Poultry conference shows how to reduce antibiotic use

Poultry producers are under increasing pressure to reduce antibiotic use – and an international conference in Birmingham is set to show them how.

“Poultry farmers are being pushed to reduce antibiotic usage, and yet they are still expected to produce high welfare, healthy birds in a very short time and at very low cost,” says Richard Turner, partner at St David’s Poultry Team, which is organising the event. “That is extremely difficult to do, and requires a very holistic approach to farm management. We are bringing together five experts in the field of antibiotic use, from across the globe, to help take the UK industry forward.”

Richard Ducatelle, Professor of Veterinary Pathology at Ghent University, Belgium, will be explaining the interaction of microbes in the gut, while Colin Hill, Professor of Microbial Food Safety at the University of Cork, Ireland, will reveal research into natural solutions to bacterial infections.

Dr Stephen Collett, Clinical Professor at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Centre, University of Georgia, US, founded the Seed, Weed and Feed principle to reduce antibiotic use in poultry, and will explain how to put it into practice on farm. And Dr Linnea Newman, Technical Director of Poultry at Merck, US, will show how farmers in the US are removing coccidiostats from feed without a negative impact on gut health.

“Although there is no evidence of resistance to coccidiostats, and they are not used in humans, there is still this pressure to reduce their use,” says Mr Turner. “If you just stop using them then gut health will collapse, so you need to find other ways to prop it up. We need to be having grown-up conversations throughout the supply chain about antibiotic use, to avoid knee-jerk reactions that will be seriously detrimental to animal health.”

However, planned correctly and with the right support, farmers can produce commercial chickens without routine antibiotics or coccidiostats, as Luiz Demattê, Director at Korin Agropecuária Ltd, Brazil, will explain. “This conference takes us through from the science and theory into the on-farm practice,” says Mr Turner. “Antibiotic use is an incredibly important issue and we will be welcoming leading supermarkets, processors and farmers to join the discussion to see how we can take the issue ahead.”

  • St Davidʼs 2016 Poultry Conference Antibiotic Reduction: The Next Step – will be held on 16th March at the National Motorcycle Museum, NCC, Birmingham. For more information or to book tickets, call 01392 872932 or email [email protected]. Media are welcome to attend – please register with St David’s Poultry Team on 01392 872932.

Editor’s Notes

St David’s Poultry Team Ltd is one of the UK’s largest poultry practices, run by a team of dedicated poultry vets and staff to offer the highest standard of poultry care throughout the industry.

Our Head Office near Exeter in Devon covers England and Wales, with further branches in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. We supply services to commercial egg laying companies, the broiler industry, broiler breeder companies, hatcheries and game bird enterprises.

The aim of our business is to provide a complete veterinary service with a “hands on” approach to meet all the requirements of today’s modern farming practices.

Our specialised team of veterinary surgeons are led by Directors Richard Turner, Alan Beynon and Richard Jackson in Exeter alongside Ben Crisp, with Margaret Hardy, Greg Koulianos and Carlos Bilello in Northern Ireland; Conor Sheehy and Rebecca McAllister in Limerick; Barry Thorp and Jan Dixon in Scotland; Suzy Ackerley in Shropshire; Kenny Nutting in Salisbury; Helen Errington in Cumbria and Catriona Gaudie in Northallerton, Yorkshire. The veterinary team are supported by our Field Service staff, Office team and Dispensary staff.

We are happy to help with any enquiries from the media. For more information please contact Olivia Cooper on 01392 840009 or email [email protected].