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The contribution of extensive chicken production systems and practices to Newcastle disease outbreaks in Kenya


Newcastle disease (ND) poses a challenge especially for farmers rearing indigenous chicken under the extensive system. This is due to the lack of uniformity in practices, favoring the introduction and spread of the disease. This is worsened by the lack of information on how management practices contribute to the spread of ND. The current study assessed the role of extensive chicken production systems and management practices on the frequency of ND outbreaks in Kenya using a Poisson regression model (PRM) on primary survey data from 332 farmers in Kakamega and Machakos counties. Descriptive results showed a low access to institutional support services like extension, training, credit, and vaccination services for both male and female farmers. Results from the PRM analysis show that flock size, isolated and confined housing, multi-aged flock mixture, screening of birds, access to ND vaccination, ND awareness, distance to agro-veterinary service providers, and access to animal health training and extension services had significant effects on the frequency of ND outbreaks. The findings underscore the need for innovative extension approaches that facilitate the use of information communication technologies to create more awareness on disease detection and mitigation measures. Use of farmer groups as innovation platforms for enhanced skill sharing and as key peer monitoring channels would also improve compliance with prescribed disease control methods. Further, there is a need for partnerships between local-level county governments, vaccine producers, and agro-veterinary service providers to ensure the development of low-cost vaccines and requisite storage facilities, and their timely delivery to the male and female resource-poor smallholder extensive chicken farmers.

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We would like to thank the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) - USA, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) – Kenya, and Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) for providing financial support to enable data collection through their joint project on the Surveillance, Molecular Epidemiology and Control of Newcastle Disease in Kenya.


This work was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) – USA, under the Surveillance, Molecular Epidemiology and Control of Newcastle Disease in Kenya project: grant number BAA # FRCALL 12-6-2-0015.

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Correspondence to Billy Okemer Ipara.

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This study did not involve use of human or animal sample materials. All interviewed persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study. All procedures performed in study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the animal welfare committee of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.

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Ipara, B.O., Otieno, D.J., Nyikal, R. et al. The contribution of extensive chicken production systems and practices to Newcastle disease outbreaks in Kenya. Trop Anim Health Prod 53, 164 (2021).

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  • Newcastle disease
  • Extensive production system
  • Vaccination
  • Chicken farmers