Stunted chicks under investigation

27-10-2006 | | |

Results of an investigation into the cause of mysterious growth stunting in chicks in Guyana are expected soon, according to Guyana officials and dealers.

Poultry farmers in West Berbice and other parts of the country have been left with four-week-old chicks the size of two-week-old ones – and with no apparent cause.
A poultry industry representative in the affected area said he was almost certain that the problem was not related to a nutritional deficiency in the feeds.
The West Berbice source said he had seen cases in recent weeks where farmers had responded to the stunted growth of their chickens by giving them various nutritional supplements.
“If it was merely a case of nutritional deficiency in the feed, the supplements would have corrected the problem. But even after ingesting these supplemental doses, or receiving them by injections, the birds showed little or no progress. In short, they gained a lot of feathers but no weight,” he said.
He feels the problem may be related to the supply of eggs from which the birds were hatched.
If this was the case, he added, it would not simply be a matter of them being bad eggs in the normal sense since bad eggs don’t generally hatch.
But it could be more of a problem of regression within the genetic structure of the egg itself, leading to the failure of the chicks to grow after hatching, he offered.
Guyana’s Agriculture Ministry said it has sought assistance from overseas agencies to test specimens of poultry to determine the cause, while a large poultry company had brought in a veterinarian from Miami in the US to help.
Results of the investigation are expected soon.

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