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Prevalence of parasites of the local scavenging chickens in a selected semi-arid zone of Eastern Kenya

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A study to identify and estimate the prevalence of parasites of local chickens in a semi arid area of Kenya was conducted between March 2005 and August 2006. Three hundred and sixty (360) local chickens purchased from Yathui division of Machakos were examined. Of those, 93.3% had helminths. Nematodes were recovered in 268 (74.4%) chickens whereas 245 (68.1%) had cestodes. Tetrameres americana (37.7%), Ascaridia galli (33.3%) and Heterakis gallinarum (22.8%) were the most important nematode species identified. Raillietina echinobothrida (33.3%) and Davainea proglottina (19.4%) were the two most important cestode species identified. Two coccidia species, namely Eimeria necatrix (6.7%) and E. tenella (16.7%) were isolated and identified as per location in the digestive system. Important ecto-parasites identified included Echidnophaga gallinacea (76.7%), Menacanthus stramineus (79.4%) and Dermanyssus gallinae (60.0%). Endo-parasites (helminths and coccidia) occurred in significantly (p < 0.05) higher frequencies during the wet season than during the dry season. On the contrary, ecto-parasites were significantly (p < 0.05) more fequent during the dry season. Male chickens generally exhibited increased odds for the occurrence of parasites than female birds. Further investigations are required to establish a plausible explanation for this. Overall, parasitism was a big constraint to chicken productivity in the study area. Urgent integrated parasite control approaches should be initiated to address parasitism in chickens in the Yathui cluster.

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Mungube, E.O., Bauni, S.M., Tenhagen, BA. et al. Prevalence of parasites of the local scavenging chickens in a selected semi-arid zone of Eastern Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 40, 101–109 (2008).

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