Protect your laying hens this spring.

Despite the challenges that we have all faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, plans can now turn to the forthcoming season, with the hope that shooting will go ahead. 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, ensuring that hens are free of worms supports optimal hatchability and productivity1. 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 systems2.

Studies have found that all estates across the country are infected with worms, with young birds being particularly susceptible3. 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. As soon as laying stock are brought in, hens should then be treated with wormer to control their parasitic challenge. Flubenvet™ is the only licensed gamebird wormer that is active against all life stages of all major worm species4.

Pheasant breeding pens on a private shooting estate.

Gapeworms (Syngamus trachea) are arguably the most important worm species to control in gamebirds, as they 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 species4. 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 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. Furthermore, if weather conditions are wet, then it’s likely that birds will seek water from puddles instead of drinkers. 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 your feed merchant, vet or visit myelanco.co.uk/pub/worming-game-birds.

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 http://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: 02/2021. PM-UK-21-0213

References

  1. Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (2003). Pheasant Parasites [online]. Available at: http://www.gwct.org.uk/research/species/birds/common-pheasant/pheasant-parasites/ [24 Feb 21].
  2. Madden, J.R., Hall, A. and Whiteside, M.A. (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), pp.1-13.
  3. Draycott, R.A., Parish, D.M., Woodburn, M.I. and Carroll, J.P. (2000). Spring survey of the parasite Heterakis gallinarum in wild-living pheasants in Britain. Veterinary Record, 147, pp.245-246.
  4. Flubenvet SPC

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