The January 2017 implementation of Veterinary Feed Directive regulations administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) brought changes for livestock farmers including gamebird producers.

Among the changes, VFD-designated drugs could no longer be used for enhanced growth or feed efficiency, or purchased over the counter.

Besides changing the way many drugs are used, the new rules also require veterinarians to issue VFDs within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Veterinarians are required to follow state-defined VCPR requirements. In states where the FDA determines that no appropriate VCPR requirements exist, veterinarians must follow federal guidelines.

In general, key elements of a VCPR include that the veterinarian engage with the client (producer) to assume responsibility for making clinical judgments about patient (gamebird) health, have sufficient knowledge of the patient by virtue of examination and/or visits to the farm, and provide necessary follow-up evaluation or care.

Connecting with a veterinarian familiar with gamebirds may seem like an intimidating prospect, but it’s worth the effort—especially if done in advance.

“Don’t wait for a crisis to figure out how VFD regulations affect your farm, or try to find a vet who can help you,” warns NAGA President and longtime gamebird producer Fuzzy Stock. “Build that relationship ahead of time.”

Dr. Jill Nezworski of Blue House Veterinary in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, agrees. “If you take the time to find a veterinarian you can work with, and establish the VCPR ahead of time, you can often get medicine for your birds the same day you call in,” she says. “If not, you’re scrambling trying to get someone who’s knowledgeable enough to help you out to the farm in time to save your birds.”

Nezworski, who specializes in poultry, advises careful research when selecting a vet. “A veterinarian who knows poultry is going to be more effective helping you than someone who’s not,” she says. “Finding them can take time, but it’s worth it. Phone calls, Google searches and visits with other producers are part of the process. Medication suppliers are also good sources of information, since they’re familiar with veterinarians writing scripts for their products.”

Once a veterinarian is located, establishing a relationship is relatively straightforward. “Most states require a minimum of one site visit per year,” she says. “Other interactions can be done on the phone or via email.” As a result, veterinarians need not be located a few miles down the road to be of assistance. “Many vets are licensed in multiple states and serve wide areas,” she says. “I work with clients in Kansas, for example.”

That being said, Nezworski still advocates for thorough site visits. “Being on the farm is extremely helpful,” she says. “An experienced veterinarian can help with so many aspects of poultry and gamebird production, from biosecurity and effective water sanitation to the types of disinfectants you’re using. Here, too, is where having someone familiar with the industry can provide producers extra value.”

Note: To aid customers in connecting with avian veterinarians, NAGA Sponsor Member Metzer Farms has collected the names of many avian vets in the U.S. and Canada. To view that list, CLICK HERE.


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Join NAGA President Peg Ballou for this important broadcast on ways to discourage waterfowl and other birds from congregating on your farm or club. Your participation is requested with ideas on products, procedures and plans to share with other industry members. ... See MoreSee Less

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Websites that hold this kind of product are not endorsed or necessarily recommended, but the content is here to help you find products that may help deter nondesired birds from remaining around your area. Birdsbgone Laserbird Wildgoosechase Birdbarrier Agrilaser.

Additionally, I mentioned spikes on your posts, owl or swan decoys to deter birds congregating around pens. The swan decoys float in the pond and the incoming ducks and geese stay away. Apparently Swans don't play well with others. Huh, who knew?

And a better one of the metal spinner.

This is the tape I mentioned. Kinda like a mylar bag sliced into strips.

Hey, gang, I am attaching some pictures that wouldn't show on the livestream. This is one of the metal spinners I was talking about.

My problem is starlings and sparrows coming through the 2” net

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