A description of village chicken production systems and prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites : case studies in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 2
  • Abstract:

    The majority of rural households in developing countries own village chickens that are reared under traditional scavenging systems with few inputs and exposure to various parasitic infestations. Understanding of the village chicken farming system and its influence on helminth infestation is a prerequisite for optimal prevention and control strategies. This study investigated the village chicken production system and associated gastrointestinal parasites in 87 households from Limpopo (n = 39) and KwaZulu-Natal (n = 48) provinces of South Africa. A total of 191 village chicken faecal samples and 145 intestines were collected to determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in villages of Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, respectively. The faecal floatation analysis of samples from Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces indicated infestations by Ascaridia galli (18.77%), Heterakis gallinarum (15.56%) and Capillaria spp. (4.00%); tapeworms Choanotaenia infundibulum (2.10%) and Raillietina cesticillus (6.00%) and Eimeria spp. (29.46%). Mixed infestations were observed in five (4.90%) samples from Limpopo province and in only four (4.49%) from KwaZulu-Natal province, of which 1.12% were a mixture of C. infundibulum and Eimeria spp. and 3.37% a combination of H. gallinarum and Eimeria spp. In Limpopo, 2.94% of the chickens were positive for H. gallinarum and Eimeria spp., whilst 0.98% had A. galli and Capillaria spp. infestations. Further investigation is needed to understand the impact of gastrointestinal parasites on village chicken health and production and develop appropriate intervention and control strategies feasible for smallholder farmers.