PREPARATION FOR THE BREEEDING SEASON

By Dr Colin Walker  BSc, BVSc, MRCVS, MACVSc (Avian health)

Parasite control

Roundworm & Hairworm
Preferred products are Moxidectin: 2mg/ml, 5ml/1L for 24 hours
Ivomec: many strengths, ensure dose delivers 10mg of active constituent to each litre of water eg Ivomec 0.8g/1L =13mls/1L
Moxidectin is more effective against hairworm. Ensure loft is particularly thoroughly cleaned after treatment to minimise chance of re-infection. These medications also kill any external parasites that feed off body fluids. They therefore kill all mites including airsac mites.

Lice
Dip or spray all birds in a synthetic pyrethroid eg Permethrin.

Tapeworms
Preferred products contain praziquantel as the active ingredient eg Prazivet 5ml/1L or 1/4ml to each bird. Remember tapeworms are carried by insects. Cleaning and spraying with an insecticide eg Permethrin onto the scraped surfaces and into the nooks and crannies will decrease the chance or re-infection.
It is a good idea to spray the nest boxes with Permethrin prior to pairing to decrease later problems with red mite, mosquitoes and pigeon flies.Coccidia
If coccidia has been a loft problem the birds can be treated with Baycox 1ml/2L for 48 hours.

Canker
There is no benefit in treating for canker prior to breeding unless more than 10% of youngsters had canker in the previous breeding season, or there have been significant numbers of new breeding birds introduced shortly prior to pairing. Best time to treat if needed is not prior to pairing but prior to hatching. Preferred product is Turbosole 3g(1teaspoon)/2L for 3-5days. Emtril is not appropriate to use during breeding as it interferes with sperm production in the cocks leading to clear eggs and the increased water intake of feeding birds can lead to toxic levels of the drug being ingested.

Chlamydia
Chlamydia in the breeding season causes late and irregular laying, dead in-shell embryos and weak youngsters that die soon after hatching. If these problems were experienced during the previous breeding season and were diagnosed as being due to chlamydia the birds can be treated prior to pairing with doxycycline for 7-20 days. Preferred product is Doxyvet 3g(1teaspoon)/2L. Please note that most dead-in-shell youngsters are due to either poor incubation by the parents or problems with temperature and humidity within the nest box.

Do note 1. The ongoing need for provision of palatable calcium supplements both before and during breeding .
2. Regular probiotics eg Probac 1tsp/4L, 1 or 2 days per week will decrease bowel disease and lead to more robust young being weaned.

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