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GWCT – Game 2019

Find out what went on when members of the William Powell Sporting and JM Osborne & Co team travelled to the GWCT’s Allerton Project

On April 5th members of the William Powell Sporting and JM Osborne & Co team travelled to the GWCT’s Allerton Project based at Loddington in Leicestershire. The purpose of our visit was to attend the GWCT’s “Game 2019” where topics such as Brexit, trapping and pheasant releasing research were discussed. External guest speakers including Polly Davies from Elanco, Tim Furbank from Oakbank and Tom Adams from the BGA also gave informative talks.

Polly Davies, a specialist in Parasitology in poultry and game birds presented a talk on poultry disease and offered some valuable tips for shoot managers, release pen management was discussed a length, being a key issue for gamekeepers with high stocking densities increasing the likelihood of disease spreading in the pen. Polly explained that during its life cycle, a parasite will lay thousands of egg.  When birds are sparsely populated in the wild, they lay as many eggs as possible to increase the chance of a bird ingesting an egg. Therefore, when birds are reared and released into a pen, the stocking density is significantly higher than in any wild situation,but with the parasites in the pen producing exactly the same amount of eggs as in the wild, this can lead to the rapid spread of parasites as there are many host birds available.

Polly set out how there are many ways to manage disease, and specifically mange parasites. The most obvious of these management techniques is to treat with medication. This is an effective way of controlling disease, care must be taken to use the correct medicines and dosages for the disease at hand.  Polly’s advice here was to always seek professional advice before medicating.Polly also shared some good non-treatment tips for managing disease control. These were:

  • Pasture management in pens;
  • Moving feeders regularly;
  • Biosecurity (visitors must be clear of any disease from elsewhere);
  • Corvid control (corvids being the main hosts of worms);
  • Plan to protect (poults should arrive wormed etc.);
  • Minimise stress on the birds;
  • If treatment is used it must be approved poultry medicine and withdrawal periods must be adhered to.

The conference also benefited from an insightful talk from Tim Furbank from Oakbank who discussed multipurpose game covers. Tim highlighted how to maximise food and cover for game and other farmland bird species within the same crop. Tim described how food and cover for our birds can be combined into one crop that can also be claimed under various stewardship options.

The benefits of multipurpose cover crops include:

  • Food and cover for game and farmland birds;
  • All year round food;
  • Increased insect population;
  • Increased stewardship income;
  • Soil improvement.

Our colleagues at JM Osborne & Co. work with Oakbank on numerous Estates around the country in their capacity as Shoot Managers.Their combined expertise proves to be a formidable force in maximising the potential of shoots throughout the UK.

Tom Adams of the British Game Alliance was the last of the guest speakers. Tom succinctly detailed what the BGA is all about and is working so hard to achieve. He explained the main objectives of the BGA;

  1. Increasing the commercial value of game as a product and;
  2. Self-regulation of the shooting industry.

With 60% of shot game currently being exported to Europe, finding new markets for game meat post Brexit is essential. This, and many other things, is what the BGA are focusing on whilst also looking to improve the wider public understanding of game meat.

William Powell Sporting are proud sponsors of the BGA, and if you would like to discuss this, or any other matter raised in this news update, please do not hesitate in contacting us on 01295 661033. 

Our latest availability is also list here.


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