Farmers admitting I-2 ND Vaccine to a chicken. It is the only intervention that protects chicken from Newcastle disease. Photo: galvmed.org
Kenyan poultry farmers are set to benefit from I-2 ND Vaccine that will see Newcastle Disease attacking their poultry wiped out thanks to Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
According to KALRO Newcastle Disease is a major constraint to indigenous chicken productivity in Kenya and often causes 80- 100% mortality in unvaccinated flocks.
“Outbreaks of Newcastle disease (ND) are unpredictable in many parts of the country and often discourage farmers from investing in the management and welfare of rural chicken,” said Vincent Ochieng assistant Research officer, KALRO.
In many cases, vaccination against ND is the only intervention that protects chicken from Newcastle disease.
Commercially available vaccines for the control of ND are effective but require a cold chain during storage and transportation to end users. As such they are not suitable for small, multi-aged, scattered free ranging chicken in rural areas where cold chains are rarely available or difficult to maintain.
“Commercial vaccines are ideal for large flocks and are packaged in large doses making them unsuitable for farmers with smaller flocks,” said Ochieng.
Rural production systems have not been conducive for vaccination since they are viewed as low input systems often controlled by women who may not have access to services for various reasons.
Most of the 30 million birds reared in Kenya are free range indigenous chicken whose potential in poverty alleviation is unexploited.
A market ready chicken is currently sold at about Ks. 1,000 and their demand especially in urban markets is increasingly competing with broilers.
Disease control through vaccination has the potential to improve their productivity thus increasing their supply to the market.
The search for a vaccine appropriate for the Kenyan indigenous chicken production system, which is easy to distribute and administer in a rural set-up was thus envisioned.
The thermostable vaccine is best administered via an eye drop. The I-2 vaccine can retain its protective ability for 8 weeks at 28°C when in freeze-dried form and stored in the dark.
Results from trials in Kenya have shown that I-2 ND vaccine provides 62% protection against Newcastle disease virus in chicken under a free ranging system and over 96 % protection under a confined system.