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Estimating the impact of administration of dewormers on smallholder chickens in Odisha State, India

Bessell, Paul R, Dash, Ranjit, Prasad, Sanjay, Al-Riyami, Lamyaa, Gammon, Neil, Stuke, Kristin, Woolley, Roy, Barbaruah, Miftahul Islam
Poultry science 2019 v.98 no.4 pp. 1692-1696
Nematoda, chickens, data analysis, fenbendazole, flocks, helminthiasis, households, statistical models, villages, India
Helminth infections, in particular infections with nematodes are highly prevalent and an impediment to the productivity of chickens in smallholder settings. Infections can be easily and cheaply treated using dewormers. We present an empirical framework for estimating the impact of administration of locally available dewormers on chicken weight in a smallholder setting in Odisha State of India. We recruited 1,040 chickens aged between 40 and 70 d from 168 households in 13 village groups in Odisha. Chickens were randomly assigned to treatment with a dewormer (fenbendazole), or non-treatment. Each chicken was tagged with 2 legbands and weighed, then followed up after 28 and 56 d and reweighed. To account for the local variations in exposure and for variations between flocks, the data were analyzed in a multilevel mixed model with flock within village as nested random effects. After 56 d, the modeled results showed that all chickens had gained a mean of 288.3 g but heavier chickens at the baseline gained more weight than lighter chickens. In addition to this, the treated chickens had gained an additional mean of 90.55 g relative to non-treated chickens (P < 0.001). In this setting, we have demonstrated that administration of dewormers has a clear beneficial impact on chicken weight, but it also indicates that other management practices can have a substantial impact on chicken weight.