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Season Update on Game Bird Diseases

St Davids 110 x 80

August 2017

Helen Errington BVMS Cert SHP MRCVS, St David's Game Bird Services

We have been in contact with various game meat dealers who are experiencing financial difficulties and problems marketing game meat. We as an industry need to think of better ways of promoting the low fat content and potential 'healthy status' of game meat. Packaging is also something that is being looked at with breast fillets possibly being more palatable to some buyers than whole carcases. Gamekeepers also have to consider the trade-off between high flying lighter birds and carcass quality and re-sale value with heavier strains of pheasant.

The particularly hot weather we are experiencing this Summer has meant that we have seen instances of birds jumping into drinkers to cool down and then chicks shivering under heat lamps as the temperature suddenly cools back down. In some areas we have had differences of 15 degrees plus between days! As always weather stress can have a large part to play in disease induction with birds generally coping well with low levels of disease until the added stress of chilling, soaking or overheating.

There have been confirmed cases of salmonella this season, as well as coccidiosis and currently there are cases of mycoplasma around. Some of these cases of mycoplasma are unresponsive to routine antibiotic therapies and The British Veterinary Poultry Association have received funding from NGO and GFA to investigate cases further and sequence the DNA.

Fig 1

Foamy eye discharge due to Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection

A few cases of rotavirus in young chicks have also been seen. Hexamita, as always, is prevalent and quick treatment is the key to controlling the disease accompanied by good bio-security and trying to maintain good gut health in the birds by using products such as Ultimate Acid and Coccillin Plus.

Fig 2


Fig 3

Stunting and unevenness of poults post rotavirus infection

We have discovered that mixing Ultimate Acid and Coccillin Plus works well between cocci treatments or over bitting. Ultimate Acid is working well in general and can be mixed with most other products but please contact your vet before mixing drugs and serious precipitation effects can occur when some drugs are mixed. These drugs are effective -especially on well managed farms!!

Fig 4

Coccilin Plus


Fig 5

Ultimate Acid

The overall quality of chicks has been okay and we haven't seen too many chick issues at present. Motile protozoa is being seen in young birds around the age of two weeks which is younger than we would expect.

For more information on St David's Game Bird Services visit