North Devon Egg Producer Benefits from Diagnostic Testing Project
Ian Waldron is an egg producer with a flock of free range hens near South Molton. The Diagnostics Project delivered by the Layers and Game Bird Initiative has helped him create a more effective health plan.
Earlier this spring Ian Waldron began to notice a drop in egg count from his flock of 10,000 laying hens. There appeared to be no obvious symptoms of illness and Ian was unable to establish what was behind the decline. Luckily for him his vet, Stuart Young was able to put him in touch with funding for diagnostic tests through the South West Layers and Game Bird Initiative.
The project provides part-funded tests for Infectious Bronchitis M41; Infectious Bronchitis D274; Infectious Bronchitis 793B; Infectious Bronchitis 755-03 / Italian 02; Infectious Bronchitis QX/D388; Avian Rhinotracheitis (TRT/ART); Mycoplasma Gallisepticum (MG); and Mycoplasma Synoviae (MS). Stuart tested Ian's flock for each of these, giving him much more detailed information about the possible cause of the egg drop. His results showed incidence of Mycoplasma and Infectious Bronchitis. Based on these findings the vet initially prescribed treatment for the bronchitis, however no improvement in egg count was noticed and the vet indicated a further treatment for Mycoplasma. At this stage Ian noticed a sudden recovery of egg production.
Mycoplasma is an environmental bacterium and may have been causing susceptibility in the birds to viral infections like Bronchitis. As a result of this analysis Ian has been able to revaluate his health plan with the aid of his vet and has made some changes to build resistance to Mycoplasma in his flocks going forward. One of the biggest changes Ian is planning to make is buying pullets pre-vaccinated for Mycoplasma. Ian said: "Other benefits of the project include building a relationship of understanding with my vet; I now feel that I can ask him more of the right sort of questions because the project gave me information and training in health planning for my flock and how to interpret the diagnostic results."
If you would like to benefit from this project in the same way Ian has more information about the diagnostics project, including registration forms is available here.