Objectives: The study was carried out on smallholder chicken producers to assess locally available feed resources, feeding practices, and locally used feed mixtures and to determine the proximate composition of these mixtures, whether they satisfy the optimum nutrient requirements of chickens or not.
Materials and Methods: A total of 180 households from 6 kebeles were selected purposively and stratified into local, exotic, and mixed-breed keepers. Four locally used feed mixture samples were identified, collected, and analyzed at the Haramaya University Animal Nutrition Laboratory.
Results: As farmers begin to raise more productive breeds, backyard feed supplementation, feeding frequency, feed processing, and feeding methods improve. The local breed keepers stated that local breeds are conditional grain feeders and give products simply by scavenging. Grains, kitchen waste, miller’s ground waste, and locally mixed rations were the main supplementary feeds, but locally used mixtures were not used in local breed rearing households. Maize, sorghum, and sunflower were the main and sustainable grain feeds for supplementation. Lack of awareness (45.33%), poor understanding (33.63%), and lack of capital (20.74%) were the main reasons for weak/no supplementation. Locally used mixtures had too many or few nutrients for chickens to meet their needs.
Conclusion: The farmers’ backyard feed supplementation trend changed as they started rearing improved breeds. The nutrients in locally used feed mixtures were above or below the optimum nutrient requirements of chickens. Therefore, there should be scientific and feed trials research on the effectiveness of locally used feed mixtures.
Key words: Breed; locally; mixtures; production; smallholder; strata