A cross sectional study was conducted to assess major causes of chicken mortality and associated risk factors from November 2013 to May 2014 in Bahir Dar Zuria District, Ethiopia. One hundred respondents were selected using simple random sampling technique. Data collected using questionnaire survey and from laboratory investigation of parasites were analyzed using STATA version 11. Among all respondents, 63 and 37% of the respondent used extensive/backyard and small-scale intensive poultry production systems, respectively. All respondents provided housing for their chicken under small-scale intensive system, while 96.8% provided housing under extensive production system. All small-scale intensive producers and 88.8% of extensive producers practiced house cleaning practices. About 56 and 5% of the respondents provided water as free accesses in small scale intensive and extensive production systems, respectively. Provision of commercial feed was practiced only by small scale intensive poultry producers. Presence of diseases, feed shortage, predators and bad weather condition/extreme weather condition/ were identified as the major causes of chicken mortality. Among diseases Newcastle diseases, Infectious bursal diseases and coccidiosis were cited in their order of importance. Among 69 fecal samples collected 44 (69.84%) were positive for nematodes, cestode and protozoal parasites. High mortality rates were recorded in both production systems. A 50% under extensive and 36% under small-scale intensive production systems, poultry producers dispose dead birds due to different diseases by throwing elsewhere near the farm/backyard area. Among all respondents, 24% vaccinated their chicken, whereas 76% did not practice vaccination to common diseases. Thus, poultry improvement program in the area should focus on minimizing and ultimately avoiding constraints of poultry sector to see the required performance at the expected level.
Key words: Chicken mortality, production systems and management practices.
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