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  • PROJECT TITLE: An assessment of some poultry management practices and disease recognition by poultry farmers in Maiduguri arid zone, Nigeria
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The poultry industry in Nigeria constitutes an important agricultural enterprise to the

nation, contributing substantially to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Permin

et al., 1998; Ambali et al., 2003). The population of poultry (both local and exotic

chickens) in Nigeria has been estimated at approximately 190 million (Orajaka, 2005). It

is generally believed that developing the poultry industry is a fast means of bridging the

protein deficiency prevalent in most developing countries of the world (Jibir and Usman,

2003). It forms an appropriate system for supplying the fast-growing human population

with high-quality protein (Permin et al., 1998; Guéye, 2004) whilst providing additional

income to the generally resource-poor small holder farmers (Guéye, 2004), thereby

helping to alleviate poverty.

Modern day commercial poultry production involves confinement (Ogundipe, 2002),

whilst rural poultry production involves free range (Van Eekeren et al., 1995; Orajaka,

2005). Typically four management systems have been recognized: the free range or

unimproved backyard, the improved backyard, the semi-intensive and the intensive

systems (Branckaert and Guéye, 2000, Guéye, 2004). The choice of system is largely

determined by the availability of resources and inputs; such as housing, cages, feed,

drugs, time/attention (Guéye, 2004) and vaccination.

This important component of the agricultural sector continues to be fraught by

constraints related to high mortality, due mainly to viral, bacterial and fungal

infections (Abdu et al., 2005; Guéye, 2004; Oboegbulem et al., 1980;

Chansiripornchai, 2004), housing, feeding, breeding, marketing and information

dissemination (Guéye, 2004), and in addition, resistance due to over-use of antibiotics

by poultry farmers and /or production of resistance markers by the infective agents

(personal communication).

Disease prevention and control programs are limited in this industry, particularly in this

part of the country, and high mortality rates due to therapeutic failure are common,

perhaps associated with treatment failures due to transferable drug resistance (Saeed et

al., 2000; Deborah et al., 2005) even in vaccinated flocks (Ambali et al., 2003). This

paper aimed at assessing some poultry management practices and disease recognition by

poultry farmers in Maiduguri, arid zone of Nigeria, with the view of improving the

poultry production in this part of the country.

Study area

The study was conducted in Maiduguri metropolis, capital of Borno State, Nigeria. The

Metropolis is made up of two local government areas (Jere and Maiduguri Metropolitan

Council). It is located on longitude 135°E and latitude 115°N with a land mass of about

50,778 square kilometres. It is the largest city in the North-Eastern region of Nigeria.

Borno State is being bordered by the republics of Niger, Chad and Cameroun to the

North, North-East and East respectively. Maiduguri lies in the Sahel savannah

Management and disease in Nigeria: M.S. Akidarju et al.

286 World's Poultry Science Journal, Vol. 66, June 2010

vegetational region. The climate is favourable with an annual maximum temperature of

34.8°C: March and April are the hottest months with temperature range of 30-40°C. The

area is usually cold and dry during harmattans (strong winds characteristic of the region),

with November to January being the coldest months. Average annual rainfall is between

88 and 108mm, the rainy season covering the months of June to October (Anon, 2006).

The assessment was based on the administration of close-ended questionnaire which

sought information on poultry management practices, flock size, housing system,

vaccination and recognition of signs of disease conditions amongst others. Two

hundred and fifty copies of the questionnaire were given out to poultry farmers in the

study area with the assistance of day-old-chicks sellers, poultry feed merchants and

poultry clinics of the State Veterinary Hospital and University of Maiduguri

Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Characteristics of poultry production

Out of the 250 questionnaires distributed, 173 (69.2%) were completed and returned.

Table 1 shows the distribution of poultry farms maintained by farmers in relation to flock

size and age-groups of chickens.

Table 1 Distribution of poultry farms maintained by poultry farmers in Maiduguri in relation to flock size

and age (N=173).

Age groups of chickens in weeks and number (%) of farms

Flock size 1-2 3-6 7-10 >10 MA Total

10-50 8 (19.0) 13 (28.6) 10 (23.8) 10 (23.8) 2 (4.8) 42 (24.3)1

51-100 6 (17.6) 10 (29.4) 6 (17.6) 10 (29.4) 2 (5.9) 34 (19.6)2

101-200 9 (23.1) 8 (20.5) 6 (15.4) 11 (28.2) 5 (12.8) 39 (22.5)1

201-500 6 (17.1) 6 (17.1) 9 (25.7) 7 (20.0) 7 (20.0) 35 (20.2)2

> 500 3 (13.0) 4 (17.4) 5 (21.7) 4 (17.4) 7 (30.4) 23 (13.3)3

Total 32 (18.5)e 40 (23.1)d 36 (20.8)e 42 (24.3)d 23 (13.3)f 173 (100)

Figures in parentheses are percentages.

Mean values with different superscripts differ significantly (p < 0.05).

MA= multi-age

The rearing system practiced in Maiduguri by poultry farmers is shown in Table 2.

Farmers who practice the deep litter confinement system were highest in number with

n=143 (82.7%), followed by those who used cage confinement system (n=22; 12.7%),

whilst those that practiced the free range or extensive system were the lowest in number

(n=8; 4.6%).

Table 2 Rearing systems practiced by poultry farmers (N = 173) in Maiduguri.

Rearing system Number (% of respondents

Deep litter confinement system 143 (82.7)1

Cage confinement system 22 (12.7)2

Extensive (free range) system 8 (4.6)3

Total 173 (100)

Mean values with different superscripts differ significantly (p < 0.05).

Management and disease in Nigeria: M.S. Akidarju et al.

World's Poultry Science Journal, Vol. 66, June 2010 287

Table 3 shows the types of housing units maintained by the respondent farmers. Halfzinc

half-wire mesh open-sided housing proved most popular (47.7%), followed by halfblock

half-wire mesh open-sided houses (20.8%), whilst half-wood half-wire mesh opensided

(2.9%) houses were the least popular. Only 21 (12.1%) respondents kept birds in

windowed closed-sided houses, whilst those that used local and battery cage housing

systems accounted for 11.6% and 1.2% of respondents respectively. The different types

of poultry houses maintained by poultry farmers in Maiduguri are shown in Figure 1.

Table 3 Poultry housing systems (type of housing units) maintained by farmers in Maiduguri (N=173).

Type of housing unit* Number (%) of farms

Half-block half-wire mesh open-sided house 36 (20.8)2

Half-zinc half-wire mesh open-sided house 82 (47.4)1

Half-wood half-wire mesh open-sided house 5 (2.9)3

Windowed close-sided house 21 (12.1)4

Local cage 20 (11.6)4

Battery cage 2 (1.2)5

No response 7 (4.1)

Total 173 (100)

*Houses roofed with galvanized iron sheet (zinc).

Mean values with different superscripts differ significantly (p < 0.05)

Table 4 shows vaccination levels and antibiotics usage in poultry rearing from the

producers answering the questionnaire. The majority of farms had only incomplete

vaccination schedules, and some reported that no vaccinations occurred. On the other

hand, farms in which multiple antibiotic combinations use was common differed from

those in which double or single antibiotics combination use were common. However,

there was no difference between farms in which double antibiotic combinations were in

use and those in which single antibiotics were in use. This may result from more

intelligent and judicial use of these antibiotics by the two categories of farmers: the

effect of antibiotics being determined by the dose, dosage, concentration, level and rate or

frequency of use and duration of administration amongst other things.

Table 5 shows disease recognition by poultry farmers in Maiduguri, whereby the

producers were asked to confirm their familiarity with certain disease symptoms and

its link to specific disease. Figure 2 and 3 show some typical examples of disease

conditions easily recognized by the producers.

Management and disease in Nigeria: M.S. Akidarju et al.


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