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Antibiotic Reduction in Game Birds

St David’s Position on Including Antibiotics in Game Feed 

We would like to inform you of the position of St David’s Game Bird Services with relation to the inclusion of products such as Aurofac, Denagard and Tylan in feed for game birds.

You will no doubt have read in the press over the last few years that there is concern over the increase in antibiotic resistance in people. Although this has been partially related to over-prescribing of medicines by the medical sector to some extent, the veterinary profession has been investigated and more recently, the game bird sector.

The decision has been taken to reduce and eventually remove routine use of antibiotics from feed for game birds for preventive reasons by the industry. This is called prophylactic administration, whereby we are using antibiotics in the feed to prevent an issue in a release pen.
Several businesses have already taken the decision to not produce a script for antibiotics in feed in any circumstance. It is our opinion that a more measured approach is required and we have set out the following guidelines:

  1. Antibiotics in feed cannot be prescribed as a routine to prevent disease situations occurring (i.e. because we feel it is a good idea!).
  2. Antibiotics can be used where a veterinarian has visited the site and set up an ongoing health plan in a structured approach to reduce the use of medication over a period of time.
  3. The advice may include a robust worming programme, use of non-antibiotic products in feed and water to help support gut health, as well as suggestions on improving the environment of the pen or other management practices, such as optimal transfer of birds from the game farm.

St David’s Vets have been pursuing a three year project investigating non-antibiotic alternatives both in feed and in water and have created a unit called Applied Bacterial Control (ABC) which can offer cost effective solutions to help us through this next hurdle.

Just to clarify the position further, the guidelines do not relate to the use of worming products or to the use of antibiotics in water if required as we are still allowed to treat the birds to safeguard health and welfare.
If you normally use antibiotics in feed and are intending to ask your feed company or St David’s Vet for a script for this year, then we urge you to contact your nominated vet responsible for your shoot in plenty of time to ease any stress.

Click here to read the report on the Joint Communication on Best Practice Procedure for Prescribing Antibiotics in Gamebirds. The report has been approved by every one of the veterinary practices listed and by the BVA, BVPA, GFA, GFTA, NGO and RUMA. 

Please contact St David’s Game Bird Services to discuss this further or to clarify any concerns that you might have.