Chickens are Mdukatshani's biggest focus and biggest success. We work with over 20 farmer groups and 400 farmers, mostly rural women. The main focus is a vaccination programme against Newcastle disease. but we also look at other diseases to manage, treat or vaccinate,eggs, feeding, nutrition and sales.

 

Our Newcastle vaccination system with Village chickens

give the carrier of the vaccine (your staff member) a stainless steel vaccum flask (R100 a the shop) when they take the vaccine from the fridge they put it in the flask and add ice cubes – this cold chain should last 8 hours on a normal hot day

The most important part is to maintain a cold chain till you mix the vaccine with water. This means keeping it in a fridge (not a freezer) till you go into the field,  then keeping it cold till you add it to the water, the only way we have been able to is by equipping each field worker with a stainless steel thermos flask (100-200 rand at camping shops) the day they are to vaccinate they put one vaccine dose and 5 -6 pieces of ice in the flask and keep it closed till they mix it.

We work with groups of 20 farmers mainly women so as to share ideas and energy but mainly to share a vaccine 'pill' that has a 1000 doses

Each farmer comes to the meeting with a bottle of water this is poured in a communal drum

We put a pill opened underwater in the drum each farmers takes 2 or so litres for their 20 odd chickens

They starve the chickens of water by locking them up the day before they then give them this water which they drink and are vaccinated.

There are some golden rules we have learnt over time that practitioners have to be mindful off.

Don't use a metal container at any stage of this process either in the mixing -taking home or giving to the chickens

Preparing the water-- if you don't have sterile water (we never have) apply these rules

The water if its chlorinated needs to stand in an open container  for an hour for the chlorine to evaporate --then whether chlorinated or river water or whatever put in half a cup of skim milk this stabilises the water and boosts the vaccine.

The containers the farmers transport the water to their chickens in must not be see-through as the sun destroys the vaccine. so if they are see-through cover with a cloth or the like.

We have advised to apply a maximum time window of 4 hours after the vaccine is mixed to be drunk by the chickens on a mildly heat tolerant vaccine called 'NDclone'

ND Lesotha can also be applied to eyes of chicks and chickens if mixed with 30ml sterile water and a drop per eye (one eye per chicken) Bottled water works as sterile water, we have avoided this as chasing village chickens to aply eye drops is hard work and often ends in being bitten by the local dogs.

We work on a monthly or bi monthly vaccination schedule in our area depending on the density of the chicken population and how close homes are to each other.