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The 5 most asked questions about Coronavirus and the Game Bird industry from a veterinary perspective

Dr Kenny Nutting BVetMed MRCVS

Well, hasn’t our world changed slightly since last month! Whilst there may be several sites that have taken the decision from a financial risk point of view to cancel their season, there are still many continuing and looking to the other side of this current crisis.

So below are 5 things that I get asked on a daily basis and my thoughts as they stand today (30/3/20)

  • Is there enough feed for my birds?

I have spoken the all of the major feed mills and they have all assured me they have plenty of feed in stock and that there are currently no restrictions of feed freight from abroad.

  • Are there any concerns regarding importation of chicks and eggs?

Currently there are no restrictions of eggs or chicks currently in place (correct as of 30.03.2020).

  • Are the vets allowed out to see my birds if they become ill?

Thankfully, for animal welfare and food safety/production we are classed as essential workers so our visits can continue with relative ease. Of course appropriate precautions are being taken and limitations on face-to-face contact is required, but this allows for plenty of contact time with the birds as and when needed.

  • Are there any shortages of medications?

Fortunately medicines are allowed through border closures and as a practice, we always plan to store enough for the season ahead so are well stocked and prepared.

  • And the ultimate question is…should we shoot this season?

This is the million dollar question as they say – and in true veterinary fashion, “the answer depends”. I think we are probably a little early on in this to really understand the true effects of COVID-19. What’s true is we must look past the crisis and look to how each of our businesses, setting human health to the side for a moment, can survive for our staff and our estates and farms. For many, the shooting season is a lifeline for estates and individuals. Whilst the current government package is in place, at some point it will cease, and we have to ask ourselves what do we do when that point comes?

I’m sure in the next 2-3 weeks’ time we will be much better equipped with the facts and have a better understanding of what the rest of the year has to offer.

All I can say is we are here to support you and will continue to do so, and St David’s wishes you, your employees and families well in the coming weeks and months ahead.



Written for Guns on Pegs. Published 31.03.2020