Assessment of helminth load in faecal samples of free range indigenous chicken in Port Harcourt metropolis
Helminths load in faecal sample of free range indigenous chicken in Port Harcourt Metropolis was examined. Faecal samples were collected from 224 birds in 15 homesteads and 4 major markets - Mile 3, Mile 1, Borokiri and Eneka Village market where poultry birds are gathered for sale. 0.2-0.5g of feacal sample was collected from birds between January and September, 2011. Feacal samples were collected from 224 birds in both dry and wet season. Feacal sample were analyzed for helminths load using wet preparation, sedimentation and floatation method for the isolation and identification of helminths and egg count per gram faecal sample. The result showed various species of helminths of the three common classes of poultry helminths parasites (nematodes, cestodes and trematodes). The most prevalent in the study area were Teanea spp 22.31%, Ascaris lumbricoides 11.16%, Enterobius vermicularies 12.3% and Trichuris trichura 9.96%. Season was found to have a significant effect (P < 0.05) on helminths load of indigenous chicken with higher value recorded in the wet season than the dry season (42.27±6.26 versus 25.00±4.86 respectively). Sex and strain was found to be insignificant, that is , it does not have effect on helminths parasites as there was no variation in the egg count. The result of this study reveals that all the indigenous chicken that were examined in the study area shows multiple infestations of the three classes of helminths It was concluded that the keepers of indigenous chickens should be educated on good management practices that will reduce the exposure of the birds to sources of infestation or rather confining the birds especially during the rainy season.
Key words: Indigenous chicken, Helminths, prevalence, free range