Prevalence Of Gastrointestinal Parasites Of Chickens

Prevalence Of Gastrointestinal Parasites Of Chickens


A survey of gastrointestinal parasites of chickens was carried out in Akure, Ondo state, Nigeria between January and July, 2015. A total of three hundred and twenty seven (327) chickens of different breeds were examined for gastrointestinal infections. Faecal samples obtained from these chickens were prepared for microscopy using flotation technique. The results showed that 67 (20.5%) of the 327 chickens examined were infected with various gastrointestinal parasites. It was further observed that the highest prevalence of gastrointestinal infection (36.7%) was recorded among the chickens that were kept in semi-intensive management system while the lowest prevalence was recorded among those kept in intensive management system. Laboratory screening of the faecal samples for parasites revealed three types of protozoa: Eimeria spp. (7.7%), Histomonas meleagridis (0.6%) and Giardia lamblia (0.3%). Five types of nematodes were also observed among the chickens, these included: Ascaridia galli, (7.0%), Heterakis gallinarum (1.8%), Capillaria spp. (0.9%), Syngamus trachea (0.6%) and Trichostrongylus tenuis (1.6%). Of all these parasites, Eimeria spp. was the most prevalent (7.7%) while Giardia lamblia was the least prevalent (0.3%). The average parasite burden per fowl was found to be 2 and majority of the encountered parasites species were those of the subjects’ small intestines.


Title Page i
Table of Contents-v-vii
List of Plates-viii
List of Figures-ix
List of Tables-x
1.0 Introduction-1-3
1.1 Justification of Research-3-4
1.2 Research Questions-4
1.3 Aims and Objectives of Research-4
2.0 Literature Review-5
2.1 Economic Potential of Poultry Production--5-6
2.2 Constraints to Poultry Production-6
2.2.1 Poultry and Parasites--6-8
2.3 Gastrointestinal (GI) Parasites Classification-8-9
2.3.1 Roundworms (Nematodes)-9-14
2.3.2 Tapeworms (Cestodes)-15-18
2.3.3 Flukes (Trematodes)-18-20
2.3.4 Protozoa-20-22
3.0 Materials and Methods--25
3.1 Study Area-25
3.2 Samples Collection-25-26
3.3 Laboratory Examination of Samples and Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal
Parasites of Sampled Chickens-28
3.3.1 The Test Tube Flotation Technique-28-29
3.3.2 The Sedimentation Technique (Formol-Ether Concentration
3.4 Data Analysis-30
4.0 Results--31
4.1 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chickens According
to Breed-31
4.2 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chickens According to Groups of Encountered Parasites--33
4.3 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chickens According to Parasites Species Composition--35
4.4 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chickens According
to Gender---37
4.5 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of the Chickens According to
Management System-39
4.6 The Burden of GI Parasites of the Chickens-
5.0 Discussion-
6.0 Conclusion and Recommendations-54
6.1 Conclusion--54
6.2 Recommendation-54

Plate 1 Eimeria spp. oocyst X400-43
Plate 2 Ascaridia galli egg X400-44
Plate 3 Heterakis gallinarum egg X400-45
Plate 4 Trichostrongylus tenuis egg X400-46
Plate 5 Capillaria spp. egg X400-47
Plate 6 Syngamus trachea egg X400-48
Plate 7 Histomonas meleagridis X100-49
Plate 8 Giardia lamblia cyst X400-50

Figure 1 Anatomy of a Chicken Showing Potential Predilection Sites of
Gastrointestinal (GI) Parasites-23 Figure 2 Digestive Tract of a Chicken Showing the Predilection Sites of
Common Gastrointestinal (GI) Parasites--24 Figure 3 Map of Akure showing the study locations-27

Table 1 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasite of Chickens in Akure
According to Breed (N = 327)-32
Table 2 Overall Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of Chickens in
Akure (N = 327)-34
Table 3 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasite of Chickens in Akure
According to Groups of Encountered Parasites (N = 327)-36
Table 4 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasite of Chickens in Akure
According to Gender (N = 327) .--38
Table 5 Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites of Chickens in Akure
According to Management System (N = 327) .-40
Table 6

The burden of GI parasites of chickens in Akure, Southwestern
Nigeria (N = 327)-42



Poultry farming is the practice of raising domesticated birds such as chicken, turkey, ducks, quails and geese, as a subcategory of animal husbandry for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food (Anon, 2011). Chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese are birds of primary importance, while guinea fowl and squabs are chiefly of local interest. The term “poultry” is a collective name given for a group of birds reared or hunted for useful purposes. It refers to domestic fowl in general, e.g. chickens, turkeys, ducks or geese, raised for meat, eggs or feathers. It applies to them being generally alive or dressed (killed and prepared for sales). Domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus are one of the most widely domesticated fowls and by far the most developed and profitable animal production enterprise. They are descended from the wild red jungle fowl of South-east Asia belonging to the species Gallus gallus, which has, over thousands of years, been subjected to extensive breeding for size, colour, conformation and egg-laying ability. The poultry industry occupies an important position in the provision of animal protein (meat and egg) to man and generally plays a vital role in the national economy as a revenue provider. Poultry meat accounts for 34% of global meat consumption. The worldwide average per capita consumption has nearly quadrupled since the 1960s (11kg in 2003 compared with 3kg in 1963) (FAO, 2009). The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)’s assessment of the worldwide average per capita poultry meat consumption for 2015 was 13.8kg, of which around 12kg are chickens. Poultry is by far the largest livestock group, consisting mainly of chickens, ducks and turkeys. The Nigerian agricultural sector is responsible for the production of food and livestock with poultry accounting for 80% of the production (Udoh and Etim, 2007). This means that the poultry subsector is the most commercialized of all the subsectors. The types of poultry that are of commercial or economic importance given the trade in poultry, however, are chickens, guinea fowls and turkeys, amongst which chickens predominate. Chickens constitute about 90% of the poultry population in Nigeria (Omodele and Okere, 2014).

The breeds of chickens are generally classified as American, Mediterranean, English, and Asiatic. The American breeds of importance today are the Plymouth Rock, the Wyandotte, the Rhode Island Red and the New Hampshire. Chicken breeding is a controlled propagation of domestic animals in order to improve desirable qualities. It is an outstanding example of the application of basic genetic principles of inbreeding, line breeding, and crossbreeding, as well as of intensive mass selection to effect faster and cheaper gains in broilers and maximum egg production for the egg-laying strains (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2013). All over the world, more than three hundred breeds of the domestic chicken species (Gallus domesticus) exist. However, there are basically three types of chicken: the layers, the broilers and the cockerels. Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis showed chicken production in Nigeria as: Broilers 15.2%, Breeders 6.77%, Layers 75.3% and Cockerels 2.73% (Omodele and Okere, 2014). Consequently, poultry farming is generically used to refer to chicken farming in Nigeria because it provides the most poultry meat for delicacies and no tribe or religion in the country forbids chicken meat. Since domestic chickens are sources of ready cash and meat to local communities and a nation as a whole, their potential could be enhanced through improved management and disease control. Profitable livestock and poultry production in Nigeria is majorly constrained by parasitism. Parasitic diseases come first among other diseases that cause reduction in productivity of rural poultry. However, these diseases are often overlooked because clinical symptoms are rarely apparent (Adebisi, 2007). Gastrointestinal parasites which invade the host birds possess morphological and physiological features which enhance their adaptation to long living and existence in their hosts. These parasites constitute a major factor limiting productivity of the poultry industry by affecting the growth rate of the host resulting in malfunctioning of organs and eventually death (Soulsby, 1982).

1.1 Justification of Research

Improved poultry management practices are responsible for the reduction in incidence of parasitic infections. The enormous expansion in the commercial poultry production sector has been possible through improved management in terms of management procedures such as total separation between different age groups, introduction of the “all in-all out” system, efficient housing systems, routine vaccination programmes, proper feeding and avoidance of predators (Thrusfield, 1995). However, parasitic diseases continue to be of great importance in deep-litter and free-range commercial systems. In traditional systems throughout the world a number of parasites are widely distributed and contribute significantly to the low productivity. The most commonly mentioned parasites are Eimeria spp., Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum which are mainly due to the many studies carried out on these parasites.

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