Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences

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Preliminary Survey of Ectoparasites Infesting Chickens (Gallus domesticus) in Four Areas of Sokoto Metropolis

AY Bala, SA Anka, A Waziri, H Shehu


A faunistical study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of ectoparasites of chickens in four areas of Sokoto metropolis, Nigeria, on 160 chickens raised under free-range system. Both the skin and plucked feathers were thoroughly searched for the presence of ectoparasites between July and December 2009. The results indicate that all the chickens (100%) harboured ectoparasites. Five lice, two mites, two tick and one flea species were identified with the following prevalences: the shaft louse, Menopon gallinae (8.1%), the chicken body louse, Menacanthus stramineus (6.9%), then the wing louse, Lipeurus caponis (5.0%), the body and feather louse, Gonoides gigas (4.4%) and finally the fluff louse Gonoicotes gallinae (3.1%). The two tick species were Argas persicus (8.8%) and Ixodid larvae (5.6%). The two mite species were Cnemidocoptes mutans (9.4%) and Cnemidocoptes gallinae (8.1%). The sticktight flea Echidnophaga gallinacea was the only flea species found (10.6%). No association was found between ectoparasitism and sex, breed and fur colour (P > 0.05), however a strong positive association was observed with fur texture (P < 0.05). This study has shown that ectoparasites are highly prevalent on traditionally managed chickens in the study areas. Further detailed study with particular reference to ectoparasitism and assessment of their impact is recommended.

Keywords: Ectoparasites, Free range, Chickens, Prevalence, Infestation, Sokoto

Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Science (2011), 19 (2): 173-180