A comparative study of gastrointenstinal nematode infection in traditional and commercial chickens and efforts of anthelminthic treatment on production

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Ziela, Moses
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Helminthosis is a very important disease condition aflfecting the poultry industry, especially the traditionally reared free ranging chickens. The traditionally reared poultry farming system constitutes over 50% of the poultry industry in Zambia (Hameenda, 1985), however, very little work has been done to establish the extent of helminth infection in the Zambian free-range poultry industry. The aim of this research therefore was to investigate various aspects of helminth infections in poultry with the hope of collecting base line data and suggesting control measures that will ultimately help reduce the suspected high prevalence of helminths and thus increase the productivity of the poultry industry in general.The prevalence of the gastrointestinal nematode parasites was evaluated in poultry in three management systems in and around Lusaka and in Shibuyunji area, Mumbwa District, Zambia. A low prevalence (2.5%) with only two nematode species {Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum) was observed in the commercially reared chickens. A level of 12.5% was observed in the semi-intensively reared chickens with Ascaridia galli, Gongylonema ingluvicola, Heterakis gallinarum and Tetrameres americana. Finally, a prevalence of 100% was obtained in the traditionally reared free-ranging chickens. This included the above six mentioned nematodes ^hxs Acuaria hamulosa and Allodapa suctoria. The prevalence in the latter management system was significantly (p < 0.01) higher than in the commercial and the semi-intensive management systems.These observations do suggest that the type of management system practiced greatly influence the prevalence and incidence of helminth infections.The effects of helminthosis on the weight gain in the traditionally reared chickens was observed with one group treated with Levamisole (25% m/v) and the other group a non-treated control. The mean weight of the two groups at the end of the 15 weeks study were, 623±574 g in the untreated control group and 812.8±51.4g in the treated group. There was a strong negative correlation (r =-0.780, r^= 0.61) between the weight gain and the worm burden in the untreated control group and a weak negative correlation (r =-0.261, r^ 0.07) between the weight gain and the worm burden in the treated experimental group. It was noted that anthehnintic treatment of young birds would improve the weight gain capacity of the flock of a traditional farmer.An evaluation study was carried out on the efficacy of a commonly used anthelmintic in Zambia, piperazine (lOOOmg P.HC1) in comparison with two other anthelmintics i.e. albendazole (75% m/v) and levamisole (25% m/v). Percentage efficacy against Ascaridia galli was 100%, 100% and 52.4%, for albendazole, levamisole and piperazine respectively. Against Heterakis gallinarum was 96.2%, 89.3% and 27.9%, and for Allodapa suctoria was 95.1%, 89.6% and 28.6% for albendazole, levamisole and piperazine respectively. The mean worm counts for the groups were, control (70.59), albendazole group (3.55), levamisole group (9.67) and piperazine group (58.6). This indicates that Piperazine is not the best anthelmintic to use any more in the poultry industry in the country.
Poultry--diseases , Chickens