RODENTS AT POULTRY SHED: biosecurity and economy pests
January 07, 2013
Dr. TARIQ JAMIL, D.V.M., Phil (Scholar) Microbiology, UVAS Lahore
Rodents’ proliferation is a common problem at rural poultry farms especially at open houses and in the feed storage rooms. They are notorious to waste the poultry and livestock feed and for annoying animals at rural poultry farms. Feeding mostly on fruits and grains, these mammals have two incisors at upper and lower jaw for gnawing.
These mammals have high proliferation rate as they litter 6-7 times a year having 7-8 youngs per litter and reach sexual maturity in a short period of time i.e. 3-4 months and have very short gestation period of almost 4 weeks. Mice have even shorter gestation period of 17-18 days.
Rats and mice cause major economic loss due to feed consumption, equipment damage and annoying birds. Damaging electric wires may result in fire and damage to the feed bags results in wastage of the feed. Rats eat 10-20 kg feed per year/rat and mice eat 1-1.5 kg feed per year/mouse. As major farm expenses fall under the heading of feed, rodent proliferation can cause heavy economical losses if not controlled. Feed prices are also increasing day by day in the country due to recent disasters and electricity crises so it becomes crucial to control rodent proliferation at the poultry or livestock farm.
They also spread many diseases thus compromising the issue of biosecurity at farm house e.g. Mareks Disease, Salmonellosis, Pasteurella and Leptospirosis. They also bring biological contamination of other farms as they go for in search of food from farm to farm.
There are many indicators of rodent population load at poultry house:
- Visual Observance: Rodents can be seen often running in the walls after a long calm especially at night. However their visual absence does not indicate that the farm is free from them.
- Rodent Sounds: Sounds produced during scratching, running and gnawing in groups can be heard easily by standing quietly at the farm or the storage room.
- Fecal Droppings: Fresh dropping is a good indicator of rodent infestation. Presence of moist and black pallets at feeding sites is highly indicative of their proliferation.
- Running Trails and Run Marks: Rodents mostly use a same path over a time for long periods. A cleaner, wavy track is formed due to their toe imprints ant tail movements as they run across. These trails and run marks can be seen in storage rooms and in field tracts seldom used.
- Gnawing and Feeding Remains: Rodents gnaw wooden pads and feed bags. Chewed particles are good indicative of rodent proliferation.
- Nests and Burrows: Rodents usually live in burrows that may have more than one entrance. Their burrows are usually found in the ground at the base of the buildings, trees and pavements in the field. Nests are usually found under the floors and inside the hollow shelters. Burrows and nests are good for determining current infestation of the rodents at farms.
Prevention of Rodent proliferation:
Rodent proliferation can be prevented by proper garbage handling and separating out edible wastes from non-edible garbage. Dispose edible garbage in drums and do not dispose in open. Other practices include the followings:
- Burrows Destruction: Destroy all the nests and harborages where found in the near-by fields, trees and building bases. Proper grass trimming and decreasing the availability of water around buildings are good measures to prevent rodent proliferation.
- Sealing Holes: Rodents are also prevented by sealing holes in feed storage and mixing rooms. The drains and pipes should be screened with sieves. Concrete floors are also helpful for rodent prevention.
- Door Guards: At the entrance of the farm cemented guard of 2 feet height from the ground with an outside curve is built in order to void rodent climbing and approach in the farm. This is a good practice to avoid entrance of rodents.
Control of Rodents at Farm House:
- Snap Traps: Commonly known as “Kurakki” is a good controlling tool at our rural level. Placing a piece of buttered bread on it is helpful for attracting rodents. These must be placed in darker places of rodent runways. This must not be placed above the nest of the rodent rather should be placed at a distance of 1-2 meters of the entrance. More than one mouse traps placed at 2-4 meters interval are more beneficial. Mouse traps should be used time to time for proper control.
- Glue Boards: Placingglue in the centre of a card-board and keeping it along the rodent runway tracks is also an effective method to control rodent population. They stick and hold the rodents on them and can be then disposed off properly. However, sometimes, other organisms such as lizards, frogs etc. also get stick to these boards. Glue boars are also ineffective where dust is common.
- Rodenticides: These are mainly anticoagulants or acute poisons that result in internal bleeding and hence death. These may be multi dose or single dose and include warfarin, bromadiolone, zinc sulphate and cholecalciferol. However these chemicals should be used with precautionary measures.