As birds are released and clients begin to reflect on the season, our team have been working closely with clients to review cleaning and disinfecting programmes as well as management protocols through the Pen Scoring Initiative, mentioned in last month’s article, to help them to identify areas for improvement from this season and into the next.
During these reviews, we often speak with clients regarding training requirements and how we can best help them to upskill staff and improve the overall handling and management of their birds throughout the season. Since the introduction of the British Game Alliance (BGA) Audits, training requirements for gamekeepers have increased, and following this we have been working to create a gamekeeper training programme to support our clients.
Our new gamekeeper training courses are based on learning objectives that have been devised by the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA) in collaboration with other game sector organisations and game vets, including members of the St David’s Game Bird Services team. These learning objectives can be interpreted by different game vet practices, to create and deliver their own training courses, that meet the key objectives that have been decided by the BVPA panel. The St David’s courses, which will be ready to launch to both clients and non-clients in the early Autumn, will be delivered in three key modules: Breeding Flocks and Hatchery Management, Game Bird Rearing – from day old to release and Release to Shoot. These modules can be completed either on an individual basis, or as a three-part course, which gives attendees the flexibility to attend the courses that will be most beneficial to them based on their day-to-day role on site.
Each module will cover the key aspects of bird health, management, and equipment throughout each phase of the bird’s life and in relation to the different stages of hatch, rear and release as well as covering key debates and industry topics. Delivered by St David’s Game bird vets, the courses will be a mix of presentations and Q&A sessions and will be taking place across the country at multiple locations throughout the October.
In line with the BGA audits, the courses are aimed at preparing game sites of all sizes and types to be equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of game bird management to support them through the audit process.
Discussing the new gamekeeper training courses and their importance for the industry, St David’s Game Bird vet, Charlotte Norman said, ‘As the industry strives towards the overall goal of self-regulation and looks to align itself with other food producing industries, it’s important to us as vets that we are able to effectively support our clients and provide them with the knowledge and skillset required to protect and improve the overall health, welfare and environment of the birds in our care. Through these courses the aim is to support clients to be able to pass the BGA Assurance Scheme audits, and to be better equipped to identify health issues at the earliest opportunity so as we can improve intervention and the overall health and performance of the birds ensuring a successful season.’
For more information on the Gamekeeper Training Courses, or to register your interest for an upcoming course, you can contact St David’s Game Bird Services by calling 01392 872932 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org