Warren D. Come and Philippine Dianne Zamora
The study was conducted to obtain a baseline data of different livestock production systems, vegetation survey and animal environment interactions in the marginal upland in Eastern Visayas. A total of 280 farmer respondents were interviewed using an interview questionnaire. Vegetation species were gathered and validated with its genus and species group. Animal environment interactions particularly with chicken were also assessed. Results showed that chickens were the dominant species present in the study sites compared to other species. But in terms of total livestock units (TLU), buffaloes have higher TLU compared to other species of animals. Farmer’s income is mostly from the agricultural income with less than 20% of agricultural income was obtained from livestock farming. Livestock only serves as buffer income incase crops will fail. Different husbandry systems are used by the farmers such as free range system for chicken, ducks and turkeys while pigs are raised in confinement or caged system. Ruminant productions are raised in a tethering system of production. Natural breeding practice is still practiced by farmers and traditional animal health practices are still evident in this marginal upland. Ruminants graze in different vegetation diversity in grasslands and under the coconut trees. Likewise, plant residues of banana, coconut and root crops are also used as feed resources of farmer respondents. Grass and herb species that are palatable to the animals are diverse also especially in grassland areas. Availability of feed resources in the area plays a crucial role also on how animals interact with the environment and may affect also with their feeding behavior when there are changes in the climatic conditions. Preliminary result of the study on animal environment interaction shows that chickens tend to change their feeding itineraries due to availability of feed resources, environmental temperature and rainfall.
Keywords: livestock production systems, vegetation, animal-environment interactions, marginal uplands, traditional animal health