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1.  Predictors of death and production performance of layer chickens in opened and sealed pens in a tropical savannah environment 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10(1):214.
Background
Layer chickens are exposed to high risks of production losses and mortality with impact on farm profitability. The harsh tropical climate and severe disease outbreaks, poor biosecurity, sub-minimal vaccination and treatment protocols, poor management practices, poor chick quality, feed-associated causes, and unintended accidents oftentimes aggravate mortality and negatively affect egg production. The objectives of this study were to estimate the probability of survival and evaluate risk factors for death under different intensive housing conditions in a tropical climate, and to assess the production performance in the housing systems.
Results
Daily mean mortality percentages and egg production figures were significantly lower and higher in the sealed pens and open houses (P < 0. 001) respectively. The total mean feed consumption/bird/day was similar for the open sided and sealed pens but the mean feed quantity per egg produce was significantly lower in the sealed pens ((P < 0.005). Seasons differently impacted on mortality with the hot-dry season producing significantly higher risk of mortality (61 times) and reduced egg production. Other parameters also differed except the egg production during the cold-dry season. Layers in sealed pens appear to have higher probability of survival and the Kaplan-Meir survival curves differed for each pen; ≥78 weeks old layer have higher probability of survival compared with the younger chickens and the 19–38 weeks age category are at highest risk of death (P < 0.001). The hazard-ratio for mortality of layers raised in sealed pens was 0.568 (56.8%).
Conclusion
Reasons for spiked mortality in layer chickens may not always be associated with disease. Hot-dry climatic environment is associated with heat stress, waning immunity and inefficient feed usage and increase probability of death with reduced egg production; usage of environmentally controlled building in conditions where environmental temperature may rise significantly above 25°C will reduce this impact. Since younger birds (19–38 weeks) are at higher risk of death due to stress of coming into production, management changes and diseases, critical implementation of protocols that will reduce death at this precarious period becomes mandatory. Whether older chickens’ better protection from death is associated with many prophylactic and metaphylactic regimen of medications/vaccination will need further investigation.
doi:10.1186/s12917-014-0214-7
PMCID: PMC4173064  PMID: 25212591
Tropical climate; Egg production; Mortality; Survival modeling
2.  Sub-clinical mastitis and associated risk factors on lactating cows in the Savannah Region of Nigeria 
Background
Sub-clinical mastitis limits milk production and represents an important barrier to profitable livestock economics worldwide. Milk production from cows in Nigeria is not at optimum levels in view of many factors including sub-clinical mastitis.
Results
The overall herd-level prevalence rate for SCM was 85.33% (256/300 heads of cows) while the quarter-level prevalence rate of SCM was 43.25% (519/1,200 quarters). The prevalence of SCM was 50.67%, 43.67%, 39.67% and 39.13% for the left fore-quarter, right hind-quarter, left hind-quarter and right fore-quarter, respectively. The Rahaji breed had the highest prevalence of SCM with 65.91% (29/44), while the White Fulani breed had the least with 32.39% (57/176). A total of 32.33% (97/300) had only one mammary quarter affected, 30.33% (91/300) had two quarters affected, 16.00% (48/300) had three quarters affected while 6.67% (20/300) had all the four quarters affected. A total of 53.00% had SCM in multiple quarters (159/300). The risk of SCM decreased significantly among young lactating cows compared to older animals (OR = 0.283; P < 0.001; 95%CI = 0.155; 0.516). The Rahaji breed had significantly higher risk compared with the White Fulani breed (OR = 8.205; P = 0.013; 95% CI = 1.557; 43.226). Improved sanitation (washing hands before milking) will decrease the risk of SCM (OR = 0.173; P = 0.003; 95% CI = 0.054; 0.554).
Conclusion
SCM is prevalent among lactating cows in the Nigerian Savannah; and this is associated with both animal characteristics (age, breed and individual milk quarters) and milking practices (hand washing).Good knowledge of the environment and careful management of the identified risk factors with improved sanitation should assist farm managers and veterinarians in implementing preventative programmes to reduce the incidence of SCM.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-134
PMCID: PMC3477040  PMID: 22894639
Risk factors; Sub-clinical mastitis; Cattle; Nigeria

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