Epidemiological studies of village poultry are essential for the development of appropriate village-based poultry health programs.
These have been attempted in many countries, but the work undertaken in Thailand (Janviriyasopa et al., 1989) will be used as an example.
The North-Eastern Regional Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Centre, Tha Pra, Khon Kaen, Thailand, with assistance from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences of Massey University, New Zealand, embarked on a long term-study (“Health and Productivity of Native Chickens”).
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This was part of a programme of epidemiological investigations of factors affecting livestock productivity in the region.
The objective of the study was to decide on the priority of the problems for which control programmes could be developed within the regional Basic Poultry Health Service.
In selected villages, about 15 families with flocks of 15 to 20 birds were recruited. In most of the villages, vaccinations against ND, Fowl Pox and Fowl Cholera were carried out in order to encourage interest. Two villages were paid to represent a totally unvaccinated control population. Birds were wing-tagged and grouped by age:
- under two months;
- two to six months;
- six to twelve months;
- one to two years;
- two to three years; and
- over three years of age.
During each visit, the number of eggs and chickens were weighed, counted and scored, and blood was collected from the wing vein for determination of ND titre and for Pullorum, CRD, IB and Gumboro (IBD) tests.
Each tagged bird was subjected to health, feather and ectoparasite scoring. Sick and dead birds were collected for pathological examinations at the laboratory, in order to identify the cause of death or illness, and refrigerators were provided in some villages to store dead birds for later examination.
Dead or diseased birds were exchanged for healthy birds in order to examine as many as possible, but as the villagers would sometimes eat dead or dying birds, most of those exchanged tended to be the immature birds which owners were less willing to eat.
By calculating age-specific mortality rates and then determining cause-specific rates within each age-group, the contribution of each disease to the mortality within an age group was determined.
A questionnaire was used to gather additional information. The objectives of the survey were to establish:
- a productivity index;
- population dynamics;
- the importance of common diseases, their incidence and prevalence;
- the average life span of birds;
- patterns of disease outbreaks; and
- the relationship between disease and production levels.
The parameters used for the survey were:
- egg production;
- x egg hatching rate;
- x number of deaths in each age group;
- x weight gain of growers;
- x number of birds killed for eating;
- x number of birds sold; and
- x unexpected losses.
You can create your own survey using the guidelines provided above to see if your village is doing any better we don’t have to anymore for government bodies.
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