Worms a threat to game birds as temperatures rise

23-06-2011 | | |

This year’s dry spring and fluctuating temperatures have brought their own problems for farmers and livestock producers and with a potentially tough year ahead it might seem tempting to cut a few costs.

But one area where it doesn’t pay to economise is in the regular worming of game birds, advises Janssen Animal Health.
Although worm eggs can be destroyed by desiccation in warm, dry environments, game producers should be aware that the warm weather can actually encourage development of worm eggs into the infectious stages, particularly when they are lodged in nooks and crannies that retain humidity. Worms can be an all year round problem but are most frequently seen in spring and summer as temperatures rise and this year’s potential early start may actually have increased the risks.

Game farmer, Chris Elcock of Elcock Game, who still treats his birds at 4 and 6-7 weeks of age before selling to the various shoots around the north of England commented, “In my experience, warm dry weather like we are having at the moment, doesn’t reduce the threat from worms or gapeworms in particular. I find that partridge are particularly prone to gape worm infection around 5-6 weeks of age and if you don’t treat them the consequences can be devastating. It’s worth making sure your bought in birds have been treated because you really don’t want to be contaminating your rearing areas with worm eggs.”

The prepatent period for gapeworm – the time for the parasite to complete its lifecycle in the bird – is around 18-20 days. This means that even after treatment, birds can have adult worms present and be shedding eggs into the environment in  less than 3 weeks, so it also important to treat regularly prior to release. A third dose is usually recommended at around 11-12 weeks of age.

Source: Janssen Animal Health

More about