Protecting village and backyard poultry
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CTA. 2006. Protecting village and backyard poultry. Rural Radio Resource Pack 06/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57294
How avian flu can spread to backyard poultry, and how farmers can prevent this.
Protecting village and backyard poultry Cue: Avian flu is known to be a highly contagious disease ? it can be passed very easily between poultry species, and occasionally can cause illness and death in humans. Unlike some viruses, avian flu can also survive outside the body for a long time, for example in the faeces or other excretions of infected birds, or in water where infected birds have been drinking or swimming. When an outbreak occurs, village poultry keepers whose birds scavenge in the open can be at high risk of contracting the disease, either from other poultry, from wild birds or from infected materials such as food and water. So what can be done to increase the safety of village chickens? Nicholas Kauta is the Ugandan Commissioner responsible for livestock health in the agricultural ministry. He spoke to Eric Kadenge about some management practices which are now recommended for village poultry keepers in order to prevent the disease taking hold in the country. He began, however, by explaining more about how avian flu can be spread. IN: ?In many cases people carry birds ?? OUT: ??problem from coming to the country.? DUR?N: 6?43? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr Nicholas Kauta, Uganda?s commissioner responsible for livestock health, was talking to Eric Kadenge. The interview comes from a radio resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Kauta In many cases people carry birds large distances for cultural purposes, then they introduce the disease into new areas. In the case of wild birds, they fly long distances to new areas during migrations and where they stop they may get in contact with local birds, infect them, and the disease spreads from there. But there is another mode of transfer. For example, all the excretions from affected birds carry a lot of viruses, so if for example a vehicle which was carrying a bird which is infected gets the dropping of the chicken, or the fluids which come through from the nose, the beak of the bird, when it goes to new areas the droppings can still start a new infection in a place, when the birds of that new area contact it. And the other thing is to move the poultry products, like the meat; even eggs get infected. And you can move eggs to new areas and cause problems. You can also transfer through trays used for carrying eggs. So all those are avenues of moving the disease from one place to another. Kadenge Given then that there is a high chance of the virus spreading as you have just mentioned, what should especially backyard poultry farmers do to ensure that they avoid or reduce the risk of their poultry being infected by the avian flu? Kauta You address the sources of feeds. You may keep your birds away from other birds but if you bring contaminated feeds you have not done well. If you bring contaminated water, same problem. So the food you bring should be from a good source which is hygienically recommended. The water you provide to the birds should not simply be drawn from the running waters around where ducks are playing, everything is playing. Maybe because of this disease we should even learn to boil water for birds, just to save them. Now the other thing is preventing contact between other birds and your birds; that calls for starting to change management practices, because the backyard and free range system is the most risky if the disease comes. So we probably have to shift away from the traditional methods, and start enclosing our birds. To me that is the only way out: changing in management practices. Kadenge Now when you mention the practices, I would like to get to know what are some of the things that you must make sure, like you mentioned earlier the eggs. Kauta In this country we have a problem in that the birds live as we call it traditionally, meaning the most primitive method of keeping them. In other countries, birds are kept in age groups. One age group lives together until it is sold. And they come from known hatcheries; they don?t mix birds from different sources. Here, in a single home you may have birds coming from so many different sources. Those brought as gifts, those bought from the market, those that hatch there, and all those are recipes for very, very serious problems. So, when we talk of management practices, we are saying, be sure of where you get your birds from. Or even mixing birds, there is a danger that some birds are carriers. Like the ducks tend to be carriers of this disease. They may have it and not show it as quickly as the chickens. So you may introduce a duck and your chickens die earlier than that duck. So we are saying don?t mix species, keep one species at a time. If it is chickens, chickens. Don?t mix them with turkeys, don?t mix them with guinea fowls, like we tend to do. If the eggs don?t hatch, what is the reason they don?t hatch? We have a habit of just throwing them out. They are better buried, because they will have a high concentration of viruses, and that can be a source of more problems. Kadenge Do you think it will be easy to handle cultural issues, like someone getting a chicken from a relative and bringing it into the compound? Kauta That is not an issue which is solved by ordering people around, or planting regulations. The people have to appreciate by themselves that what they are doing is not good, it undermines their poultry sector. Because whoever carries a chicken to a friend simply carries a very small thing and it goes, you cannot enforce it. So something you cannot enforce, you only bank on giving people the relevant information to take meaningful decisions, and that?s it. If the people don?t appreciate it then the disease will be impossible to control should it break out. Kadenge Now after you have observed all the hygiene that you could on your farm, there comes a time when you need to go to the market, and that could be another area where your birds could be exposed to the virus. Let?s say you did not sell all of them. What do you do when you come back home with some left? Kauta Under the circumstances of avian influenza you cannot take birds back to your farm. There is a need to organise the marketing system so that birds that are not sold remain in the market areas. They may be sold the next day or the other day, but never returned to their home. Because the market is the meeting place for all types of diseases. And even if you don?t get avian influenza you will get something else, like Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, there are many diseases affecting poultry. So it is not recommended at all to return a single bird back home after it has reached a market. Kadenge And to wind up this interview, is there anything else you would like to add to a farmer in regards to the issue of avian flu? Kauta The farmers know very well that almost every year there is a wave of death of birds associated with different diseases. Now these diseases are different. Although they kill birds in mass, this disease has a potential to wipe out the entire population and affect human beings as well. So it is real threat and it must be taken seriously. Let us change management systems. Even if you have only ten birds get a shelter for them, feed them from there, that we prevent the problem from coming to the country. End of track.