October 27, 2011


Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Climate change can alter poultry’s relationship with parasites and vectors. These changes can influence where parasites and vectors thrive, making certain geographical regions more or less amenable to them. Climate change can also alter when and for how long parasites and vectors pose a threat to the birds. Climate can determine how vectors/ pathogens are distributed, transmitted and evolve, and can influence the factors associated with emerging poultry diseases and how birds respond to those diseases. Significant environmental changes have been well documented in recent decades, and some of these changes are causing trouble the poultry.
Regular parasite and disease surveillance is necessary as this will provide up-to-date information about changes in vector/ pathogen prevalence and intensity/ populations. Laboratory and field research will help illuminate how climate changes influence vector/ pathogen characteristics, and models will help researchers and producers to predict and plan for vector/ pathogen threats.
“More and more countries are indicating that climate change has been responsible for at least one emerging or re-emerging disease occurring on their territory. This is a reality we cannot ignore and we must help Veterinary Services throughout the world to equip themselves with systems that comply with international standards of good governance so as to deal with this problem,” explained Dr Bernard Vallat, DG of the OIE.
Climate change and its possible potential effects on poultry parasitic diseases
Poultry flocks are particularly vulnerable to climate change because birds can only tolerate narrow temperature ranges. Poultry farmers need to consider making adaptations now to help reduce cost, risk and concern in the future.
Potential disadvantages of climate change include:
  • More heat stress in both housed and outdoor flocks
  • Reduced egg production and growth rates at higher temperatures
  • Higher mortality rates in outdoor flocks, resulting from extreme weather events
  • More expensive housing to withstand storms and temperature fluctuations
  • More effective ventilation and cooling systems to counteract higher temperatures
  • Higher energy costs to operate ventilation systems more frequently
  • Increased persistence of some endo and ecto parasites with associated increase in medication
  • Increased mortality and reduced production due to increased mycotoxins in feed
Adaptation suggestions include reviewing poultry house building design in new builds to more effectively cope with new climate and weather extremes, including the installation of more/new equipment to cope with new climate extremes.

Mitigating measures include the installation of renewable energy such as solar or wind power to power poultry sheds, and using biomass boilers or anaerobic digestion of poultry litter.



October 22, 2011


Ministry of Livestock Development, P.O Box 25 Ololulung'a

Control options available

Control of ectoparasites in indigenous chicken is perceived as a major impediment to rural farmers since their scavenging habits and constant contact with contaminated environment make them an easy prey to parasitic infestations. Isolating poultry flocks from other animals to reduce the opportunity for disease transmission; isolating young from older birds if more than one age group is present on the farm and keeping wild birds, rodents, insects and pets away from poultry is almost impossible due to the nature of their production system (free range system).

When the pests are discovered and identified, effective control will entail collective alternatives. This control can be approach as on-host and/ or off-host treatment. A number of techniques have been used in control of these ectoparasites. These include: management changes such as modification of poultry housing by eliminating, minimizing or sealing cracks and crevices required by these pests for shelter in current or planned housing. Entry of wild birds and rodents can be prevented with screen and other barriers.

Cultural methods like paraffin use in control of fleas (Echidnophaga gallinacea) and petroleum jelly applied on scaly legs (Cnemidocoptes mutans); and traditional herbs like neem (Mwarubaini) leaves and bark have been employed in control of ectoparasites in indigenous family chicken. In the treatment of scaly mites, neem (Mwarubaini) mixed with residue from soaked and filtered ash and a little water is made into paste and smeared on the scaly legs. The commonly used insecticides include permethrins, cabaryl compounds, coumaphos, tetrachlorvinphos and/ or tetrachlorvinphos and dichlorvos combination, applied as a spray (or bird dipping) and dust treatments.

Control mites by treating their hiding places. Treat roosts, walls, litter, and equipment by painting, spraying, or dusting. Treat all cracks, crevices, and rough spots. As a general practice, even in the absence of a known infestation of insects or mites, the poultry house should be treated at least twice a year. The treatment should include a thorough cleaning of the house and an insecticide application. Northern fowl mites (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) specifically infest the vent area, although males tend to have a more scattered infestation. Caged layers should be sprayed or dusted from underneath the cage in order to penetrate the vent feathers. For an effective treatment, spray two times with half doses, thirty minutes apart, to ensure that the vent region has been thoroughly saturated with the appropriate pesticide. Floor birds with northern fowl mite infestations can be bunched into a corner and treated with the same spray techniques, again, aimed at the vent area. For very small flocks, simply dipping each bird in a tank of the full dose spray mixture can be very effective. Treatment of Dermanyssus gallinae involves cleaning and disinfecting the poultry house. Mites can be located along cracks and crevices of the roost areas and poultry house, and eliminated by spraying pesticides in these infested areas two or three times for several weeks. Spray roosts and other equipment in the house. Remove nesting material and spray nest boxes inside and out. Allow time for drying before adding new nesting material.

Control of poultry lice requires treating the birds since lice remain on the bird throughout its life. Treat by dipping, dusting, or spraying the birds, and be careful to avoid contaminating eggs, feed and water. Treatment is easiest at night when birds are quiet. For best results, split treatments with half of the recommended amount of insecticide applied initially, and the second half applied soon after the first, since the wet feathers retain more active ingredient. Applying liquid sprays to dry feathers often results in loss of some of the insecticide due to runoff.

Integrated poultry pest management

Poultry integrated pest management (IPM) is based on applied ecology – understanding the pest biology and behavior in the habitat. Pest control in poultry facilities requires a judicious meshing of the cultural, biological, and chemical methods described previously. Biosecurity is always a primary element for preventing as much as possible the introduction of disease organism and pests into the operation. Optimal flock, housing, and waste management procedures should be continuously practiced to assist in suppressing pest populations and to encourage natural control factors, including moisture control, fly parasites and fly predators. When monitoring indicates unacceptable pest levels, additional actions are required to improve the implementation of the management practices.

In addition, chemical applications may be necessary. The timing of insecticide applications must be meshed with the poultry management practices. Very often this restricts applications to between flocks in a house when thorough cleaning and spraying is possible as for beetle, chicken mite, and bedbug control. Chemical applications for fly control by residual spraying, insecticide–bait mixtures and occasional misting are sometimes necessary to bring the adult fly population down to an acceptable level. However, those applications must be made with minimal contamination of the manure to preserve the natural populations of fly parasites and predators.


Regional Animal Health Centre for Western and Central Africa, B.P. 1820, Bamako, Mali
Corresponding author: efgueye@refer.sn

Family poultry (FP), which make up around 80% of poultry stocks in many developing countries of Africa and Asia, are still important. However, FP farmers are facing many constraints, including high mortality, mainly due to Newcastle disease and currently also to the highly pathogenic avian influenza in many countries since its occurrence in Asia in late 2003. Significant improvements in FP production systems can be achieved through well-designed and implemented information dissemination programmes that endow FP farmers with necessary knowledge and skills. The setting-up of poultry networks that enable FP farmers to acquire and share knowledge, views, experiences as well as research and development results in FP keeping in developing countries is discussed. Ways to improve the efficiency of information dissemination through poultry networks by taking into account the socio-cultural and economic environments of targeted FP farmers are also explored.

January 31, 2011


Sabuni, Z. A.

Ministry of Livestock Development, Kabete, P.O Box Private Bag, Kangemi, Kenya


In rural African villages, humans keep indigenous chicken which form a very important component in their lives. In the olden days, poultry were kept for sporting, idol worshipping and sacrifices to gods, and for prestige in terms of numbers owned by the farmers. Nowadays poultry contribute to the rural employment, family nutrition and income. They also form part of cultural life of rural people in form of special dishes and are given out as gifts to visitors and relatives. However, villagers share housing with these chicken which at a times may expose them to a range of parasites and diseases that are transmitted either directly or indirectly by vectors that feed on the chicken. In our previous studies in 2008, we found the prevalence of Plasmodium gallinaceum to be 53.5% in our study areas. Microscopy was the only method used in diagnosis hence possible errors being recorded: diagnosis (species found) and actual prevalence (cases with low parasitaemia per erythrocyte). A question arose on the possibility of cross transmission as the tendency of vectors feeding on both birds and human may be possible, and therefore provoked an urge to study further vector ecology, transmission routes, reservoir possibility between the two species.
My objectives are: first, to ascertain whether the Plasmodium spp., diagnosed in our previous study in chicken is actually avian and not human Plasmodium (employ up-to-date and specific tests example Molecular tools in diagnosis) since this is the first study to document prevalence of Plasmodium in chicken in this country. Secondly, establish the vector present in our study areas responsible for transmission, and evaluate their vector status. Thirdly, correlate the general prevalence and distribution of avian plasmodium to that of human within our study areas.
Molecular tools will be used to establish the species of Plasmodium in infected chicken and establishment of vector (infectivity) status of Mosquitoes found in the study zones. Geographical Information System (GIS) will be used to map the mosquitoes’ breeding habitats and distribution. The results will be analyzed using appropriate statistical packages.
Results from this study will provide notes on human-chicken interaction and malaria in-terms of vectors involved, their distribution, vector status and cross-transmission. The reports on vector distribution can be adapted as an indispensable constituent of selective malaria control strategy among human and birds’ population.

January 17, 2011


Sabuni Z A a, Mbuthia P G b, Maingi Nb, Nyaga P Nb, Njagi L Wb, Bebora L Cb and Michieka J Na
a Ministry of Livestock Development, Kabete, P.O Box Private Bag, Kangemi, Kenya
b Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi P.O Box 29053-00625 Nairobi Kenya


Indigenous chickens constitute over 81% of poultry in Kenya and produce 71% of eggs and poultry meat. Ecto- and haemoparasites limit production of these birds in the rural areas. However, there exists scanty information on these parasites infection in indigenous chicken. This study was conducted to determine and document the type and prevalence of haemoparasites affecting different ages and sex groups of free range indigenous chicken from two agro ecological zones: Lower highland 1 (LH1) in Embu District and Lower Midland 5 (LM5) in Mbeere District in Eastern Province, Kenya. Of the 144 birds examined, 79.2% were infected with haemoparasites, with 62.3% single and 37.7% mixed haemoparasitic infestations. Plasmodium gallinaceum was the most prevalent haemoparasite (53.5%) followed by Leucocytozoon schoutedeni (52.1%) and Hemoproteus spp., (3.5%). Grower birds had a prevalence of 83.3% for haemoparasites compared to 81.3% of adults, and 72.9% of chicks (p> 0.05). Male birds had 83.3% prevalence, while female birds had 75.0% (p> 0.05). LH1 was found to have a slightly high prevalence of 81.9% compared to LM5, 76.4% (p> 0.05). Hemoproteus spp were isolated in chickens from LH1 and but not from LM5. This study has documented a high prevalence of haemoparasites, hence further studies to determine the impact of infection on the health and productivity of these birds, and evaluation of cost benefit of various control strategies need to be investigated.

Key words: Age, agro-ecological zones, free range, sex

January 11, 2011


Bangladesh slum is found in Changamwe District, 5.5KM West of Mombasa Island (Latitude (DMS): 40 1’ 0S, and Longitude (DMS): 390 37’ 60E). It has an approximate population of 18,000 people (with an average of seven people per household) although its size (KM2) is not well documented. It consists of 6 villages namely: Nairobi area, Mkupe, Kichimbeni, Majengo Mapya, Giriamani and Bangladesh centre. The population is made up of a multi-ethnic community with the majority of residents being Luos, followed by Luhyas and then Kambas. Other tribes commonly found include: Giriamas, Kikuyus, Kisiis and Taitas. Majority of the population are women, which is unusual for an urban settlement (it is mostly men who usually relocate to cities and towns in search of jobs). Increased numbers of widows and single mothers may have contributed to the high number of women. Age-wise, youths represent a larger group of residents as ageing parents prefer to relocate back to their native homes (upcountry).

The poor within Bangla face ascetic living conditions, as basic living needs are obtainable in limited quantities. For example, electricity connection is poorly done (illegal connections) within the slum, therefore posing a significant risk to the residents. Residents draw water from water kiosks (and pay exorbitant prices in the process), latrines are poorly developed, there are no designated dumping sites or rubbish collection bins. Although there is diverse land ownership patterns in the slum areas tenure is often insecure, thereby leaving residents with little incentive to invest in their dwellings. Walking from one village to another within the slums, one crosses dozens of open sewer, littered with not only greenish colored dirty water but also evidently floating polythene papers and both used and unused condoms. This is just a taste of how public health is adversely compromised within these living settings. But the most unwelcoming thing is a strong stench of local liquor commonly referred to as “chang’aa”, an environmental fiddle.

Within Bangla, there is only one public school (St. Mary) although there are seven private schools that range from offering pre-unit education to complete primary education. However, there is no secondary school within the slum area. Residents utilize secondary schools in Mikindani and Changamwe which are approximately 2.5 KMs away. The majority of residents have a minimum of primary level education; hence communication (especially in Kiswahili) is not a challenge. Bangla slum has a total of two privately owned hospitals (Jadi Clinic and Bangladesh community medical and laboratory). Also within the area are two clinics (Bamako and St. Patrick) which assist in dispensation of Anti-retroviral and TB drugs. There are 3 chemists that are poorly stocked within the slum area, hence insufficient to serve the populace. But most evident are 33 churches within the area, with larger population consisting of Catholics, followed by Legio maria (sect), then other protestant churches.
One thing interesting thing about Bangladesh slum is its strategic location along the Mombasa- Nairobi highway, a fact that has both positive and negative impacts. To delve on the positive aspect, common transport from upcountry passes by the slum area hence most upcountry produces (upcountry also known as “Bara”) and foodstuffs which include dried cassava, millet, sorghum, fresh water fish and indigenous vegetables, find their way to the Coastal town market. Bangladesh slum provides a market point for distribution of these foodstuffs not only to its residents but to Mombasa Town in general, although space available for market establishment is limited. The foodstuffs are purchased by the majority of residents who have relocated from upcountry in search of jobs. One resident and a Village elder, Mr. Toberius Oduori strongly indicated that Bangla (as it’s commonly referred to) is a largest distributer of these sorts of foodstuffs within the Coastal town and its sorroundings.
One project characteristic of Bangladesh is an HIV-AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program dubbed “The Bamako Initiative Community Based Healthcare Program” funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), whose aim was to achieve a participatory approach to meeting the needs of the poor. Although the project closed its door several years ago, it is still freshly evident and more so because of a community centre that was named Bamako after the project. This centre is found right at the heart of the slum, and the offices are currently used as a referral point for distribution of TB medicines by a government medical staff member permanently stationed at this centre. After the closure of the Bamako initiative, Catholic Relief Service (CRS) through a local Diocese launched a HIV and AIDS program aimed at assisting orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), widows and others impacted by HIV and AIDS blight. Their activities include: palliative care to those living with AIDS and distribution of relief food to families affected by the scourge.

As far as livestock projects are concerned, reportedly, no organization has previously ventured into the same. Although within this area are found various animals which include but are not limited to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry (indigenous chicken, layers, broilers and ducks) and fish farming. Despite existing challenges of space availability for practice, the community has been persistent in practicing farming, choosing animals whose produce are consumed locally. Pigs, goats, sheep and poultry (indigenous chicken and ducks) are left to loiter within slum boundaries in search for food (free range).

Recently, Samaritan’s purse Livestock program ventured into the area reaching out to the population with God’s love through a Broiler keeping project which has made tremendous strides in uplifting the living standards of the slum dwellers through income generation. In this project that has lasted barely 9 months, eight (8) beneficiaries among them four women and 4 men have been assisted with day old chicks, drugs and vaccines, poultry feeds, feeding and watering equipments, and, construction materials for the poultry houses. Since its inception, the Broiler project has so far attracted a large number of interested individuals willing to be included into the project. Among the current beneficiaries are: 2 widows, 2 physically challenged men, and the other beneficiaries support orphans (20 orphans) who are victims of HIV scourge.

In Bangladesh, men, women and youth engage in various economic activities. To start with, women engage in business and livestock keeping (broiler and layers chicken keeping). Business opportunities that they participate in include: selling vegetables, mandazi, Githeri (cooked mixture of beans and maize), porridge and local liquor, chang’aa (they are the majority in this business compared to men, especially single mothers). Most women have formed investment/ financial groups through which they use to access external funding from microfinance institutions (Faulu and Yehu). Youth on the other hand can be divided into two groups: those physically able and those incapable. The able youth work outside Bangla in the nearby Godowns, the work that is usually manual. While those physically disadvantaged either loiter around the slums drinking chang’aa or if lucky, pull carts to ferry less bulky commodities in order to earn a living. Others engage in the entertainment business (video shops and local theatre), selling clothes, shops and butcheries. Men on the other side, like youth, work outside the slum (either in Godowns or at the port of Mombasa). Others work as local administrators, business owners, landlords & land owners and as livestock keepers. Most of the businesses are owner by the locals. There is only one youth group within the area called Alpha and Omega, which is involved in entertainment business- acting and drama. There are no established men’s investment groups as men have chosen to walk alone financially, as it is said within Bangladesh that, “Every man for himself and God for us all!”

This is just but a brief overview of Bangladesh slum, currently a working station for the Samaritan’s Purse, Livestock program. It gives an outline of the area in terms of: Geographical location, living conditions, education, healthcare, economic activities and NGO activities in the area.


December 24, 2010


In the recent past, much has been said and written about the need to document the experiences of the many different development initiatives taking place all over the world, and thus learn from the successes and failures. Unfortunately, it is rare that time and effort is put into organizing, analyzing and documenting experiences, for various reasons. One of the major difficulties related to this aim has been, and remains, the lack of documentation of practical field activities taking place at community level.
Documentation of field experiences is very important as it enables sharing/cross learning process making it possible for practitioners to see their own project or experience from another perspective. This process makes it possible for those involved to look in detail at what is being done and to reflect critically on what is being achieved. This in return makes it possible to build on the positive results, draw lessons that greatly inform current and future programming leading to more effective interventions and efficient skills and resource utilization.
The reality on the ground is such that there is very scanty information or even in some cases no documentation and as such every other development agency/facilitator begins from an empty plate, this results into duplication of efforts and inappropriate use of resources. 

November 29, 2010


Z A Sabuni**, P G Mbuthia*, N Maingi*, P N Nyaga*, L W Njagi*, L C Bebora* and J N Michieka***

* Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi P.O Box 29053-00625 Nairobi Kenya
** Samaritan’s Purse, International Relief, P.O Box, 90597 80100, Mombasa, Kenya
*** Ministry of Livestock Development, Kabete, P.O Box Private Bag, Kangemi, Kenya


Ectoparasitism is an important factor associated with poor production of village indigenous chickens. A cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of ectoparasites in free ranging indigenous chicken from two different agro-ecological zones: Lower highland 1 (LH1) in Embu District and Lower midland 5 (LM5) in Mbeere District, Kenya. A total of 144 chickens of matched age (chicks, growers and adults) and sex groups were examined for the presence of ectoparasites. Of these, 138 (95.8%) had one or more types of ectoparasites, namely; lice, mites, fleas and soft ticks.

One thirty one birds had lice, 107 mites, 42 sticktight fleas and 8 had soft ticks. Of the 138 infested birds, 25 had single while 113 had mixed infestations. Lice were the most prevalent parasites. The study documents Epidermoptesspecies, Laminosioptes cysticola and Megninia species for the first time in Africa as well as Lipeurus caponis and Goniodes gigas in Kenya. All adult birds were infected with ectoparasites followed by 97.7% grower and 89.6% chicks. Both male and female birds had same prevalence (95.8%) of ectoparasites. Lower midland 5 had a slightly higher prevalence of ectoparasites (98.6%) compared to LH1 (93.1%) though not statistically significant. Parasite intensity was significantly different among age groups of chicken and between agro-ecological zones (p<0.05), but not between sexes of birds (p<0.05).

Because of the high prevalence of ectoparasites revealed by this study, it is imperative that integrated control strategies need to be put in place to improve chicken productivity and enhance smallholder livelihood in these areas.

Key words: Ages, fleas, intensity, lice, mites, sexes, ticks

Citation: Sabuni Z A, Mbuthia P G, Maingi N, Nyaga P N, Njagi L W, Bebora L C and Michieka J N 2010: Prevalence of ectoparasites infestation in indigenous free-ranging village chickens in different agro-ecological zones in Kenya. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 22, Article #212.
Website: http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd22/11/sabu22212.htm

September 25, 2010


Early reaction is to carry out without delay the disease control activities needed to contain the outbreak and then to eliminate the disease and infection in the shortest possible time frame and in the most cost-effective way, or at least to return to the status quo that existed previously and to provide objective, scientific evidence that one of these objectives has been achieved.
It is far too late to leave the planning of an emergency disease eradication or control programme to the time when a disease outbreak has actually occurred. There will then be intense political pressure and pressure from livestock farmer groups for immediate action. In such a climate mistakes will be made, resources misused, deficiencies rapidly highlighted, and there will be unavoidable delays resulting in further disease spread and higher costs-unless there has been adequate forward planning and preparation.
This chapter first highlights the importance of effective quarantine services for the prevention of exotic animal diseases. It then describes the principles and strategies of epidemic livestock disease control and eradication that need to be taken into account in the preparation of early reaction contingency plans. 

Early reaction contingency planning—principles and strategies

August 06, 2010


Broiler keeping is one of the livestock enterprises that is picking up very fast among the slum dwelling populace in Bangladesh slums Mombasa due to its high/ quick turn-over. This venture is not only turning the economic level of this populace but also improving diet of many as its products are consumed within the community after some value addition of its products. This has guaranteed the populace a constant supply of proteins affordable to all. This posting tries to explore the cost of running such an enterprise within this area. Remember that these are just but estimates, prices or cost of production may vary, or, a lot more other costs may be left out or can be non-essential depending on various producers. This document does not intend to market any product under mentioned, hence each one has the freedom of picking the best on market. However, the document is intended to assist small-scale poultry keepers to estimate budget lines before venturing in such practice. Most of these costs can be trimmed i.e. using an existing house with modification can cut the cost of construction, using electricity to heat and light the house instead on Jiko and charcoal, availability of cheap but clean water etc.

Information is power, let us share this information and help raise living standards of general population.
Broiler keeping budgetary estimates for Bangladesh, Mombasa, Kenya.