Chicken disease - Over 215,000 chickens from poultry farms in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Kogi state are said to have died as a result of a strange disease that makes the birds to bleed through the nose, the legs and through the chest, poultry farmers in the two areas have said.
The disease, said to have emanated from a particular brand of brown layers bought from a farm in Kwara state, is said to be killing chickens daily as efforts by the poultry managements through their veterinary doctors have so far defied solution.
When Daily Trust visited Macks Farm in Osara, along Lokoja/Okene road in Kogi State, the manager was said to have gone to Lokoja. However, one of the customers of the farm, Alhaji Musa Adaye, said of the 72,000 layers they bought from a farm in Kwara state, less than 6,000 birds are still remaining.
"They bought 72,000 layers from Yammfy Farms Nigeria Limited, formerly Zarm farm owned by Oba Muftau Gbadamosi. They bought the 72,000 day-old-chickens (DOC) in batches. We started noticing the disease when the chickens were 18 weeks old. As I am talking to you now, over 45 chickens die here every day.
"I am aware that some of the infected chickens were taken to a laboratory where it was discovered that about 80 percent of them were Avian Locus's positive. I followed them to the laboratory and we were told that the disease only affect chickens. It does no harm to human beings. We also noticed that it only affect the brown specie and no other type of chicken," he said.
At Sanfam Poultry, the Production Manager, Mr. Umar Abdulsalam, said all the 60,000 DOC they bought from Yammfy Farm died of the same disease, adding, "ours will start bleeding through the nose then through the legs. They will become weak and tired. They could not even stand on their feet. When you lift them up, you also see blood coming from their chest. That means they will not last 3 hours. A veterinary doctor said it was blood- anemia," he said.
In the FCT, the General Manager of Ajima Farms, a major poultry farm in Abuja, Alhaji Adama Yusuf Musa, said when he noticed the disease among his chicken, he sold all of them out and his farm is not producing eggs now, adding, "sometimes we do have a glut. But as you can see I had a problem along the line. I don't even have the laying birds. We normally bring them in succession. There is supposed to be another set laying eggs now with the hope that these nine weeks olds will replace them. But unfortunately, the farm where I bought the other ones at Ilemona in Kwara state has disease that affected my own.
"I am not the only one that is affected. Somebody here in Kuje is also affected. I had to sell off my 5,000 birds just like that. By the time they came into production, what they were producing could not even feed them. And then the cost of trying to upgrade them to produce, the cost of drugs and vitamins for them is more than what they are giving me.
"So, there is no need keeping them. I had to sell those ones off. That's why I don't have laying birds now. A lot of farms in Kuje area that are buying their birds from that Yammfy Farm in Kwara State are affected. From the source, the birds have disease. Dan Sarki Farm also had the same experience. And the disease is very deadly. It is blood anemia," he said.
When Daily Trust visited Yammfy Farm in Ilemona, the farm's doctors, Abubakar Kayode said Macks Farm has written to complain about the infected birds but he could not confirm or deny if the infection emanated from their farm. He said livestock business is very delicate as problems could come from anywhere.
"Companies that have complaints with their birds have written to us and we have written back and we are in the process of resolving the issues amicably based on their merit. Poultry is a risky business as there is no single poultry in the world that is disease-free as there are thousands of diseases that birds can contract.
"So, where there are identified cases, we try to resolve them amicably so as not to jeopardize our business relationship with the companies. No sane company will sell or buy products that would draw back its business. As a company, no matter how good you are, there could be problems and we are always honest to admit there could be problem. It is a normal phenomenon in poultry. We are talking about livestock. As a company with very good corporate records, we don't turn our back at complaints", he added.
Kwara State government said it is building the capacity of poultry farmers in the state through the provision of technical support and regular training to prevent infections so that they would not run at loss.
The Director of Livestock in Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Simon Opowoye, said the state government is building the capacity of poultry farmers through the provision of technical support and regular training to prevent diseases and infections, adding that the practice of good hygiene and observance of the stipulated vaccination procedure should be the guiding principles.
"We are also trying to control the environment of the feed mills in this state because we realized that the feed mills usually are major source of infection. If you go to most of the feed mills here, they make their feed on the floor where people walk up and down.
"Also of importance is the environment. The poultry should be adequately ventilated and lighted. You know we are living in hot and humid tropics and generally birds do not really tolerate much of heat. So, if there is any serious heat threat it would reduce their productivity and bring about diseases. We teach them the use of disinfectant to prevent diseases. Usually, if you want to enter a poultry farm, you deep your leg in disinfectant solution," he said.
By Shehu Abubakar and Usman A. Bello, Abdulwasiu Hassan, Abuja and Abdullateef Aliyu, Ilorin