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Study finds lasers prevent the spread of avian influenza virus
The system works by projecting a green laser across areas where wild birds aggregate. The birds see the laser as a physical threat and flee the area.

System greatly reduces appearances of migrating waterfowl on poultry farms.

Research from Wageningen University in the Netherlands has shown that lasers are an effective method of deterring migrating waterfowl from appearing on poultry farms.

Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR), part of Wageningen University, had previously discovered a group of mallards that were frequenting a free-range poultry farm from November to February, increasing the exposure to avian influenza for chickens on the farm.

Armin Elbers, project leader of the study and epidemiologist at WBVR, explains: “Several mallards came to visit the range between sunset and sunrise daily. They look for food and swim in puddles of water that are formed during the winter period by abundant rainfall in the range.

“While swimming in the puddles, the ducks may defecate. During the day, the chickens drink the same water, as we saw in the video camera images. In the cold winter period, the bird flu virus can survive in such water for a long time.”

In winter 2019 – 2020, WBVR worked in collaboration with the university to investigate whether a laser bird deterrent system could be used to keep wild birds away from domestic animals, therefore reducing the spread of avian influenza.

The system, developed by Bird Control Group, works by projecting a green laser across areas where wild birds aggregate. The birds see the laser as a physical threat and flee the area.

For the study, the laser bird deterrent system was set up on a six metre high pole in the farm's 1.5 hectare free-range area. It was activated between 5.00pm, and 10.00am every day for one month. Eight video cameras where also installed in the area to record wild bird visits.

The results showed that, when the laser was in use, a 99.7 per cent wild duck reduction rate was recorded. There was also a reduction in visits from other wild birds in the free-range area during sunrise and 10 am.

Dr Elbers concluded: “In this study, we confirm the high efficacy of using lasers to reduce the daily number of wild bird visits to the free-range area of a layer farm situated in an AIV-hotspot area.

“Given this high efficacy, the application of these lasers becomes a viable alternative for the prevention of introduction of avian influenza infections in poultry.”

Images (c) Bird Control Group.

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Webinar to focus on equine worm control

News Story 1
 Vets, veterinary nurses and RAMAs are being invited to join a free CPD webinar on late winter and early spring equine worm control.

Hosted by Zoetis vet Dr Wendy Talbot, the webinar aims to help prescribers understand which parasites are of most concern at this time of year. It will also cover how to assess parasite risk, selecting a suitable wormer and spring wormer plans, concluding with a Q&A session.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 18 March at 10 am and will be repeated at 7 pm for those unable to listen during the day. To book the 10 am webinar, click here, and to register for the 7 pm webinar, click here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.