Berbice poultry deathsIn light of the climbing number of reports of chicken deaths due to a mysterious illness, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority has said it is working with farmers on East Bank Berbice to “assess the situation” of the poultry deaths. This comes one day after the farmers reported that their birds were dying of a mysterious illness and that Ministry of Agriculture had offered “no advice” to them.On Monday, GLDA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Dr Dwight Walrond was quoted by the Government Information Agency as saying that the samples, which were taken from the premises of one large-scale farmer are in the process of being sent to the University of Georgia, which is one of the reference laboratories that GLDA utilises for further testing of samples.Several dead chickens in Berbice, as seen in June“We want to test for a wide array of diseases. Based on clinical signs there are two different manifestations taking place, that’s why we are using the University of Georgia to test for four to six diseases. The University of Georgia is a reference laboratory. Sending the samples to Georgia is the best course of action since it would give us a good idea of what’s happening on East Bank Berbice,” Walrond related.In reference to published reports over the chicken deaths in various sections of the media, the DCEO observed that there are differences in the poultry death reports.“The signs and symptoms are different, one transpired during the rainy season and the other just started,” Walrond told GINA.“The DCEO said that the location of the broiler farmer which was visited by a team from the GLDA interviewed the farmer and looked at his husbandry practices. The team concluded that there is a need for guidance in the area of farm management,” the GINA release stated.“On Tuesday, our head of extension will be in the Region Six trying to develop the best package for the farmers in terms of delivery of extension services. The team, including one staff from epidemiology, will be working along with staff and farmers in the region to collect whatever data we would have missed in the initial investigation, and to bring further relief to farmers,” observed the GLDA official.“The GLDA has acknowledged the reports, but remains steadfast in its findings that it is too early to declare an outbreak of poultry diseases since the cases investigated are dissimilar and affect different breeds,” the entity noted.It was also on Monday that this publication pointed out that several farmers who rear bantams or ‘Creole’ fowls reported that many of their birds had died of an unknown illness. The disease was said to be also affecting Muscovy ducks.Farmer Vanessa Sampson of De Kinderen had noted that she lost 70 per cent of her birds due to the illness. According to the woman, Sunday morning she discovered that fifteen birds had become ill overnight. They later died.Another farmer Indira Nauth revealed that the symptoms were detected about one month ago. She had explained that most birds die a few days after becoming ill.It was two weeks ago that an East Bank Berbice poultry farmer first reported that a mysterious disease had killed hundreds of his birds. He had told Guyana Times that when the disease first hit his pen he had 1300 birds, now he is left with 70.The farmer stressed that he had received no assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture, however after a Guyana Times report, he had received correspondence from senior officials of the Agriculture Ministry.Before then, the farmer said that his brother had visited the Agriculture Ministry to seek assistance but officials were reportedly unavailable.This allegation was strongly denied by Permanent Secretary George Jervis.When contacted, the PS had also pointed out that personnel from the Ministry will soon visit the farm and assess the situation.Previously, reports had surfaced of a similar occurrence where a farmer at Linden in Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) claimed that 300 birds had died from a mysterious disease at his Linden farm.