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International Journal of Poultry Science

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 9  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 446 - 449

A Survey of Early Chick Mortality on Small-Scale Poultry Farms in Jos, Central Nigeria

M. Muhammad, L.U. Muhammad, A.G. Ambali and A.U. Mani


A questionnaire-based survey was conducted to investigate early chick mortality and its causes during the first two weeks on small-scale poultry farms in Jos, central Nigeria. The survey covered layer and broiler farms procuring day-old chicks from three selected hatcheries. Flock sizes varied from 20 birds up to 2000. Average mortality was 10.4 per flock with a standard deviation of 14.4. As a percentage of flock size, mortality was 11.4% with a standard deviation of 18.8%. The major causes of mortality were stress, Pullorum disease and diarrhoea. There was no significant relationship (p = 0.01, R2 = 0.02) between flock size and mortality. There was also no significant relationship (p = 0.01, R2 = 0.04) between mortality and the breed of stock. Of farms experiencing mortalities, only 28.8% consulted a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. The other 71% self-diagnosed the problems and instituted treatment which included vitamin supplementation or antimicrobial therapy, with enrofloxacin and gentamycin being the most popular drugs. Medication without consultation with qualified veterinarians may result in the abuse and misuse of antibiotics with the attendant consequences of resistance and the occurrence of drug residues in poultry and poultry products. The wide-spread use of antibiotics in the study area is cause for concern from both a veterinary and public health point of view. Although factors responsible for early chick mortality are complex, information on chick mortality on small-scale farms can be used for the training of farmers on its control. A better understanding of the causes of mortality in the crucial first few weeks of the chick’s life may lead farmers to rely more on better management such as better hygiene and sanitation and less on antibiotics for problems encountered during the early brooding period.

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