Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Animal Science


Animal Science

First Advisor

Max F. Rothschild

Second Advisor

Kenneth J. Stalder


Livestock farming is an important enterprise in small-scale farming households. It is a source of assets to the households and provides protein-rich animal products as well as income. Small-scale farmers mainly practice a mixed farming system with limited investment and in regions where animal products are sold to niche markets. The enterprise may involve contributions from both genders across different age groups. Three studies were conducted to evaluate pigs and dairy cattle performance under small scale farmers’ management conditions with the aim of empowering small-scale producers, particularly rural women, with knowledge to predict pig weights to improve bargaining power while marketing pigs. Additionally, we evaluated the role of gender in dairy cattle production in a developing country setting.

In the first chapter (chapter 3), a study was conducted in the rural Kamuli district, Uganda (East Africa) to develop body weight prediction equations based on five body measurements: body length, heart girth, height, body width, and flank-to flank. Body length and heart girth were the most important predictors (R2=0.88) of pig live body weights across all body weight values. Four body measurements (body length, heart girth, height, and body width) were strongly predictive of live body weight for pigs ≥ 40 kg. Chapter 4 describes a study that was conducted to evaluate body weight, backfat thickness and loin muscle of purebred Berkshire pigs raised in mini-hoop barns in Castana, Iowa in two winter and two summer trials. Body growth rate (weight gain) and ultrasonic backfat deposition were significantly greater in trial 1 (first summer) compared to other trials. Overall, barrows grew heavier and deposited more backfat than gilts (P<0.05). Barrows averaged 31 mm of backfat at 125 kg whereas gilts had an average of 23 mm of backfat at market weight of 121 kg. Chapter 5 discusses two surveys that were conducted at two sites in Senegal (West Africa) to determine intra-household gender roles in small holder dairy cattle herds. Adult males (> 15 years) were more often responsible for the costs and decision-making for most dairy-related activities. Adult males, hired males (> 15 years), and any household members (except women) were the main labor source for dairy activities. Adult females controlled most of the benefits from milk sales whilst adult males controlled the benefits from live animal sales. However, the proportion of males who control the benefits from milk sales increased as the market orientation shifted from lower to higher.

In conclusion, small scale producers/farmers are faced with a variety of challenges such as poor animal nutrition, extreme environmental conditions and inferior breeds that, together with limited production knowledge, may lead to below optimum production. Technology and best practices can improve production, marketing and income.


Copyright Owner

Muhammed Walugembe



File Format


File Size

100 pages