Keeping birds in tip top condition, whether for breeding purposes or to ensure maximum performance in the field is always going to be a challenge. There are many nutritional, environmental and parasitic challenges that they face on a daily basis, however the damage that parasitic worms can do is an area that is probably under estimated.

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As hens come into lay it is vital to implement a proactive worming strategy to ensure that they are of optimum health to provide the best quality eggs and poults. Whether you intend to buy in eggs or poults, or hatch your own chicks this forthcoming season, ensuring that hens are free of worms supports optimal hatchability and productivity[1].

Overwintered hens can carry a worm burden into the next season. When these hens are caught up ahead of laying, their stocking density increases and consequentially their parasitic challenge also rises. Without implementing a strategic worming plan, this can impact hens’ ability to fight other diseases as worm infestations can suppress their immune systems[2].

 

In addition to a proactive worming strategy, it is key to remember that worm eggs or larvae can be brought onto the premises via staff clothing, footwear, feed bags, wild birds, litter and many more, so practicing good hygiene and biosecurity can help control the worm challenge. Studies have found that all estates across the country are infected with worms, with young birds being particularly susceptible[3]. Therefore, it is important to ensure that laying and rearing pens are set up on clean ground and equipment is disinfected before use, as this will reduce the immediate risk of exposure to high worm burdens in the pen.

 

Gapeworms are arguably the most important worm species to control in gamebirds, as it is well known that they are one of the biggest challenges to pheasants and partridge. Not only do gapeworms negatively impact hatchability and productivity1, but as with all worm infestations also reduce a bird’s ability to fight disease.

Gapeworms are a major cause of respiratory infections and mortality in pheasants and partridges. These worms inhabit the lungs and windpipes of birds, causing them to ‘gape’ or ‘snick’ while struggling to breathe. Flubenvet™ is the only wormer that is effective against all life stages (including eggs, larvae and adults) of gapeworms, and all other major worm species[4]. Immature, fast-developing gapeworms are particularly susceptible to Flubenvet’s mode of action. Once ingested by birds, it takes 21 days for gapeworm eggs to reappear in the birds’ faeces (the prepatent period), hence it is important to repeat Flubenvet treatments every 3 weeks (e.g. week 3, week 7 and week 11 of rearing).

 

In-water worming treatments have the benefit of being able to be administered quickly and reactively should disease be seen. However, they also have disadvantages which can impact on how successfully birds are treated. For example, water quality can be inconsistent in release pens and may impact the performance of medication administered. Other water sources are often available (such as puddles and streams) which may reduce the volume of water drunk by the birds, and thus the volume of wormer taken in. Therefore, using Flubenvet in your birds’ feed will allow you to be assured that your birds are getting their full worming treatment.

 

For further information, please contact Sportsman Game Feeds or visit myelanco.co.uk/pub/worming-game-birds.

Jeremy Marsh

Flubenvet Strategic Account Manager

 

Flubenvet 5% w/w Premix for Medicated Feeding Stuff contains 50 mg/g flubendazole. Legal Category POM-VPS. Birds must not be slaughtered for human consumption during treatment. Chickens, turkeys, geese, partridges and pheasants: Withdrawal period: Meat: 7 days Chickens eggs: zero days. To be supplied only on prescription. Advice on the use of Flubenvet or alternative medicines must be sought from the medicine prescriber. Use medicines responsibly www.noah.co.uk/responsble. Elanco UK AH Limited, Form 2, Bartley Way, Bartley Wood Business Park, Hook RG27 9XA. Telephone: 01256 353131. Email: elancouk@elanco.com. Flubenvet, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates. ©2021 Elanco or its affiliates. Date of preparation: 09/2021. PM-UK-21-0844.

 

[1] Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, 2003. Pheasant Parasites [online]. Fordingbridge: GWCT. Available from: https://www.gwct.org.uk/research/species/birds/common-pheasant/pheasant-parasites/.

[2] Madden, JR. et al., 2018. Why do many pheasants released in the UK die, and how can we best reduce their natural mortality? European Journal of Wildlife Research, 64(40), 1-13.

 

[3] Draycott, RA. et al., 2000. Spring survey of the parasite Heterakis gallinarum in wild-living pheasants in Britain. Veterinary Record, 147, 245-246.

 

[4] Flubenvet SPC