A study on the importance of Newcastle disease (ND) in village chickens was conducted among farmers, poultry traders and community leaders using a focus group discussion (FGD) on village chicken production in eight communities of Bauchi State, Nigeria. Participatory epidemiologic tools of proportional piling and pair wise ranking were used by all the participants of FGD to rank by importance common diseases of village chickens in their communities. Disease and predation were identified by all the participants in each community as major constraints affecting village chicken production. Among the common diseases listed in each community, ND received the highest proportional piling scores of 146/249 (69.9%) in Chinade, 35/105 (32.4%) in Jalam, 183/261(70.1%) in Udubo, 149/244 (61.1%) in Kafin Madaki, 80/183 (43.7%) in Gongoro, 175/270 (64.8%) in Dass, 126/243 (50.8%) in Kutaru and 173/288 (60.1%) in Toro. ND also received the highest pair wise ranking scores of all the listed diseases of 3/4 in Dass, 4/5 in Chinade, Gongoro and Toro respectively; 5/6 in Jalam and Udubo and 6/7 in Kafin Madaki. ND which locally was known as Farin Kashi or Mai kere occurs between November and February with symptoms of snick/rales, greenish/ whitish diarrhoea and mortality in the neighbourhood. The results identified ND and predation as the major constraints to village chickens production with ND being ranked as the most important disease affecting village chickens in Bauchi State. The study recommends the prioritization of ND by Bauchi State Government and other Non-Governmental Organization for the purpose of disease control.
Key words: Newcastle disease, Nigeria, village chickens, focus group discussion, proportional piling exercise, pair wise ranking.