Well, the rearing season is well and truly here. Unfortunately, the beginning of the season has been full of problems. The wet and wild May into June, with temperatures going up and down sporadically, has certainly put the birds under a lot of stress and at Larkmead we’ve seen multiple cases of Coccidiosis and Spironucleus (Hexamita), particularly in young birds. There has also been cases of Bulgy Eye (Mycoplasma sp.) in laying hens and also in some young poults of around 5 weeks old, which is quite unusual. A terrible case of rotavirus with high losses has also proved very difficult to get under control.
With various diseases showing themselves this year, I would reiterate the importance of biosecurity and cleanliness. Around all drinkers and feeders, where there is high foot fall of birds, there will be high levels of moisture from droppings and spillage. This area should be cleaned out regularly and fresh shavings put back in, with products like Stalosan dry powder disinfectant used to absorb as much moisture as possible. Drinkers should be emptied outside of the brooder and if they have become spoiled, should be disinfected. The same principles apply in pens of older birds. Move drinkers and feeders around so that the ground does not become too wet and contaminated, these areas are the key in the spread of disease. Between each brooder wear a fresh pair of gloves or wash your hands, and dip your boots in disinfectants such as Virkon.
Going forward be on the lookout for Hexamita, Coccidiosis and, because of the warm and wet year, Gapeworm.
Have a good season and see you at your early season visit!
For any new shoots referred to us, both the referring shoot and the new client will receive a free set of in house Post Mortems in the season.