents had no walls, while 17.50% of the respondents had half wall in their animal houses. It might be due to the fact that no walls or half walls had provided better ventilation and cost-effectiveness. These findings are contrary to the results of Sinha et al., (2009) and Kumar et al., (2011) who observed that majority of the animal houses had a full wall in their study area. Regional differences in the climatic conditions might be the reason for the construction of the walls with different heights in the animal houses.

Majority of the dairy farmers in the study area provided thatched roof to their animal houses. This might be due to the reason that the thatched roof was cost-effective and easily available to the farmers. Sinha et al., (2010) and Hussain et al., (2019) also reported similar findings in their studies. In case of provision of manger, 70.83 per cent of the respondents provided wooden assisted manger of varying size and shapes. The results obtained are similar to the findings of Sabapara et al., (2010).

Regarding drainage facility, it was observed that only (14.58%) of respondents provided pucca drainage system for urine, while the majority (85.42%) had no drainage facility and left the animals urine on the earthen floor for natural soaking as it remained cheaper but the earthen floor is highly prone to insect and worm problems. These findings are in agreement with the observations of Sabapara et al., (2010) and Vranda et al., (2017). Majority (58.75%) of the respondents kept manure pit adjacent to their animal sheds, while 37.08 per cent of the respondents kept manure pits at distance to their animal sheds. These findings are in accordance with the results of Tiwari et al., (2009) and Kumar et al., (2011).
The study concludes that, the majority of dairy farmers of the study area are well aware of advantages of keeping animals in hygienic sheds under adverse tropical climatic conditions of the study area. Majority of farmers using temporary mangers, for whom enlightenment on importance of providing pucca mangers is required and only 9% of farmers in study area having pucca drainage system and hence, it is recommended that, providing them periodical trainings and visits to modern organised dairy farms as suggested by Harikrishna (2014) and Hussain et al., (2019) may help them to optimize productivity from dairy animals.
The author would like to thank the authorities of PVNR Telangana Veterinary University and Dept. of Animal Husbandry, Govt. of Telangana state for the timely financial assistance in completion of this massive task.

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