a1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
The poultry industry of South-east Asia has two important types of production. These are: a commercial sector, characterized by its use of highly intensive units and the fact that it has developed very rapidly over the past two decades; and the traditional village-based system which has been little affected by the increasing numbers of commercial birds. The village poultry system relies on minimal resource input and, although secondary to other agricultural activities, has an important role in providing the local population with income and high quality protein. Almost every rural community keeps small flocks of indigenous chickens under a backyard type system. The sheds, when provided, are made from local materials. Whilst the birds are fed kitchen left-overs, sometimes supplemented with cheap, locally available grains, most of their time is spent scavenging. There is no breeding programme and close inbreeding occurs among the indigenous stocks. The high incidence of disease is the greatest constraint on rural poultry development.