Archive for the ‘ poultry diseases ’ Category

Ostrich farming for Kilome (part 1) 

What is an Ostrich?

  •  Largest But flightless bird
  •  Life span: 30 to 70years
  •  70-100 eggs per year
  •  Reproduction Age: 42years
  •  Temperature tolerance: -30C to +56C
  •  Hieght 8-9 ft
  •  100 Kg weight in 10months
  •  Running speed 70

The Ostrich producer ranking?

  • South Africa
  • China (Still buying breeding stock!)
  • Israel
  • Iran
  • Australia
  • USA, Mexico, Japan,
  • Malaysia,Croatia,Philippines,
  • Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
  • Egypt,Brazil, United Arab Emirates,
  • Turkey, Pakistan, India


  • Iran rears and slaughters
  • 150,000 + birds per year
  • Direct government support
  • State Sponsored Breeding Farms
  • Claims to be third largest  Ostrich farmer


  • Ostrich Boom in last 9 years
  • Had ostrich farming in over 30 provinces seven years back
  • Massive local consumption potential
  • Has now started export of Ostrich Meat and Products

Ostrich can feed the world?

  •  Best FCR
  •  18kg – 24kg (8 weeks)
  •  45kg – 80 kg (16 weeks)
  •  70kg – 170 kg (26 weeks)
  •  100 kg – 400 kg (42 weeks)
  •  Healthy and organic meat
  •  Multiplication
  •  min 30 chicks/hen/year
  •  Can generate PKR 100,000/hen
  •  Highly Profitable Business
  •  POC Support
  •  Low Space/ Food requirement
  •  Premium for Early movers
  •  More profitable than cattle, goat and poultry

Why Ostrich Farming

  • Natural Environment is Ukambani
  •  Agricultural Country
  •  Livestock
  •  Meat as Prime Food Source
  •  Cheaper Labour
  •  Low feed cost
  •  Little or no handling
  •  Feed to Weight Ratio
  •  Product Variety
  •  Leather Industry
  •  High Profitability
  •  Adaptability (Ukambani natural habitat)
  •  Success in entire World

(*source: Pakistan Ostrich Farming)

There are 4 clearly identifiable phases that the industry has passed. 

Phase 1: Initial Development of Industries with full infrastructure 

This phase includes countries that had full infrastructure for production, processing and marketing with commercial scale capacity. Countries included here are South Africa, Israel, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Israels entry into the industry was the first outside South Africa in modern times. During this period Zimbabwe and Namibia were also exporting eggs, chicks and breeder birds to support the development discussed in Phase 2. Eggs, chicks and adult birds were also exported from Tanzania and Kenya. 

Figure 2 – Namibian Community Farmers 

Phase 2: The first countries importing foundation stock outside Southern Africa and Israel 

This phase includes the first countries to import foundation stock from their original countries, which included stock taken from the wild. Countries included in this group are USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, UK and Northern Continental European countries such as The Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and France. Other importers of stock during this phase were China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. These countries imported a diversity of genetics not only from Namibia, Bophuthatswana and Zimbabwe but also from Tanzania and Kenya. South Africa was unable to export fertile eggs and live birds until 1998. However, there were many reports of illegal exports from South Africa, prior to the change in legislation. During this period it was impossible to identify the genetic origin of the birds. 

Phase 3: Phase 2 countries selling to more countries new to ostrich 

The countries listed in Phase 2 failed to successfully move from importation of foundation stock to commercial production. As a result they sold their stock onto new countries and accompanied by the same errors in production advice. The first recipient countries were Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece in Europe and then onto Brazil and Argentina. Stock from these areas also moved into Eastern Europe and the Middle East. At the same time stock moved to Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile. Nowadays stock is moving into Nigeria and other North African countries, Pakistan and other areas still working to establish commercial poultry production.

Phase 4: Industry in Contraction 

Obtaining accurate production data is challenging, but a review of the last meaningful table published illustrates why this is. As at 2012 the industry is in a poor situation, with limited, if any slaughter activity in most areas. Several hundred birds per annum at the most in some locations. What about the Phase 1 countries? 

There are still some birds slaughtered in South Africa  probably around the 100,000 level per annum – as slaughter numbers have reduced steadily over the past 10 years. There are a number of reasons for this. One is several outbreaks of Avian Influenza that have resulted in the inability to export meat, which is a major source of revenue. The South African producers have failed to modernise their production systems with the result that they have failed to reduce their costs of production. This results in uncompetitive meat production when measured against the costs of mainstream meat products. The ostrich leather market virtually collapsed in recent years as a result of the inconsistencies in quality and supply from all sources. 

The political situation in Zimbabwe has prevented Zimbabwes production from developing its potential. Israels production failed when there was an outbreak of avian influenza in their poultry flocks preventing them from exporting their meat. Their industry had no local meat consumption as ostrich is not kosher, but ostrich is acceptable to consumers who require Halaal certification. 

 Time now to capitalise on lessons learnt 

At this point in time (2012) it is necessary to observe the development of the established commercial meat production species: pig, poultry (mainly chicken but with turkey, duck, guinea fowl and other poultry becoming players), along with cattle, sheep and goat as the mainstream current competition to ostrich meat. Not only does ostrich have to compete for shelf space in super markets for mainstream meat types but also other speciality meat types such as venison, emu, wild boar, kangaroo, rabbit and crocodile. 

The important factor in favour of ostrich is their ability to produce meat protein at similar feed efficiencies and therefore cost as pig and poultry. South Africa, the dominant producer of ostrich, remains working with outdated systems that continue to fail their producers. These outdated systems were passed onto the new developing countries. 

Over the past few decades, pig and poultry production has become extremely efficient in their production methods. For example in broiler production the growing chick spends 25% less time on the farm to reach the same weight than it did 25 years ago. In the same 25 years ostrich has gone through these various phases. 
These 25 years have provided the opportunity to gain experience and prove the potential that under the right management systems, ostrich can reach the same slaughter weight in less than ½ the accepted time. It now requires adoption of the knowledge learnt and implemented on a large enough scale to ensure it is commercially viable before it is too late.


There’s more than enough for ALL!

Stop telling people, is saying stop learning something new. Your new knowledge plus past experience is what creates more for humanity. That’s unless you wanted to keep sending a runner to deliver your mail 🙂
No single farmer can efficiently cater for his/households needs! To be able to create enough tomatoes to satisfy a market plus add value I’ll definitely need to create a team, I’ll need to engage ie pay for professional services and as I develop my line to the next level I’ll needs researchers!
Inefficiencies create contracted/diminished services and markets serving only one individuals interests. Those from East Africa remember the old telephone services, one player you had to beg for services ie with the engine of a train but acting like a bicycle – yes 50,000 jobs gone. However mobile telephony that replaced it created 100,000s of new jobs while creating better services..
The other day I received a mail about a monk that asked his apprentice to push over a cliff a poor families only asset (a weak cow that hardly gave 1ltr milk). Mean?
When the apprentice returned a few months later he found a prosperous family. What had happened? That family didn’t realize what they had until what they thought they had was taken away did they realise they had been sitting on much bigger unutilized assets ALL along.
So when information is posted here about chicken feed making does it kill jobs/peoples income ie chicken feed manufacture industry?

Let’s do the maths:

20million chicken × just 35grams daily = 7million kgs of feed daily ie 140,000 bags of feed daily.

– now 20 million chicken will ONLY feed ½ our population white meat protein for just 4 days in a year. What of the other 361 days?

– who has the capacity to produce 140,000 50kg bags of feed daily ie 1.6 bags per second just to cater for available birds!?
– If they were 100 producers each would have to produce 1bag every minute for 24hrs just to service the 20million birds

– who has the single capability to produce enough of each ingredient daily!?

-Are people even aware of how much of each ingredient is daily required to service the 140,000 bird’s!? Do our farmers even have the capacity!? Then we complain when the farmer relative keeps asking us for handouts while he’s not servicing an industry – a capacity he has at hand.

The information again provided is already in public domain created by your taxes and all it does is give a foundation to begin – doing is something else all together.

I don’t like changes! The gadget your reading this message on created massive changes in peoples sole source of income ie distribution of books and newspapers – throw it away if you are sincere you want to save their source of income.

photos and text
©muoki kioko

Poultry Diseases & Management


Ten simple rules for disease prevention:
1. Give access to the right feed and clean water, in particular for small chicks;
2. Build shelters against wind and rain;
3. Clean houses regularly and apply lime wash on the floor and the walls;
4. If necessary, provide dry litter regularly;
5. Do not put too many birds together;
6. Different species of poultry, for example hens, turkeys, pigeons, ducks and
guinea fowls should be kept separate;
7. Separate chicks from adult birds except from the mother hen;
8. Vaccinate chicks against the most important diseases and revaccinate if
9. Isolate and treat sick birds – if medication is not available then kill the sick
10. Burn or bury killed birds.

Newcastle Disease
Very common during dry seasons, often seen in young chicks,
but also in adults. High flock mortality, of between 30% and 80% of the birds die,
when the disease hits. Chickens lose appetite and have poor digestion. They
might show heavy breathing, greenish droppings, and sometimes bloody diarrhoea .
They may show nervous symptoms, paralysis and die suddenly, and the symptoms
may occur all at the same time. The disease is a virus, so there is no treatment, but
it may be prevented through vaccination of all birds including chicks from two
weeks of age.

Avian Influenza (AI)
Found naturally in ducks and other waterfowl, and may spread as a
highly contagious and potentially dangerous form to chickens. High flock mortality,
blue and swollen comb and wattles. Infects through contaminated feed and drinking
water from ponds. The disease is a virus, so there is no treatment. Best prevention
is strict hygiene and slaughter of sick birds. AI can presently NOT be prevented
through vaccination of birds. Culling and burning of all birds in the flock and strict
cleaning of chicken houses must be considered after a disease outbreak. Always call
a veterinarian, if you suspect an AI outbreak.
*Do not eat infected birds.

Fowl pox
Often seen in young chicks, but also in adults, and shows as pocks (small lumps)
on wattles, comb and face. High body temperature, tiredness followed by sudden
death. The disease is common during dry seasons, but may be found all year
around. The disease is a virus, so there is no treatment. Vaccine is available and
highly effective.

Marek´s disease
Seen only in birds older than 16 weeks. Initially the birds may show paralysis of one
or both wings. Or one or both legs might be paralysed. The disease is a virus, so
there is no treatment, but commercial vaccines are available.

E. coli infection
Common among newly hatched chicks, causing infection in the stomach region.
Symptoms in older birds: Respiratory distress or infection in the egg organ with stop
of egg production. The best prevention is improved hygiene of eggs for hatching
and of the nests. Treatment of sick chicks might be possible with antibiotics.

Fowl cholera (pasteurellosis)
May occur any time in all ages. Symptoms are severe diarrhoea, respiratory
symptoms, loss of appetite, blue combs and wattles. May occur as a chronic disease
or hit as sudden death. Infection through contaminated feed and drinking water.
There is no treatment. Best prevention is strict hygiene and vaccination.

*Kill and burn affected birds. Vaccine is usually available.

Pullorum disease (Baciillary white diarrhoea)
Usually in young chicks. Chicks walk with difficulty, show big bellies and drag their
wings. Faeces is liquid and turns white. There is no treatment. Prevention is strict
hygiene. If illness occurs, isolate or kill and burn the birds. Disease is transmitted to
chicks from the eggs of infected hens, which may not show signs of being ill.

Fowl typhoid
Usually seen in older birds. Symptoms: high body temperature, tiredness, blue
comb, sudden death. No treatment. Prevention through strict hygiene and culling of
ill hens. Do not buy chicks from unknown sources, and do not use eggs for hatching
from hens that have been ill.

Gumboro (Infectious Bursal Disease, IBD)
Only seen in chicks younger than 6 weeks, and normally only in large flocks kept in
confinement. Not common in small-scale village based systems. Common
symptom: Diarrhoea. The disease is a virus, so there is no treatment. Vaccine is

Infectious coryza
Symptoms: Runny nose, swellings under the eyes, closed eyes, drop in egg
production. Treatment by adding antibiotics in drinking water.

Chronic respiratory disease (Mycoplasmosis)
Symptoms: Runny or blocked nose, swollen face, closed eyes, drop in egg
production, rare deaths. Treatment by adding antibiotics in drinking water.

Coccidiosis (internal parasites)
The disease may occur at any time at all ages, but can be prevented by regular and
careful cleaning of troughs and poultry houses. Symptoms: Sick, tired, head down,
ruffled feathers, bloody diarrhoea. Death in young chicks. If the chicks survive, they
will remain thin and be late in laying. Treatment: Anticoccidiostatics in drinking
water or feed. Prevention: Not too many birds together. Avoid different age groups
of birds in the same house, as the disease may spread from adults to young chicks.

*Diarrhoea may be caused by several diseases, but the looks and colour will differ.

Roundworms and tapeworms (internal parasites)
Internal parasites are very common in all ages in the village based production
systems. These parasites will cause poor health, weight loss, drop in egg
production, and bloody diarrhea. The best treatment is adding anthelmintics in the
drinking water once or twice a year, at best two weeks before vaccination against
Newcastle Disease. Careful hygiene may prevent heavy infection.

External parasites
Attacks all ages any time, but occurs more frequently in humid chicken houses with
bad hygiene. Adult birds are clearly disturbed and spend a lot of time pecking and
polishing feathers. Young chicks may die from anemia. If not treated, mites, lice,
fleas, ticks will cause weight loss and possibly loss of feathers due to the parasites
sucking blood and to skin irritation. Lice can be seen around eyes and nose. Fleas
can be seen on the belly.
Treatment: Spray or dust with pesticides, ashes, and oil.
Ashes and sulphur powder may be used where the hens do dust bathing. Nests may
be protected by putting a few tobacco leaves mixed with ashes in the nests.

Scaly legs
Scaly leg is caused by an external parasite irritating the skin on the birds’ legs.
Symptoms: Legs clearly have scales and wounds and may become crippled in their
appearance. Treatment: Dip the legs daily in kerosene, oil or in an insecticide until
the scales disappear.

Nutritional diseases
Symptoms: Bone deformation and feather loss. The birds walk with difficulty; they
limp. Legs are deformed. Some deficiencies may cause feather loss. Treatment, if
detected in time: Supplementary vitamins and calcium, fresh grass, and cow dung.
Nutritional diseases may be avoided when the birds have access to normal
vegetation and are therefore rare in scavenging chickens.
Nutritional diseases. Feather loss (a) and leg deformation (b)

Mycotoxicosis (fungal poisoning)
Symptoms: Weakness, pale combs. Treatment: Supplementary vitamins. Prevention:
Proper storage of feed to prevent growth of the fungi producing mycotoxins, the
cause of the disease.

Good management = healthy birds

Medication and vaccination
Some diseases may be cured by drugs. Parasitic diseases, such as lice or worms may
be cured by use of anti-parasitic drugs or by applying simple methods such as
baths in oil. Some bacterial diseases causing diarrhoea, may be cured with
antibiotics. For viral diseases there is no treatment. But the viral diseases may often
be prevented by vaccination.
All poultry should be vaccinated against the most common viral disease(s) in the
area. Vaccination schemes at village level should cover Newcastle Disease and Fowl
Pox. Vaccination against Avian Influenza should be avoided, unless recommended
by veterinarian authorities. Other viral diseases such as Gumboro and Marek’s
disease may be covered by vaccination, but they are often less important at village
level. A bacterial disease such as Fowl cholera may also be prevented by vaccination.
Poultry should be vaccinated when they are very young, and before they have begun
to lay eggs. Most young birds that have not been vaccinated do not resist diseases,
and often die.
*Vaccines should only be given to healthy birds. If you vaccinate a sick
bird you may kill the bird.

Anthelmintics against internal parasites should be given two weeks before vaccination, to improve the effect of the vaccine.

Vaccination methods
There are four fundamental ways of vaccinating birds:
1. Eye drops
2. Injections
3. Skin piercing.
4. Orally (in feed or water)
For scavenging poultry, you should avoid mixing vaccines with drinking water or
feed, as it is difficult to give the right dose. Research have shown that protection
against e.g. Newcastle Disease is highly variable if vaccine is given through water or
feed. Giving the right dose is essential for the vaccine to work properly. A too high
dose of a live vaccine may kill a young chick, whereas a too low dose will not give
adequate protection. Thus, it is important to consult a veterinarian or auxiliary
veterinarians (barefoot vets, village vaccinators) for further advice before carrying
out a vaccination.

photos and text
©muoki kioko

%d bloggers like this: