Notes to broadcasters
In Mali, most people who live in rural areas rely on rainfed agriculture and keeping livestock and poultry. They raise poultry with traditional methods, and this has always helped support many families. Nowadays, with the great experience they have gained by dealing continuously with poultry diseases and external parasites, some village farmers give advice to other farmers to help them take care of their birds.
One of the major challenges facing poultry farmers is external parasites. These parasites attack adult chickens, and attack chicks when they are only a few days old, and can die more easily. The treatments that farmers use for these parasites include products which are widely available, but which are not necessarily recommended by experts.
In this script, we meet Adama Sacko, a farmer who raises poultry in the village of Balandougou, in Kayes, the first region of Mali. Mr. Sacko manages external parasites in chickens with anti-mosquito products, diesel oil, and kerosene. But specialists do not recommend these types of products, as we will hear from Mrs. Coulibaly, an expert teacher in a veterinary school.
Mrs. Coulibaly suggests a number of effective products for treating external parasites. She also urges poultry farmers to apply hygienic measures, such as regularly cleaning and disinfecting henhouses.
You could present this script as part of your regular farmer program by using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
You could also use this script as research material or use it to produce your own script on the treatment of external parasites in your country.
Talk to farmers and experts who raise chickens and who are knowledgeable about these birds. You might ask them:
- What is the importance of poultry farming in your area?
- Which external parasites are there in your area? Are they common? Do they cause serious problems?
- What solutions have farmers and experts found against external parasites?
Estimated time for the script, including intro and outro, is 20 minutes.
We will be talking with Mr. Adama Sacko, who grows crops and raises chickens in Balandougou. Balandougou is a small village in the county of Oussoubidiagna, in the first region of Mali.
Good morning, Mr. Sacko.
There is another small white parasite called the chicken louse, or chè-gnimi in the Bambara language. This parasite is really small. It waits on newly-laid eggs, and then gets into the mother bird’s feathers. When this happens, you must treat the chickens immediately. If not, it bothers the hens a lot and they abandon their eggs. The chicken louse is barely visible to the naked eye because it is really tiny. It can only kill chicks which are a few days old. It doesn’t kill adult birds.
There is another parasite that we call a tick, or trèfin in the Bambara language. It is black, and also tiny. It grows slowly under a chicken’s wings, thighs, and in all the hidden parts of its body. It attacks poultry in the same way that parasites attack oxen and cows, that is, it stays permanently under the feathers unless you kill it. If you don’t kill it, it never leaves the chicken. It’s a very dangerous parasite because it very quickly kills chickens by sucking their blood.
As for the chicken louse, you can tell that the chicken has it by the way she behaves when she lays eggs. Whenever she sits on her eggs, she will stand up just a few minutes later and run around trying to remove the parasites from her body with her beak. She can’t stay still, and she almost becomes mad. This parasite doesn’t kill the bird, but it bothers it a lot. The parasite disappears after some time, even without treatment.
The tick is the most dangerous. You can recognize it right away by looking at the chicken. She loses weight and does not move much or feed herself. Ticks are very dangerous, and if you don’t treat the chicken within a few weeks, she will die.
Poultry farming is more important than you think. For example, there is a man in my village whose name is Oumou Fah. He has thousands of guinea fowls and he told me he went to Mecca thanks to his income from selling guinea fowl—and he sent his mother and his brother there too. I should add that Oumou has equipment, including two incubators for hatching eggs.
THE HOST, ADAMA SACKO, AND THE STREET VENDOR GREET EACH OTHER
At one point, I had more than 300 birds. With this many birds, it was impossible to avoid diseases. Because we didn’t have any livestock experts in the village, I learned slowly how to treat diseases with products I bought at the weekly market.
At the beginning, because I hadn’t mastered the correct dosages, the drugs caused some problems on my farm. But I gradually learned to control everything, thanks to advice from veterinarians I met in town.
I remember that one day I treated about ten chickens with a drug called oxytetracycline 10%. Just two hours later, they were all dead. Do you know why? In fact, I should have used oxytetracycline 5% twice a day for adults, and once for chicks.
But now that I’ve had some small trainings, I won’t make this type of mistake anymore. Today, I have almost become like a veterinarian who farmers in this village call on whenever they need treatment for their birds. This is life; you learn things from your experiences.
But as far as external parasites are concerned, there are various very efficient powders you can buy at the market to treat them. But now farmers think they have found a solution for parasites. Most of us use anti-mosquito products such as Rambo brand and others to neutralize parasites. Other farmers use diesel oil or kerosene to fight them. Personally, I haven’t tried the anti-mosquito products, or the diesel oil and kerosene, though people say these are very efficient against parasites. Experts haven’t told us yet if these products can cause other problems, but we need to pay more attention to this.
I am also a teacher. I studied at the Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Appliquée in Katibougou, Mali. I live in Oussoubidiagna in Kayes.
External parasites generally come from birds’ droppings or from a chicken in another flock. They can also come from the henhouse, because of the generally unclean nature of the henhouse, and the fact that the porous state of the walls allows parasites to lay eggs and thrive within cracks in the walls.
Most poultry farmers in Oussoubidiagna fight these parasites by following advice from village technicians about treatments and hygienic measures. But they also use diesel oil and anti-mosquito products, which can wreak havoc on farms, and even kill chickens, and should not be used.
We learned about the three most harmful types of external parasites—fleas, lice, and ticks—and what damage these parasites can cause. We also learned how farmers can tell if their birds are infested with external parasites, and how the parasites spread. Finally, we learned what drugs and hygienic measures can be applied to prevent them. But what we learned most is the damaging impact they can have on rural populations and poultry farmers.
Thanks for listening to the program, and stay tuned for the next program, in which we will address another farming topic. Thanks for your kind attention and see you soon.
Contributed by: Boubacar Gakou, filmmaker, Bamako, Mali
Revised by: Moussa Koné, Head of Livestock Industry Unit, Local Service of Animal Products (SLPIA), Bougouni, Mali