Monday, 20 August 2012
Ethnovet for poultry Seventeen medicinal plants are used to treat four categories of health problems common to poultry production. Two previously existing health problems (pox and yaws) were also treated with medicinal plants. Aloe vera, Kalanchoe pinnata, Citrus species and Momordica charantia were the main medicinal plants being used in the ‘modern’ poultry sector. The poultry sector is unique in having the Poultry Surveillance Unit (PSU), which offers technical and veterinary assistance to producers (Ministry of Food Production and Marine Exploitation, 1989). The PSU conducted preliminary on-farm investigation with the medicinal plants Aloe, Caraaili, Citrus and found no harmful effects, so the results were disseminated to farmers. The information on ethnoveterinary medicine for commercial poultry was originally collected in 1995 using the school essay method. Seven of the 78 essay/questionnaires described ethnoveterinary medicine for backyard poultry: the use of lime juice in ducks drinking water for respiratory illness; the use of a decoction of caraaili (Momordica charantia) leaves for sick chickens; and the yellow exudate of aloe leaf (Aloe vera) used to purge chickens. Three essays described 'pip' as a ' rash on the chickens tongue which could be removed by rubbing or scraping it with wood ashes'. One essay indicated that roasting cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale) in the open air was linked to chicken 'pox'. The researcher rechecked the collected information with the former PSU head throughout 1997 and 1998. One previously mis-identified plant (Renealmia alpinia) was collected and identified at the Herbarium. Nine of the hunters and women interviewed from 1996 – 2000 provided similar and new information on ethnoveterinary medicines used for poultry. In July 2000 a revisit was made to the PSU. At a meeting with all staff a written paper based on the extension methods used by the PSU was discussed. The opportunity was also taken to establish whether farmers still used the same medicinal plants and if any new plants were used. Results Only one plant had been introduced to poultry farmers by the PSU subsequent to the first research phase. The plant Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) was mentioned in a paper by Brown and Lans (1998). One PSU member saw the paper and passed the information on through the PSU network. 'Pip' was theorised as a systematic disease - the dehydrated tissue of the tongue shrivels and dies in some backyard situations with suboptimal management. In most cases the medicinal plants and/or extracts are administered via the drinking water which is changed daily. Only fresh plant parts are used. All intensive poultry operations have an open water system. Bell or trough-type automatic drinkers are gravity fed from overhead storage tanks. Tank sizes range from 45 to 1200 US gallons.