Village chickens improve rural farmers’ nutritional and income status. Nonetheless, chicken productivity is chiefly hampered by gastro-intestinal parasites and there is dearth of information on the prevalence of these parasites in village chickens in South Africa. Point prevalent study was, therefore, conducted in two villages of Centane district to determine the prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites in village chickens. Seventy households were randomly selected for compound sampling of fresh faecal samples of chickens. Modified quantitative McMaster technique was used for examination of nematode and cestode eggs, and coccidial oocysts. Qualitative sedimentation technique was used to detect trematode eggs. About 99% of the chickens were infested with various gastro-intestinal parasites.Hetarakis gallinarum was the most prevalent (25.72% Qolora by-sea and 27.14% Nontshinga) together with coccidia (41.43% Qolora by-sea and 25.71% Nontshinga village). Trematodes and cestodes were the least prevalent. Prevalence of parasites varied between villages (P < 0.05); most parasites were prevalent in Nontshinga village. Generally gastro-intestinal parasites were prevalent in village chickens of Centane district. Sustainable ways of controlling these parasites need to be designed for improved village chicken production and ultimately rural livelihoods. Further studies on period prevalence of gastro-intestinal parasites in chickens in South Africa need to be conducted.
Key words: Parasites, prevalence, rural, village chickens.
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