Shooting Season is almost upon us

We are nearing the start of the shooting season and on reflection, the rearing season was good for the birds (not so good for the vets, where half the drugs are still on the shelf!). Nice and dry, but not too hot meant that the birds got nice clean pens to arrive into. A little blip in the weather saw a spike in Cocci cases, but nothing too drastic.

The annual start of season visits give us a chance to have a look around various set ups. We try to pick up any useful tips or tricks and transfer knowledge around gamekeepers. The main comment I would make across every unit is to try and give the birds as much space as possible. Disease pressure mounts as the birds increase in size and make the ground muddier as the season progresses, but larger pen sizes spreads the diseases, reducing the disease pressure.

As I write this the rain is coming down and has been for the past few days. As such there have been a few more calls from gamekeepers. Hexamita seems to be the most common complaint, with Cocci a close second. These diseases are closely associated with bad weather as they thrive in muddy areas and will take the opportunity to infect birds that have been checked by poorer conditions. The rain will splash the bugs onto the food and into the drinkers, spreading the disease very quickly. If problems do start to arise, a dry disinfectant powder, such as Stalosan, would be sensible. Moving the drinkers and feeders around ensures that one area doesn't get too contaminated.

With regards to Hexamita, prevention is far better than cure as there is no drug that directly treats the protozoa; when we put the birds on antibiotics this is to treat secondary infections.