William Powell Country

Disease Outbreak in Pheasants and Partridges

Rural Matters

Article written by 30 August 2012

With this year being such a terribly wet year and disease found in nearly every corner of the Country, many people are unsure of what action to take when they see their birds are unwell.

There are many diseases which affect game birds and identifying the right one quickly is the key to making sure your losses are kept to a minimum.

Noticing that the birds are unwell is really the easy bit, they look sad, feathers look dull, their whole movement is slow, eyes maybe swollen and they may be making a “snicking” noise, but getting the RIGHT medication is key to minimising your loses.

1. In the area were the birds are unwell, find a Poult which has very recently died and take it immediately to a specialist avian vets for a post-mortem. The faster you act at this stage the lower your loses will be. If you have not had one which has died yet, you can catch a live bird which looks unwell and take that.

2. The vet will advise you on the best course of action and supply the correct medication to cure the disease which is present in the post mortem bird. All birds have Coccidosis in their system and this is the virus which allows other viruses into the body, which in turn can be fatal.

3. Set up bio security on every pen. The easiest way for disease to spread is via you and your vehicles.

This means you should have disinfectant foot baths by every pen and dip your boots as you enter and leave the pen every time. It sounds awfully tedious but it is a lot cheaper than losing a lot of diseased birds.

Wash off vehicles with disinfectant after tending to the birds in the affected area before driving to pens which are free from infection.

Continue to carry out these actions until your birds are looking well again.

4. If the problem does not get better in a couple of days, do not be afraid to contact your vet again. This may seem costly, but on the other hand if you lose 30% or more of your pen to disease, this will be even more costly.


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