Tephrosia vogelii for control of fleas in free-range poultry

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R.A. Isabirye
E. Mecleod


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.

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How to Cite
Isabirye, R. ., & Mecleod, E. . (2015). Tephrosia vogelii for control of fleas in free-range poultry. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 16(1), 29–41. Retrieved from http://journal.naro.go.ug/index.php/ujas/article/view/185