Efficacy of materials used by resource limited farmers in ethno-veterinary control of fleas in free-range chickens in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

  • S Moyo
  • PJ Masika


Fleas are commonly controlled using commercial insecticides which are however expensive and inaccessible to resource-limited farmers. This has resulted in farmers resorting to the use of alternative remedies that are cheap and socially acceptable. However, information on the efficacy of these materials on fleas is lacking. The objectives of this study were to determine potential dermal irritation and efficacy of selected materials used in the control fleas in free-range chickens. The materials tested included used engine oil, Jeyes fluid (carbolic acid 13%), and plant material from Clutia pulchella and Calpurnia aurea. Distilled water and Karbadust (carbaryl 5%) were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. A complete randomized design was used where sixty free-range chickens were allocated to twelve treatment groups with five chickens each. The chickens were artificially infested with fleas, which were counted and recorded daily every morning for seven days. The results show that used engine oil, Jeyes fluid at (76.8%) and C. pulchella (100%) caused flea reduction in the order of 100, 99.8 and 85.5% three days post application of test materials. These reduction was similar to those of Karbadust (carbaryl 5%), a commercial insecticide that had a flea reduction of 100%. C. aurea (100%) and C. pulchella (75%) showed an efficacy of 75.5 and 60%, respectively. The different materials tested exhibited variable efficacy on fleas, where in certain cases it compared well with Karbadust used by farmers. The test materials did not cause any visible signs of irritation on chickens. Despite the efficacy of used engine oil and Jeyes fluid, they are environmental contaminants.

Keywords: External parasites, flea control, skin irritation, used engine oil

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(14), pp. 1716-1721

Author Biographies

S Moyo
Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, P Bag X 1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
PJ Masika
Agricultural and Rural Development Research Institute, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, P Bag X 1314, Alice 5700, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5315