1.1    Background of the Study

The livestock industry is an important subsector of the agricultural sector of Nigeria’s economy. The role of this sector cannot be over-emphasized considering the importance of animal protein in the diet of people and contribution from this sector to the gross domestic product (Adekaye and Akinrade, 1986). Uguru (1981), enumerated livestock types found in Nigeria to include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry. horses, donkeys and camel. These animals are spread throughout various ecological zones in the country and that numbers in each zone is determined by environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, light intensity etc. these factors determine whether an animal can or cannot survive within a specific environment. The term poultry refers to all domesticated birds kept for meat or egg production which consist of chicken (domestic fowl), turkey, ducks and geese (Obioha, 1992). Contributing, Babatunde and Olayide (1980) stated that Poultry enterprise comprising chicken, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, turkeys and pigeon constitute an industry that is structurally suited to any ecological condition in the country. The term Poultry is often considered synonymous with chicken and this convention will be adopted in this study. In the mid 1980’s. most countries suffered a showdown in economy that affected the import depended production sectors such as Commercial Poultry, a major source of animal protein in the nutritional needs of man. Poultry contributes about 70% of total national meat production of Nigeria (FLD, 1983). Poultry is the fastest means of addressing protein deficiency as well as providing flexible financial reserve for rural population. Also Poultry production is a contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product in the Agricultural Sector and accounted for 38.42 billion Naira or 38.1 % of the Gross Domestic Product in 1993 (CBN, 1994).

Akinwumi (1979) reported that, developing the poultry industry in Nigeria is the fastest means of bridging the animal protein energy deficiency in the country. It can yield the quickest returns on investment. Poultry meat and eggs yieId desirable products in all parts of the country with no cultural restrictions. They are efficient feed converters to meat and eggs. Poultry eggs rank second to cow milk in terms of nutritive value and is the most economically produced animal protein (Ikeme, 1996). Eggs are considered a wholesome diet, since an egg contains adequate amounts of protein, energy, amino acid, vitamins and minerals to satisfy the body needs. A child or adult who eats egg daily is therefore sure of animal protein from eggs alone. Lombin (2001), emphasized that, the FAO/WHO recommended daily intake of 65g of protein out of which 35g (38.8%) should be from animal sources. She further stressed that Nigeria’s consumption of protein is now 5g per head per day (14.3% requirement).