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A survey of external parasites of free-range chickens and their ethno-veterinary control remedies used by resource-limited farmers in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Busani Moyo, Busani Moyo, Sipho Moyo, Patrick Julius Masika


In most rural areas, chicken infestation with external parasites poses a challenge to their productivity and associated benefits. External parasites cause anemia, thus reducing growth, egg production and may lead to death. They are mainly controlled by commercial remedies, although resource-limited farmers resort to using alternative remedies which are available and affordable. This study was conducted to document external parasites of free-range chickens and their ethno-veterinary control remedies used by resource-limited farmers. A questionnaire survey was conducted amongst 93 households, 3 of which were herbalists, in Eastern Cape, South Africa. The farmers considered several external parasites to be a problem: mites (79.6%) stick tight fleas (64.5%), lice (10.8%) and ticks (6.5%). Various ethno-veterinary remedies were used to control the parasites, which included ash (28%), madubula (26.7%) and Jeyes fluid  (10%) both of which are comprised of 13% carbolic acid, paraffin (8.4%), plants (5.2%), used engine oil (2.8%), dip wash (2.5%), doom spray (d-phenothrin 0.4%), blue death (permethrin 0.03%) (1.9%), diesel (1.9%), smoke (0.9%) and a few (4.2%) used conventional insecticides namely karbadust (carbarly 5%) and mercaptothion 5%). A small proportion (7.5%) does not use either of the remedies. The materials used by resource-limited farmers in controlling parasites were identified and documented.


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