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Feedback: Fleas, mites that attack poultry

Saturday November 24 2018

A hen and her chicks in a traditional brooder.

A hen and her chicks in a traditional brooder. The chicken body louse and the shaft louse are the two species of lice most commonly found on poultry. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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I need help to eradicate crawling insects on my Kienyeji chickens that I bought in Yatta. I have tried several chemicals and they are not working. In Kikamba, we call these insects “bangule”, please help.


Parasites are organisms that live in or on others, referred to as the host, and gain advantage at the expense of the victim.

There are several external parasites that attack poultry by either sucking blood or feeding on the skin or feathers. Fowl mites are the most common, especially during the cool weather.

The mites are blood feeders and insecticides used to control them include Poultry Guard and Ivermectin. Pyrethrum-based insecticides can also be used.


Scaly-leg mites burrow under chickens' leg scales and feed on the tissue under. Stick tight fleas attach themselves to the skin and wattles on the head of birds. Sevin dust can be applied to expose fleas.

The chicken body louse and the shaft louse are the two species of lice most commonly found on poultry. To eradicate them, treat the entire poultry house, paying special attention to the areas where these mites like to hide (every crack and crevice, as well as roosts, walls, and ceilings).

The birds should also be treated with an insecticide that is approved for poultry. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions, including details regarding protective equipment the producer must wear and possible withholding time for consumption of meat and eggs from infected birds.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.



My name is Paul Othune and I live in Siaya County. My mother, Seline Othune, is a farmer and she keeps rabbits too. Please inform me on where she can sell rabbit products, the meat, skin and urine.

Changing tastes among consumers has created a massive shift to white meat, cre­at­ing a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity for producers of live­stock like rab­bits.

Rabbit meat is tender, has a sweet flavour, is rich in proteins and has low cholesterol. Many rabbit farmers, however, cry foul of lack of market.

There are rabbit meat outlets in urban areas that offer market. You can also talk to Magiri, a rabbit farmer we featured sometime back based in Mombasa on 0726781242. He contracts rabbit farmers.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.


I am David Mulunda from Malava, Kakamega County. I want to start goat farming. Kindly connect me to a veterinary officer and share contacts of any farmer keeping goats and the best breed for meat purposes.

Raising goats for meat production is a worthwhile initiative because the animals are hardy and can be kept even in dry areas.

Most farmers venture in goat meat rearing as a source of income from the sale of extra kids and culled adults. This is because goats are prolific breeders compared to cows.

They have a short gestation period, high chances of twinning and require less space and feed less than cows. They are also much easier to invest in considering the initial capital investment and time you need to attend to them.

The Small East African Goat, Galla Goat, Anglo-Nubians and Boer are examples of meat goats. They require proper housing, feeding, protein supplements, salt, water, vaccination, deworming, and tick control.

Visit the county or sub county agricultural offices in Malava to get the contact of a veterinarian and of farmers keeping meat goats.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.



My name is Beatrice from Nyeri. Where do I start with arrowroots farming?

Arrowroots require wet lands or you can farm them in moisture beds. But if you have land near a water source, you can get the suckers and plant them. Before you plant, remove all the weeds and get quality seeds.

Peter Caleb Otieno,
Department of Crops Horticulture, and soils, Egerton University.



I'm Vincent, a graduate of Ahiti, college of animal health and production. I'm looking for a farm to work in or a company. I will be thankful if given an opportunity.

Many companies and farms have online platforms, keep checking and emailing them. Request for internship and sometimes volunteer to gain experience.

If there is a farm or company that is of interest to you but you can’t access them online, kindly pay them a visit if near and express your interest.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.



My name is Solomon from Nigeria and I'm planning to go into poultry farming. How many bags of feeds do I need to start a 500 birds’ farm and from which periods do I vaccinate the birds?

Poultry farming is one of the most profitable ventures in Africa due to rise in demand of their products. With increasing awareness on food safety, it is prudent to raise birds, assuming chickens in your case, under suitable hygienic and management practices to get niche market.

Feeding, which accounts for 60-70 per cent of the total cost of production, is one of the management practices one should be careful with. We will appreciate to know which birds, whether layers (eggs) or broilers (meat) you want to keep for further guidance.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.



Kindly facilitate me with a proper fertilisation and manuring programme for 1-10 years or more, plus any locally available substitutes where possible and the best times of the year to apply them.

Chris Munene Charagu

Manuring and fertilisation: To obtain maximum growth and optimum yields, it is important to supply the avocado trees with necessary nutrients.

It is, however, dangerous to give excessive amounts on any size of trees at one time as it may cause root damage, leaf burn and defoliation.

The type of fertiliser to be used depends on soil pH. In the planting year, it is advisable not to top-dress the orchard since this may retard root development during the first 4-5 months after planting.

After this period, 60g of 26 per cent N fertiliser should be applied after every three months when the soil is moist. In addition, about 25kg of well-rotten manure should be spread around the trees after each year.

The following are recommendations for N, P fertilisers to be applied each year (CAN and SSP):

1st year after planting 60g CAN + 250g SSP
2nd year 85g CAN + 500g SSP
3rd year 500g CAN + 750g SSP
4th year 750g CAN + 750g SSP
5th year 1kg CAN + 750g SSP
6th year 2kg CAN + 1kg SSP
7th year 3kg CAN + 1.5kg SSP
8th year 4kg CAN + 2kg SSP
9th year 5kg CAN + 2.5kg SSP
10th year 6kg CAN + 3kg SSP

CAN will supply calcium and nitrogen, SSP will supply calcium, phosphorous and sulphur.

The use of farmyard manure is particularly strongly recommended because it improves the physical condition of the soil and promotes the adsorption in the soil and uptake by the plant of micro-nutrients.

The above listed N levels should also be applied in splits. Avocado trees also have a very high requirement for potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Measures should, therefore, be taken to supplement these when they fall short.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.