A study to investigate the intensity of ectoparasites and gastro-intestinal tract worms of chickens in winter and summer was conducted in Ward 28 of Murehwa District in Zimbabwe. Sixty chickens given to local farmers to rear under the free-range system were examined for parasites; 30 in summer of 2009 and the other 30 in winter of 2010. In both seasons, ectoparasites collected were Argas persicus, Echidnophaga gallinacea, Dermanyssus gallinae and Cnemidocoptes mutans. The intensities of A. persicus (t= 2.54, p= 0.012) and E. gallinacea (t= 4.146, p= 0.000) were significantly higher in summer. There was no significant difference in seasonal intensity of D. gallinae (t= 0.631, p= 0.532) and C. mutans (t= 0.024, p= 0.978). The intensity of the nematode, Ascaridia galli (t= 3.889, p= 0.001) and the cestode, Choataenia infundibulum(t= 3.286, p= 0.004) were significantly higher in summer. There were no significant differences in the intensities of Allodapa suctoria (t= 0.031, p= 0.971), Heterakis gallinarum (t= 1.176, p= 0.248), Capillaria obsignata (t= 0.141, p= 0.890), Tetrameres americana (t= 0.514, p= 0.603), Hymenolepis spp. (t= 0.770, p= 0.464) and Amoebotaenia cuneata (t= 0.569, p= 0.579). Chickens were generally parasitised in Murehwa District. There is need to intensify parasite prevention and control, but more specifically, the control of A. persicus, E. gallinacea, A. galli and C. infundibulum in summer.
Key words: Ectoparasite, gastro-intestinal tract worm, free range system, poultry, prevalence.
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