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Some poultry farmers in Mansa district, capital of north Zambia’s Luapula Province, have bemoaned the loss of business due to a mysterious disease that has ravaged hundreds of chicks in the district, Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) reported on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the affected poultry farmers, Alfred Kaluba told ZANIS that chickens worth over 2,000 U.S. dollars have so far died of the mysterious bird disease.

Kaluba claimed that the disease has caused the highest mortality rate ever experienced in chickens in the district, ZANIS said.

Kaluba said the disease is suspected to have been caused by the Hybrid hatchery in Kitwe after immature eggs were hatched, a claim Hybrid refuted but placed blame on feedstock from Tiger Animal Feeds.

He said an official from Tiger Animal Feeds in Lusaka dismissed the claims and instead placed blame on the Hybrid hatchery, a situation which has made it difficult for the local poultry dealers to claim compensation for the loss suffered.

“What we have gathered from these counter accusations by the two firms, it might be questionable feedstock or hastily hatched eggs so as to meet huge demand before the festive period. If so it is indeed a bad and unprofessional conduct from a business point of view,” Kaluba was quoted.

Kaluba said the bird disease has also affected some parts of the Copperbelt province.

He has since appealed to government through relevant ministries to intervene and help establish the cause of the mysterious bird disease before the situation worsens.