Chicken production in the context of nutrition-sensitive agriculture may benefit child nutrition in low-income settings.
This study evaluated effects of 1) a chicken production intervention [African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG)], and 2) the ACGG intervention with nutrition-sensitive behavior change communication (BCC) [ACGG + Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU)], on child nutrition and health outcomes and hypothesized intermediaries.
Forty ACGG villages received 25 genetically improved chickens and basic husbandry guidance; of these, 20 ACGG + ATONU villages in addition received a nutrition-sensitive behavior change and homegardening intervention; 20 control clusters received no intervention. We assessed effects of the interventions on height-for-age z scores (HAZ), weight-for-age z scores (WAZ), and weight-for-height z scores (WHZ) at 9 (midline) and 18 mo (endline) through unadjusted and adjusted ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions. We examined the interventions’ effects on hypothesized intermediaries including egg production and consumption, dietary diversity, women’s empowerment, income, child morbidities, anemia, and chicken management practices through OLS and log binomial models.
Data included 829 children aged 0-36 mo at baseline. ACGG + ATONU children had higher midline HAZ [mean difference (MD): 0.28; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.54] than controls. The ACGG group had higher HAZ (MD: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.50) and higher WAZ (MD: 0.18; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.36) at endline than controls; after adjusting for potential baseline imbalance, effects were similar but not statistically significant. At endline, differences in ACGG + ATONU children’s HAZ and WAZ compared with controls were similar in magnitude to those of ACGG, but not statistically significant. There were no differences in anthropometry between the intervention groups. ACGG + ATONU children had higher dietary diversity and egg consumption than ACGG children at endline. Both interventions showed improvements in chicken management practices. The interventions did not increase anemia, diarrhea, fever, or vomiting, and the ACGG + ATONU group at midline showed reduced risk of fever.
A chicken production intervention with or without nutrition-sensitive BCC may have benefited child nutrition and did not increase morbidity.This trial was registered at as NCT03152227.

Copyright © The Author(s) on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2020.