Vices Among Commercial Chickens in Maiduguri, Borno State: Causes and Possible Intervention Strategies
A survey was carried out to determine the presence of vices in commercial chickens in Maiduguri, Borno State, between Marchto July, 2005. Types, causes, and possible control measures were also investigated. Forty flocks were randomly selected and studied. These included institutional, government and private (small and large) farms. The use of questionnaires, farm records and scheduled interviews with the farm managers and farm owners were employed for data collection. Out of the 40 flocks examined, 18(45%) were layers, 7(17.5%) were chicks, 8(20%) were growers and 7(17.5%), consist of various breeds of chickens such as ISA Brown, white Leghorn, Black Harco and Shika brown breeds. Thirty (75%) out of the total flocks exhibited various kinds of vices ranging from cannibalism, vent pecking, feather pulling, toe pecking, head pecking and egg eating. Out of these thirty flocks, ISA brown flocks recorded the highest incidence of vices with 40%, followed by white Leghorn with 30%, Black Harco with 27% and Shika brown breeds constituting 3%. Layers displayed a high level (94%) of vices in their flocks compared to layers (75%), chicks (57%) while broilers exhibited the lowest degree of vices (43%). Management system employed on the farm played a major role in outbreak of vices observed in the flocks. Birds managed under intensive system showed a high level of vices when compared to those managed under semi- intensive and extensive methods. The nature of feed given to the birds showed positive correlation with vices. Debeaking, combination of debeaking with mineral and vitamin supplement in the feeds, and culling were the best and effective strategies for controlling outbreak of vices in the flock.
Key words: Vices, chickens, causes, intervention strategies, Maiduguri, Nigeria