Society of African Journal Editors

Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences

Tephrosia vogelii for control of fleas in free-range poultry

Authors: RA Isabirye, E Mecleod

Journal: Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences

Chicken production is the leading type of poultry farming in eastern Africa. However, diseases and parasites are limiting factors in production. Ectoparasites in particular lead to reduced egg production, and reduced hatchability, since the hens usually abandon eggs following ectoparasitic infestation. Ethno-veterinary medicine may be the only readily accessible and affordable alternative for controlling diseases in rural areas, where access to modern medicines and extension service delivery is lacking. This study was conducted in Luuka district in eastern Ugandato validate the efficacy of Tephrosia vogelii (a shrub) in controlling fleas ( Echinophaga spp.) on freerange poultry. Ectoparasites ranked second, after predators, in causing losses in poultry. The majority of the respondents had substantial knowledge of ethno-veterinary remedies, their side effects, and the required precautions of handling the drugs. In a majority of households, poultry was owned and managed by women. About 82% of the respondents had heard of Tephrosia vogelii  as remedy for agricultural pests; while 68% admitted having used it on their poultry. Most respondents preferred using herbal medicine compared to conventional medicine, saying that the former was accessible, affordable, effective and environmentally friendly. Experiments were carried out and replicated in a completely randomised design. During experimental trials, it was found out that Tephrosia vogelii extracts of concentrations of 25, 33.3 and of 50% w/v had a long term protective effect. The effect lasted up to 5 days. These concentrations killed up to100% of the fleas. The difference in re-infestation between the treated and control chickens on Days 6, 7 and 8 was significant (p < 0.001). Permethrin at the recommended rates, killed 100% of the fleas. The rate of re-infestation by fleas varied with concentration, being higher at low concentrations for both Tephrosia vogelii and permethrin. There was no significant difference in efficacy between dry leaves extracts compared to fresh leaves extracts at similar concentrations. The LD 50 for the dried and fresh leaves extracts were 50 ml of the standard extract in 1200 and 800 ml at room temperature, respectively. Key words: Fleas, free-range poultry, Tephrosia vogelii , Uganda