KEEPING CHICKENS FREE FROM PEST AND DISEASE
The biggest risk when it comes to poultry farming in Africa is that of pests and diseases. The most dangerous are viruses like the Newcastle disease, which is spread by other chickens or by wild birds and even man. Newcastle is capable of wiping out an entire brood within a day and affects poultry of all ages. Usually 70-80% of birds that are not vaccinated succumb to the disease when infected. Newcastle Disease may be the most serious problem in Africa – it has been nicknamed ‘the bomb’ in DRC – but there are others. Coccidiosis, typhosis, fowl pox, fowl typhoid and chronic respiratory disease among others are all a problem.
Here are some tips on controlling pests and diseases:
- Make use of the vaccines that are available. Most farmers with scavenging chicken tend to believe (wrongly) that they are resistant to disease and therefore do not pay enough attention to vaccines. Other farmers cannot afford medicines and vaccines and so they avoid them. This ends up becoming a problem not just for farmers raising free range chicken but also for commercial farmers, whose poultry often end up becoming exposed to diseases from the free range chicken.
- Avoid disposing of dead poultry in a way that further increases the spread of diseases. Dead poultry ought to be burned or buried in a fairly deep grave, or thrown into a pit latrine.
- Flees, mites and lice are the most common external parasites. Farmers gave the chickens bathe in ash, this helps to control parasites. There are sprays used to control external parasites.
- Soak the chicken coop in hot water, this kills many parasites. The chicken coop can be cleaned regularly. Before bringing in a new group of chicks, the chicken coop should be fumigated and left for two months. Parasites can be killed using chemical dust pesticides. For internal parasites such as worms, chicken have to ingest the medicine with their water or food.
- Avoid overcrowding. Having too many chickens in a small space provides a perfect environment for the spread of dangerous disease causing pathogens, not to mention parasites.
- Feed chicken with a balanced diet, taking care to include all the required nutrients. They will have stronger body immunity.
- Try to keep the birds in a controlled environment – as controlled as possible. Free range birds are more exposed to infections because they interact with other animals, both wild and barnyard animals – and they catch diseases and parasites from them.
- Clean the chicken coop daily. To make this easier, try to ensure that the floor slopes downwards towards the entrance, making it easy to clean.
- Change the drinking water daily. Lack of clean drinking water is a major problem with birds. It can cause unnecessary sickness.
- Farmers should be able to tell the difference in appearance between a healthy bird and a sick bird. Sick chickens may have dull eyes, dull feathers, dull comb, and body discharges. They also tend to appear weak and quiet. Lack of weight gain is also a sign that all is not well.
Other Africa Poultry Information
- Profitable Chicken Farming Business
- Successful Poultry Coop Building
- Build an Affordable Long Lasting Chicken Coop
- Successful Egg Hatching for Baby Chicks
- Successful Chicken Egg Laying Strategies
- Successful Chicken Feeding
- How to Raise Chickens Stress Free
- Raising Chickens for Meat
- Successful Chicken Disease Management
- Chicken Resources