|Title:||Ectoparasites of chickens in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State, North-East Nigeria|
|Author(s):||Shitta, K. B. James-Rugu, N. N. Chessed, G. and Ngwamah, J. S.|
|Publisher:||Nigerian Journal of Parasitology|
|Keywords:||Ectoparasites; chickens; Wukari; Taraba State.|
Ectoparasites of chickens like lice, mice and ticks are a source of irritation to this domestic birds, sometimes it causes loss of weight leading to low productivity and in other cases kill the birds. Studies were conducted to identify the ectoparasites of chickens, its prevalence, risk factors and species composition in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. The prevalence of the parasite was considered with respect to predilection sites, age and mode of life of the birds. A total of 500 chickens were randomly selected from 15 houses and one poultry farm out of which 220 (44.00%) were infested with one ectoparasite or more belonging to 4 species of chicken lice. These parasites were; Menacanthus stramineus, Menacanthus cornutus and Menacanthus pallidulus which are the body
lice and Cuclogaster heterographus which is a head louse. Ectoparasites occur more on the feathers of the birds (51.33%) statistically significant at (p<0.05) than the necks (32.43%) and legs (16.22%). None of the head lice
encountered was found on the heads of the birds. Three species of the body lice encountered had similar occurrence and the highest infestation rate of 29.72%. There was no significant difference statistically in the occurrence of the three species of the body lice encountered at (p>0.05). Adult birds (7-9 months) were more susceptible to the ectoparasitic infestation having the highest number of parasites (58.00%) while the free ranging birds had the highest infestation rate of 52.33%. The presence of lice on birds can lead to low productivity and eventually death. Farmers are advised to vaccinate and quarantine their infested birds to improve the health status and productivity of their birds which will in turn increase protein source and the income of the poultry owners in this area.