Christmas Opening hours

Another year has whizzed past and Christmas is nearly upon. We wanted to make you aware of our opening hours over the Christmas and New Year period, so you are able to plan accordingly.

Christmas Eve: 08.30 – 15.00

Christmas Day: Practices Closed (On call vet available)

Boxing Day: Practices Closed (On call vet available)

28th December: Practices Closed (On call vet available)

29th December: 08.30 – 17.30

30th December: 08.30 – 17.30

New Year’s Eves: 08.30 – 17.00

New Year’s Day: Practices Closed (On call vet available)

4th January: Normal hours resume

If you have any queries regarding this information, please contact your practice.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


May 2020 Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is online full of useful information about the latest covid-19 update, preparing for heat stress, our newest team member, Holly Kneeshaw, plus important account and delivery changes. You can also find details of free online content that we would have been presenting at this years PHS Game Roadshow, which has sadly had to be cancelled due to the current lock down. This includes 2 presentations: An update containing news about recent political changes, the BGA, Mycoplasma and a presentation about preventing diseases often seen in chicks & poults.

Read more 

Covid-19 Update

The current situation is rapidly changing, and we will keep you updated with any changes as they occur via social media, so please like or follow our pages to keep up-to-date.

We would like to reassure all our clients that the steps that we have taken are to protect your health, your business and the health of our employees. The actions taken will have no detrimental effect to our ability to carry out visits, post-mortems, testing or supply of vaccines/medication.

In order to continue business as normal whilst protecting everyone as much as can we will need to ask that you work with us to ensure the following.

If you require medication/vaccines

Please ring in advance and place the order.  This will allow us time to prepare the goods for collection to minimise the time spent in the practice.

Where possible we would prefer to send these orders to you direct (post will be charged at cost price).

  • Please place orders as early in the week (vaccines and supplements) as possible to allow plenty of time for delivery

If you require PM

Please contact the practice in advanced as soon as possible in the day.  The administration team will allocate a Vet to contact you to discuss the best course of action which maybe a visit rather than coming to the practice

Until further notice ‘open’ PM times will cease and we would urge you to get any birds for PM to our practices as early in the day as possible

If you require a visit

Please contact the practice as soon as possible in the day.  The administration team will allocate a Vet to contact you to arrange an appropriate time

If you are self-isolating or at risk

Please do not attend the practice and call your local office letting the administration team know.  We will then take appropriate steps with yourself and the Vet to ensure all parties are as safe as possible whilst we deal with any issues you have with your animals

If you need to visit the practice

If you are requiring a PM please drop the birds in the bins provided

If you wish to wait for the results of the PM please, where possible return to your vehicle

Please, if entering the building use sanitisers provided

What PHS is doing

Vaccines and medication

Although we have been told that there are no supply issues of vaccines and medications in the UK there is a slight risk that delivery drivers will be affect as such we are holding and will continue to hold approx. 3 months of stock in practice


In most cases only one Vet will be in the practice and a skeleton administration team at any one time.  All other team members will be remotely working carrying out visits/working from home.  We are hoping that by limiting contact between colleagues we will help prevent the spread of the virus if we are unfortunate enough to have employees infected.  As our practices are geographically based some distance from each other we have banned face to face contact with other practices and those working from home will be required to self-isolate during working hours

A rigorous cleaning schedule has been drawn up to ensure all ‘multi touch area’s’ are cleaned 3 times a day.  This is in addition to the normal daily cleaning that is carried out


Other than employees and clients we will not allow visits to the practice from students, pharmaceutical companies etc

All training programmes have been cancelled for the foreseeable future

No travel unless visiting clients


PHS are abiding by the Government guidelines and will self-isolate if show any symptoms of the virus or have been in close contact with someone with the virus

Should an employee show any symptoms of the virus and go into self-isolation any clients that have been in physical contact with this person will be contacted

Please subscribe to our newsletter for ongoing communication in relation to this crisis by adding your email address to the Stay Updated section.

Together we can continue to drive your business whilst protecting us all and we thank you in advance for your assistance during this unprecedent difficult time.

January 2020 Newsletter

Happy New Year to all our clients. Are you ready for 2020!

Read how we can help you set focused and attainable short and long term goal for your business. How you can work with your vet on veterinary health and welfare plans to make an achievable plan to improve bird performance.

Updated information about our Sutton Bonington practice and more . . .

December Newsletter

Our December newsletter contains important information regarding vaccine orders during the Christmas period and our Christmas opening hours. You’ll also find details about Salmonella sampling over the New Year holiday, so please give it a read to make sure you aren’t caught short.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Read More

September Newsletter

This month find out more about our vet intern, Natalia Furman, and one of our poultry administrators, Sam. We’ve also got a great BOGOF deal on PROBIO, one of our best selling products as an alternative to antibiotics.

You can also read about our broiler and layer accredited courses and water testing, plus what Brexit means for vaccines and medicines supply.

Read More

Veterinary Internship in Poultry Medicine & Production

A leading poultry health internship in an innovative practice. PHS offers internationally acclaimed veterinary care for all poultry keepers backed by a full range of diagnostic capabilities.

To read more about the internship offered click here.

If you have any queries about the internship please feel free to email us:

July 2019 Newsletter

In our July roundup we discuss the correct disposal medicine packaging, red mite control, heat stress and introduce you to Meaka Williams.

Read More

May 2019 Newsletter

In this months newsletter you can read about the benefits of Multivit Extra and find out about our testing submission forms which have just been updated, click here to view forms. Also find details about our popular broiler and layer accredited courses.

Click here for the full newsletter

April 2019 Newsletter

This month’s newsletter has details about the opening of our new practice in Shrewsbury, and our award winning vet of the month Helena Brewer, who recently won the prestigious Cliff Stewart prize for the best poultry practitioner paper. You may also be interested to read about our flat fee health plans visits and a free water test at the lab!

You’ll also find details about changes to Salmonella testing, our broiler passport accredited online course and a Brexit update.

Click here to read more

February Newsletter

This months newsletter has details about ‘Farming Connect- Wales’, feather pecking, use of B-Act Probiotic for prevention of leg problem in broiler farms, Lion Passport online training courses, free range producers discussion groups and the use of diatomaceous earth products in Lion Code farms.

Also find out more about our vet of the month Catarina Guerreiro.

Click here to read the full newsletter

Game Bird Veterinary Roadshow 2019

We welcome you to join PHS for a review of the 2018 season. We will be discussing how to reduce veterinary costs and look at new opportunities and ways to prepare for the 2019 season.

A light supper will be provided. Please call 0115 951 6551 or email to book your place.

To find out more about these FREE to attend events click here

January Newsletter

We are now a team of 16 Poultry Vets and 2 Poultry Veterinary Consultants covering the whole of the UK 24/7, 365 days a year. This ensures that you have a local poultry vet available when needed and also sees that costs are kept to a minimum as the vets don’t have to travel long distances. We also offer “fixed fees” packages to include all your routine testing, vaccines and veterinary health programmes so that you can budget through the year and enjoy fixed prices for 12 months. We do not charge extra for Out of Hours and week end emergency work, where we need to go to farms or perform post-mortems or lab tests.

Read More

Christmas Opening Hours and Delivery Dates

The offices will be open normal hours except the 25th and 26th December and 1st January, when the offices will be closed. As always there will be a duty poultry vet available and they will be contactable on your local branch number.

Salmonella sampling over the New Year holiday
Royal Mail will not deliver samples to our Edinburgh lab on Wednesday 2nd January 2019 (a public holiday in Scotland).  The last delivery in 2018 will be on Monday 31st December and the first delivery in 2019 will be on Thursday 3rd January.

Plan your sampling and posting dates to ensure your samples can be delivered within the 4 day testing limit. If you think this will not be possible, please contact us in advance so we can arrange a courier service.

Vaccine Orders during Christmas
Please ensure that any vaccine orders required during the festive period are placed by Wednesday 12th December. This ensures guaranteed delivery before the festive period.

TNT Christmas & New Year Delivery Schedule

Collection on Friday 21st December for delivery by Monday 24th December.

Collection on Monday 24th December for delivery by Friday 28th December.

Collection on Thursday 27th December for delivery by Friday 28th December.

Collection on Friday 28th December for delivery by Monday 31st December.

Collection on Monday 31st December for delivery by Thursday 3rd January.

Collection on Wednesday 2nd January for delivery by Thursday 3rd January.


DEFRA Avian Flu Update

Poultry farmers and pet bird keepers urged to prepare for winter Avian Flu threat

The Chief Veterinary Officers across the UK are encouraging all poultry keepers to take action now to reduce the risk of disease over the winter.

Since June 2017, there have been no detections of avian influenza in poultry or kept birds in the UK and the UK has retained its OIE country freedom status since September 2017.

There are some simple measures that all bird keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few birds in their back garden or rearing game birds, should take to protect their animals against the threat of avian influenza in the coming winter months. These include:

• Keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly disinfect any hard surfaces. Clean footwear before and after visits.
• Place birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly.
• Put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl.
• Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species
• For poultry keepers in England, Wales and Scotland, sign up to a free APHA service to receive text or email alerts to any outbreaks of bird flu in the UK. In Northern Ireland, all bird keepers are encouraged to subscribe to a free text alert service by simply texting ‘BIRDS’ to 67300.

These measures are particularly important if you are in or close to one of the GB Higher Risk Areas. You can check whether or not you are in a Higher Risk Area by using our interactive maps.

A joint statement by all four of the Chief Veterinary Officers in the UK today said:

“Avian flu continues to circulate in many parts of the world and with the colder months soon upon us the risk of disease from migrating birds is increasing. It is critical that all keepers of poultry, including game birds and pet birds, act now to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their flocks.
“Good biosecurity should be maintained at all times, including regularly cleaning and disinfecting the area where you keep birds and separating them from wild birds wherever possible.

“Keepers should also ensure they register on the Great Britain Poultry Register and we are pleased that new forms are now in place to simplify this process. Keepers in Northern Ireland must register their birds on the DAERA Bird Register. This can now be completed and submitted on-line”

All bird keepers across Great Britain should also register their birds on the Great Britain Poultry Register (GBPR). If you have 50 or more birds, this is a legal requirement, although keepers with fewer than 50 birds are also strongly encouraged to register. New simplified and user-friendly forms will speed up the process this year.

In Northern Ireland it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to register every bird on the DAERA Bird Register, other than pet birds kept in the owner’s home.

Registering your birds means the government can contact you in the case of an outbreak and provide information on the steps to take to limit the chances of your birds getting the disease.

Last winter, the H5N6 HPAI strain of bird flu was only detected in wild birds and there were no outbreaks in domestic birds, either in commercial or small holdings. Although there have been no findings in the UK since June 2018 the virus is still circulating in wild birds in North Europe (including Denmark and Germany) and has caused outbreaks in poultry. In addition, the H5N8 HPAI virus continues to circulate in Eastern Europe, highlighting the need to stay vigilant.

The Government continues to monitor for incursions of avian flu and is working with the poultry and game bird industries; hen rehoming and pure and traditional poultry breeds stakeholders to help prevent incursions.

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately in:
England by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301,
Wales, contact 0300 303 8268.
Scotland by contacting your local Field Services Office
Northern Ireland by calling on the DAERA Helpline 0300 2007840
Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77) or in Northern Ireland, on the DAERA Helpline 0300 2007840.

PROHEALTH – Sustainable pig & poultry production

PROHEALTH aims at improving competitiveness and sustainability of modern pig and poultry farming in Europe.

Production diseases compromise health and welfare of pigs and poultry, generating inefficiencies which reduce profitability and product quality, and increase environmental footprint and antibiotic use.

The PROHEALTH project will develop an understanding of the multi-factorial dimension of animal pathologies linked to the intensification of production and use this to develop, evaluate and disseminate effective control strategies to reduce impact.

PHS have been a part of this EU funded product which is culminating in the PROHEALTH Industry Workshops and Scientific Symposium, taking place in Ghent, Belgium on 27th & 28th November.

Sarah Perez will be speaking at the symposium on the development of new biosecurity protocols in poultry farms.

To view the full programme click here

To find out more about the project, click here

Salmonella sampling over the New Year holidays

All Salmonella testing is now carried out at the Edinburgh lab.

We wanted to make all our clients aware that that Tuesday, 2 January 2019 is a public holiday in Scotland.  Whilst the lab will be processing samples, Royal Mail does not deliver north of the border on that day.

The last delivery to the lab in 2018 will be on Monday, 31 December and the first delivery in 2019 will be on Thursday, 3 January.  You will need to take this into account when planning sampling and sending.

If this makes time-frames tight/difficult, we can help arrange a courier to ensure delivery within time if you call our Sheriff Hutton practice on 0134 782 0366.  For your information, testing must start within 4 days of sampling to be valid for compliance, so it is essential to bear this public holiday in mind.

Environmental Enrichment Overview

After years as a poultry practitioner, I have witnessed a gradual shift in the way intensive farming is understood. Concepts like welfare, biosecurity and environmental enrichment have moved from the scientific papers, to the day-to-day routine on every farm.

Some of these changes have been driven by consumer demand, by farm assurance scheme requirements and by legislation. However, some change has come from farmers own motivation and increased awareness.

I would like to think that we are on a journey away from the “desensitized” animal production system and leading to a place where improving the quality of life for stock in a meaningful way is as important as our attempts to improve performance.

To achieve this, we need to implement the welfare ideal portrayed by the concept of the Five Freedoms at a deeper level:


We can see how all of them interlink to each other in a basal way and the aim of this exercise is not prioritizing one over the others in any way. However, for the scope of this article, we are going to focus on what “Freedom to express normal behaviour” entails and how it relates to the idea of “enrichment” in a general way. This is potentially the more abstract and complex freedom on its contents but essential in the thought process of realizing how important the bird’s “perception” of its quality of life is and how this is linked to its ability to fulfil normal behaviour.

In successive articles, we will explain how the different species of production animals can benefit from it in their daily lives.

In part, this concept lends itself to assessment of the environment, and what is present within it, to allow the birds to express a range of positive behaviours. Where behaviours or opportunities might be seen as lacking, the environment may need to be “enriched”, to allow a greater behavioural repertoire, consistent with a better quality of life (and a move towards a “Good Life”).

Our starting point is always going to be the same for each one of them: understanding poultry species at their most basic level.

We might have domesticated, selected and bred a bird through the years to produce an individual that can cope with life in captivity, tolerate humans and is full of genetic capabilities that we are exploring for production benefits. However, we cannot move away from the reality that we are working with an animal with a brain motivated to follow a complex “hard-wired” pattern of behaviours expressed through a daily routine.

For example, by observing a jungle fowl (our chicken predecessor) in the wild over 24 hours, we will see the bird expressing certain behaviours and getting involved a series of activities. A domestic hen returned to “feral” conditions will display the majority of these behaviours too!

This reinforces the fact that there are behaviours that are “hardwired”; not taught or learned. Research has found that hens are highly motivated to perform certain activities to the extent of them being regarded as welfare needs. This means that depriving birds from the opportunity to perform these behaviours may have marked welfare consequences, such as frustration and abnormal behaviour patterns.

The way to organize and describe this group of expected behavioural traits in any given species is called an Ethogram. If we collate all that data into a pie chart it might resemble something like this:

Each slice of the pie represents the proportion of time an animal spends performing each behaviour. The bigger the slice, the more time a bird spends performing that activity and the more important that activity may be regarded to be.

How might the Ethogram relate to environmental enrichment?

If we critically compare the wild and farm environments we can see that farmed birds are certainly provided with food (which is nutritionally balanced but perhaps lacking in variety), water and shelter but, more often than not, they live in a relatively confined space with a large group of other similarly sexed or aged birds

Owing to group size, the opportunity for socially interacting socially in a constructive manner is probably reduced and their ability to establish a suitable hierarchy is definitely more challenging.

Suddenly, with all this information in our hands, some of the differences between the time “budgets” of wild and farmed animals become apparent.  Our birds have fulfilled their basic needs in a fraction of the time and may occupy the “spare” time with whatever resources are at their disposal. This might include the appearance of undesirable/abnormal behaviours that not only have an economic impact for the owner but a component of frustration for the bird that we should be able to address.

To help us understand the areas where management techniques can have an impact on the animal wellbeing, Bloom-Smith et al (1991) provided a categorization of the different enrichment types:

–              Social Enrichment: Such as frequent walks and human interaction (remembering birds will equally appreciate solitude when performing some activities such as laying)

–              Occupational enrichment: Such as adding ramps, bales, balls, hanging objects

–              Physical Enrichment: Such as changing the layout within the house

–              Sensory Enrichment: Such as music, smells, different bedding

–              Nutritional Enrichment: Such as alfalfa, oyster shell, meal worms

Nowadays, the construction of modern poultry houses encompasses not only the physical welfare needs of our birds but also provides some of the necessary enrichment to fulfil their “other” emotional/mental needs (i.e. complexity of a multi-tier frame in layer production, perching in broiler houses, pecking objects in turkey houses… etc). Additional enrichment methods will have a cost, and it is possible that some of our efforts to mimic the wild bird’s ethogram will have unanticipated negative effects (e.g. Dawn-dusk dimming may lead to smothers; feeding on the floor to encourage foraging may promote disease and/or unevenness).

However, given the persistent presence of undesirable behaviours among farmed animals, there is an intuitive consensus that perhaps more needs to be done.

We are gradually learning where it is worth putting our effort, time and resources to synchronize our productivity needs to their specific physiological and behavioural needs even more for maximum performance.

Outwardly, occupational enrichment appears easy and appealing.  Most people can relate to the enriching and pleasurable effects of “toys” from childhood but, it is important to bear in mind that this is not a simple exercise of adding up “furniture”.

The widespread usage of random objects in the house (such as CD’s or balls) as a pecking distraction adds up a risk of fear reaction to the novel object too. 

Just remember we are dealing with a prey species. Fear in nature will be linked to avoidance and ultimately to survival, but in farmed animals is linked to stress and this, ultimately, to imbalance, disease and poor performance.

It is possible for us to teach birds coping strategies though, by using targeted enrichment efforts early in life. This means involving all the stages of production when the model includes more than one; rearing-laying or brooding- grow out.

Birds will benefit from early socialization and exposure to novel stimuli. This will help them become more tolerant to changes in their environment later in life and the fear responses will be reduced.

Simplistically, utilisation of this kind of enrichment needs to be assessed as there is an element of futility if we fail to see what the animal requires.

If interacting with the “toy” is not rewarding or suitably constructed and does not obviously have a parallel in the ethogram, the birds often rapidly lose interest in the object.  At such a point, it is no longer enriching but is merely occupying space and should be removed or replaced.

Other common efforts seen include the social enrichment where free range birds are mixed in some areas with other species. Whilst it poses a risk of disease, it is worth mentioning however, that some producers have used other species – such as Alpacas – to improve ranging behaviour in hens.  This may be by reducing fear reaction in birds to the risk of predators. Owing to the large size of this Alpacas, foxes for example do not venture in the range.

There are also opportunities for sensory/nutritional enrichment, but this can be a slow process of trial and error to find what works for each species. Further progress may well require collaborative efforts between industry, academia and appropriately motivated investors to help drive the research and provide the evidence for different types of enrichment in a commercial setting.

We could even go further by saying that sometimes adding something new is not necessary, but reassessing what it is already in the house and optimizing its use could equally be successful in accommodating the birds’ requirement for a specific need (such as more appealing substrate within the nest boxes, different lighting, different means of administration for grit or oyster shell, different material for perches, etc)

It might be my point of view, but I think that there is a tangible positive impact from working with the bird and adopting a holistic approach into its well-being.

There could be a long debate into how much of what we do on farms is really perceived by the bird and what “happy” means to a bird; however, what cannot be disputed is that animals are sentient beings and that, the quicker we learn about enrichment and bird behaviour, the quicker other concepts as sustainability, efficiency and profitability will join the equation.

Carol Lopez DVM MRCVS – Poultry Health Services Sutton Bonington

British Poultry Awards 2018

This year, Poultry Health Services sponsored the best Poultry Foodservice Product at the British Poultry Awards which took place on the 20th September at the Sheraton Grand hotel in London.

The announcement of the winners was made in front of over 250 industry VIPs including retail buyers, manufacturers, producers and farmers.

The winner was Green Gourmet Ltd Red Tractor Raw Chicken Breast. Sara Perez (Veterinary Director at PHS) together with John Reed (British Poultry Council Chairman) and celebrity Helen Skelton from Country File delivered the award.

How to get the most from a poultry flock health plan

Sara Perez, was interviewed by Poultry World to explain the benefits of a documented health plan and its potential to improve production and performance.

Flock health plans have evolved from assurance scheme checklists to the foundations of an active partnership between farmer and vet.

You can read the full article, and how health plans are increasingly being used to underpin and formalise a working relationship with the farm vet on the Poultry World website.

PHS open a new, state of the art, specialist poultry veterinary practice and laboratory in Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire

Owing to the demands of our rapidly expanding poultry business our practice buildings in York and Dalton are now no longer fit for purpose and due to their location unable to easily adapt. To ensure that we can meet the ever changing demands of our clients in this fast paced sector we have decided to relocate both practices into a single location. We have invested in a state of the art veterinary practice in Sherriff Hutton. The veterinary team from both practices will be based in this prime location and will be supported by their colleagues from the old practices. This will mean a more efficient and enhanced service for our clients and additional support available 24/7 from our experienced team of veterinary technicians and administrators.

We are also relocating our specialist diagnostics laboratory from York. We provide a full range of veterinary and food safety related testing including; serology, water analysis, feed analysis, litter quality testing, environmental/hygiene analysis, bacteriology: Post mortem, Salmonella, Campylobacter, fungal isolation and parasitology. Our new facility will enable us to improve and develop services even further offering the industry an unparalleled serology, virology and diagnostics service.

Combining both practice’ teams and the laboratory service in one location will enable us to offer industry leading, high quality veterinary service provision to the UK poultry industry.

For further information please contact the team on 01347 878931.

August 2018 Newsletter

This month we bring you news of our new practice in Sheriff Hutton and our new Astrovirus testing at the York Laboratory as well as introduce Gallifen – a new chicken worming product from Huvepharma.

Read more

Relocation of Salmonella testing Service


We opened a new state of the art poultry laboratory in the Pentlands Science Park (Penicuick) in February 2018. Since then, the laboratory has gone from strength to strength and we are now relocating all the testing currently performed at Crowshall laboratories to the new laboratory from Monday 2nd July 2018.

From that date, please ensure that all the samples for salmonella testing are sent to:

Poultry Health Services
The Milton Building
Pentlands Science Park
Bush Loan
EH26 0PZ

Please, destroy any old submission forms with the Crowshall address and replace them with this one.

Your point of contact to order sampling kits and for general lab enquiries remains the York lab which can be contacted on 01904 620968 or email

The new laboratory operates 7 days a week and it is UKAS and DEFRA accredited. In addition to salmonella testing it performs a number of other tests for hatcheries, farms, egg packing stations and food processing plants in addition to diagnostic tests for veterinary practices.

If you would like to know more about the range of tests that we perform and our discounted prices for routine or bulk work, please contact Stuart Marshall on 0131 440 2628 or email

Once you start using the new laboratory services, all your results will be securely stored in our new IT system Digiflock together with your post mortems, visit reports, flock health plans and prescription records. We will continue emailing you these reports as usual. You will benefit from being able to access to your own records 24/7 with your unique client secure access code and to some exclusive data analysis that we will be offering to our clients.

I am sure that you will be delighted with the service from the new laboratory and I look forward to continuing working with you in these exciting times.

Sara Perez, DVM, MSc, CertPMP, MRCVS
Poultry Veterinary Director


July 2018 Newsletter

This month we bring you news of our new practice, give you tips for reducing heat stress, look at the Antibiotic Stewardship Report and we review Exzolt.

Read more

A Career in Poultry Medicine

The field of veterinary medicine is incredibly diverse with many possible career paths once you are finally enrolled as an MRCVS. I have chosen to enter the poultry industry through a veterinary internship with Poultry Health Services (PHS).

“Why poultry?” is the first question I get asked by most people on learning of my career choice and, being the only person to pursue poultry medicine from my university year group, I can understand why the choice seems unusual. My interest stems firstly from my family keeping chickens and then from having my own flock of bantams that travelled up and down the M1 with me throughout my years at university. For my third year dissertation I surveyed owners’ opinions on the provision of veterinary care for backyard chickens, and the results highlighted the market potential for providing a valuable service for pet hens. I also particularly enjoyed the population medicine approach learned in my Herd Health rotation, analysing trends in data to improve animal welfare. During my clinical years I spent time in a commercial poultry practice and found the work they do fascinating; subsequently learning more about the diversity and the progression of the poultry industry while at PHS has only cemented these interests further.


June 2018 Newsletter

This month we meet a couple of members of our veterinary team, review the Pig & Poultry Fair and focus on Enterococcus bacteria.

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Defra has lifted the AI Prevention Zone in England

Defra has announced the lifting of the AI Prevention Zone in England, in place since 18th January 2018.

“Revocation of an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone:
The Secretary of State has carried out a further risk assessment under article 6(1) of the Avian Influenza and Influenza of Avian Origin in Mammals (England) (No 2) Order 20061 (“the Order”) and declares that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that was made on 17 January and has applied since 09.30 on 18 January 2018 is hereby formally revoked in accordance with article 4(1)(e) of the Order at 12.00 on 25 May 2018. The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone no longer applies in any part of England.”

It’s expected Wales will also lift their AIPZ today.

More info here.

May 2018 Newsletter

This month we update you on the upcoming Pig & Poultry Fair and the Defra code of practice for chickens.

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Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust

Poultry Health Services is pleased to support the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust who exist to support gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies, and their dependents past and present.

Like all other walks of life mental health can affect us all and the GWT provides a confidential listening service with information and support on this and a number of other issues including retirement, redundancy, housing and employment issues.

GWT can provide financial grants for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies and their families in times of hardship, ill health and retirement.  Small grants are available for young people making gamekeeping their career.  The helpline is a key part of the service and they can be contacted on 0300 1233088.

Reducing Antibiotic Use in Gamebirds

The Game Farmers’ Association has been collecting antibiotic prescribing data from gamebird vets and working with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate towards an agreed antibiotic reduction target for the sector.

This joint communication provides a best practice guide and is intended for all UK gamebird rearers, any shoots that release game, game feed suppliers, vets who look after gamebirds and everyone else with an interest in gamebird husbandry and game shooting.
2018 Joint Communication on AB Reduction


April 2018 Newsletter

This month we update you on the British Veterinary Poultry Association Spring Conference, upcoming Gamebird meetings and new ELISA tests.

Read more

Netherlands – H5N6 confirmed in fattening ducks

The Dutch have notified an outbreak of HPAI H5N6 in a flock of 28,886 fattening ducks in Kamperveen in the north eastern part of the country.
On 13 March 2018, a 3 km surveillance zone and a 10 km protection zone have been established. In the 3 km zone there are four other premises. All susceptible animals on the infected premises have been killed. All premises in the 3 km zone have been screened. All samples of the screened premises tested negative. This H5N6 subtype is a reassortment linked to H5N8 and not the Asian zoonotic H5N6.


1. Texas
On 9th March, the US confirmed an outbreak of LPAI H7N1 in a flock of 24,091 broiler breeder flock in Texas:
As part of routine, pre-slaughter testing and surveillance for H5/H7 avian influenza, H7N1 low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) was detected in a commercial broiler breeder flock based upon H7 PCR and antibody to H7 and N1. Partial HA sequencing determined the H7 to be a low pathogenic virus of North American wild bird lineage. Further characterization is pending virus recovery. The flock exhibited a slight increase in mortality and a decrease in egg production. Depopulation of the premises is underway. The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Texas Animal Health Commission are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation of this incident and have implemented enhanced surveillance and testing within 10km of this finding.

2. Missouri
LPAI H7N1 confirmed on 22/02/18 in a commercial turkey flock of 20,000 birds.
As part of routine, pre-slaughter testing and surveillance for H5/H7 Avian Influenza, H7N1 presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) was detected in a healthy commercial meat turkey flock based upon H7 PCR and antibody to H7 and N1; further characterization is pending virus recovery. There have been no clinical signs of illness or increased mortality on the premises. This is the first detection of H7 LPAI in commercial poultry in the United States for 2018. The turkeys will be depopulated through controlled marketing. The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Missouri Department of Agriculture are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation and have implemented enhanced surveillance and testing related to this finding. Two additional commercial poultry premises located within the 10km zone were tested negative for influenza virus.

PHS to Discuss Use of Antibiotics at Game Management Evening


Game Management Evening

Thursday 22nd March | 6.30pm | Hartpury College, Gloucestershire

PHS vet Christian Blake-Dyke will be talking about the great strides the game industry made in 2017 to reduce the use of antibiotics. But the work does not end there – the game industry still needs to reduce antibiotic use and Christian will be discussing practical ways in which game farms and shoots can reduce antibiotic use whilst rearing higher quality birds at less cost.

Andrew Stringer from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust discussing the potential reintroduction of pine martens to the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

Test the latest thermal/night vision technology with Thomas Jacks.

Doors open at 6.30pm.

Raffle on the night with proceeds going to Gamekeepers Welfare Trust and other educational projects.

Admission FREE thanks to our kind sponsors and Hartpury College.

If you have any further questions then please contact Regional Officer Sam Walker on

February 2018 Newsletter

This month we update you on on the Avian Influenza outbreak, our new poultry lab, red mite testing and details of our upcoming gamebird meeting…


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Relocation of Retford Services

On 1st June 2017 Poultry Health Services, Minster Vets & Retford Poultry Partnership were integrated under the new “Poultry Health Services” brand as part of an overall plan to improve our customer services and simplify the brand awareness in the market.

As part of the review of customer services, we have identified a number of benefits in changing to “Practice Hubs” which will allow us to centralise our vets and administration teams.  This will provide our customers with a greater level of consistency of attending vets, more array of services and better value for money.

The transition to practice hubs will mean that some of the current services offered through Retford will transition to Sutton Bonnington with effect from Monday 29th January 2018; others will not be and we have contacted all current Retford clients to advise them of the impact to them.  Whilst we have aimed to contact all current clients, we appreciate that we may have missed some.   Consequently, should you not have received any communication from us, please contact the Sutton Bonnington practice on 01159 516551.

The details for the Sutton Bonington practice are:  College Road, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough, LE12 5RA, Tel: 01159 516551.

Whilst the decision to close Retford was a difficult one to make, we firmly believe that it will benefit our clients.

Stuart Hedley

Commercial Director – Poultry.

January 2018 Newsletter

Wishing a Happy and successful New Year to all of our clients!

In our January Newsletter read more about our collaborative working with Clarke, our product of the month, new training courses and much more.

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Veterinary visits to gamebird farm

Paul Jeavons of Worcestershire Game Farm and chair of the GFA Health and Welfare committee writes:

With my health and welfare commitments and my position in RUMA, I have decided to make an effort to reduce the amount of antibiotic/medicine used, year on year, on my game farm.

I have wondered, when I see another game farmer’s advertisements state ‘birds delivered with relevant post mortem/health certificate’, what it actually meant. I presumed this extra cost to rearing would be very expensive but was in an effort to regain sales after a high incidence of disease, in the previous season, when problems had inadvertently been passed on to their customers.

With slight trepidation, I contacted my vets, PHS, and ran it past them. I asked for a weekly visit for 12-14 weeks and requested a Thursday as chicks could be examined at 2-3 days and poults before they left at 7-8 weeks.

To my relief, they already had customers who they visited weekly and a price per hour was agreed which included as many post mortems (PM’s) as were needed plus the findings and reports. Most visits were from the same vet, which kept continuity, but holidays etc. meant I did have a different one occasionally.

For the first few weeks it was a case of showing the vet around the system and explaining how we operate, (every game farmer I know does it differently!). A PM room was created in the egg room which had plenty of light and suitable work surfaces which could be easily cleaned. A roll of clear polythene was purchase on which to perform each PM. This was then bagged up and put in our incinerator.

To begin with it was chick examination up to 4 weeks of age and fresh dead chicks were bagged and labelled from the morning rounds to be PM’d later. I tended to be the ‘scribe’ as the vet dissected each bird. The visits lasted 2-2 ½ hours and it gave me a chance to communicate my issues and management problems and discuss how other rearers and those in the poultry industry tackled different disease/management problems.

The benefit of the whole experience was a very calming influence. Rather than finding a problem and having to rush to the vet, ours being a 3 hour round trip, and almost impossible on a very busy rearing day, I knew after a few weeks of visits what we had and what was likely to show up in the later batches. Also, on the legal side, we had a post mortem to back up all medications which showed in our veterinary medicines book.

Once we got near poult delivery time, we could PM 4 batches of Pheasants and do Cocci counts on 2 groups of RLP each week. Interestingly, we found low levels of Cocci in 5 week Pheasants that looked fine but then could be monitored daily. Due to the kind weather these went to 7 weeks old without an outbreak and could be treated prior to release saving on earlier prophylactic treatment. We also found low levels of Hexamita in RLP at 8 weeks. This was monitored and it never got any worse. I was advised not to treat them and they went to the shoot and have showed no symptoms.

I even went as far as photocopying the relevant PM reports and including them with my GFA delivery document. Full time keepers appreciated this but some of the smaller customers were baffled not having had experience of disease/medication.

Practically speaking, it goes against the grain to put 8-10 good poults in a crate to be euthanased later from each of your selected groups and of course is a cost, but overall we have used fewer drugs and more importantly used the correct drugs for each scenario and not once during the season did we have to carry a bag of dead diseased birds to the incinerator! This must have saved £1000’s and what is more I had plenty of spare at the end of the season.

The GFA has always promoted teamwork between game farmer, game keeper, feed supplier and Vets to work together for a successful release.

Vet’s Point of View:
It was very rewarding to be able to follow through Paul’s birds on a weekly basis. By going to the site regularly I got a better feel for his rearing system and issues that affect it. As Paul says there is a huge variance in the rearing methods of different game farms and the disease pressures they face. The weekly visits allowed us to see problems coming and also allowed young staff that Paul is training to show their skill in recognising potential disease. This monitoring of groups as they went through allowed us to reduce medicine use and losses on site. From the point of view of organising our work having a regular weekly slot allowed us to plan our manpower which makes farm visits easier to fit in around our other commitments to the poultry industry. With the experience of this year in the bag we will be able to plan with Paul for the next rearing season and hopefully continue to improve the health of the birds on site, increase profitability and reduce his stress levels.

Christian Blake-Dyke B Vet Med MRCVS

October 2017 Newsletter

In our October Newsletter you’ll find information about our AI road shows, BFREPA and Poultry on the Piste Conference. Plus how to get your hands on a FREE medicine book.

We’d also like to remind you that we are launching our new database on 1st October. In order to use this successfully we require more information about your housing and bird details.

Please return the forms which were attached with the previous newsletter to your local branch. This will allow us as a company to provide a comprehensive database that both you, as a client and us as your vets can benefit from.

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September 2017 Newsletter

This month we have welcomed 3 new team members to the Poultry Health Services team. Geraldine Fitzgerald is the new practice manager of our Barton branch, and we have also welcomed 2 new Interns: Helena Brewer and Pippa Abbey. Get to know them a little more below!

Read more here

Open day at our new Barton practice Thursday 21st September

Come and join us at the open day of our new Barton practice!

Thursday 21st September
9am – 5pm

Barton Village Hall, Garstang Road, Barton, PR3 5AA.

Meet our new team, and get exclusive offers on the day plus the chance to win amazing prizes in our charity raffle! There will be a hog roast and drinks for you to enjoy.

Please RSVP to Melanie on 07507 809582 or email

09.15 – Arrival tea and coffee
10.00 – Introductions
10.15 – Zeljka Ervacinovic, CEVA: New Solutions for Poultry Business
10.50 – Brian Kenyon, ABN: Broiler Nutrition
11.40 – Sara Perez, Poultry Health Services: PHS Our Journey to Innovation
12.30 – Hog roast, drinks and networking
14.00 – Craig Goddard, MSD: Breakthrough Red Mite Control (layers)
14.35 – Alan Pearson, Poultry Health Services: A look back over this year’s game season
15.15 – Charity raffle
15.30 – End of session.


August 2017 Newsletter

Our August newsletter with details about our Poultry on the Piste Conference, a Game Health Update by Christian Blake-Dyke, Lead Vet for Game and much more . . .

Read more here

NEW Game, Pigeon & Backyard Courses!

We are in the process of organising courses for Winter 2017. If you are interested in  a specific course, please contact and let us know what you are interested in and we will contact you later in the year once the dates and the content is finalised.

NEW Breeding & Hatchery Courses!

We are in the process of organising courses for Winter 2017. If you are interested in  a specific course, please contact and let us know what you are interested in and we will contact you later in the year once the dates and the content is finalised.

Leading poultry vets join forces under PHS brand

To help provide the progressive service that today’s modern commercial poultry enterprises demand, Poultry Health Services, Minster Poultry and Gamebird Vets, and Retford Poultry Partnership are joining forces under the one name Poultry Health Services (PHS).

Poultry is the most innovative and dynamic sector in modern agriculture and the Origin group recognises its responsibility to ensure the sector is serviced by a modern, efficient and forward thinking veterinary service.

The needs of all poultry producers, from domestic poultry keepers, to commercial meat and egg production, through to the science-led breeding and hatchery sector, have changed.  PHS, as a dedicated modern veterinary service provider, has developed to meet the individual needs of all producers.  No longer can a vet dictate how and what service they provide – all producers deserve a bespoke service, tailor-made to each client and the departments within their business. This is the key to success.

Clients are the primary focus of the whole PHS team. The merger brings together leading poultry vets, laboratory teams and experienced practice support which will allow all clients to benefit from the combined strengths and expertise of each individual business, and provide access to the full range of dedicated support services.

PHS offers internationally acclaimed veterinary care for all poultry keepers, including elite breeding stock, backed by a full range of diagnostic capabilities as required by modern poultry keepers. The Minster team delivers high quality services across large and small layers, broiler producers and gamebirds and the merger with PHS will ensure the breadth of the UK poultry industry can benefit from its consultancy, laboratory and training services. Retford, one of the UK’s oldest established poultry practices run by a team with over 35 years of experience in the health and welfare of all varieties of birds, bring their unique and committed service to the new combined business.

Evidence Based Service – Insight, Innovation, Results

  • Services and support are evidence-based and outcomes are monitored to ensure the advice delivers positive, and sustainable, production results
  • Combined strength of cutting edge integrated poultry laboratories and the UK’s leading production animal reference laboratory for accurate diagnosis and treatment
  • Supported by senior consulting vets and an active research team
  • Increased range of laboratory tests
  • In house testing delivers reduced test turnaround time
  • Online access to secure website so that clients can check current and historical flock records, treatment records and laboratory test results

Better value medicines

Origin, PHS’s parent company, is able to offer smart and effective medicine sourcing and direct supply based on aggregate group buying power plus innovative partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies.


NEW Poultry Courses!

We are in the process of organising courses for Winter 2017. If you are interested in a specific course, please contact and let us know what you are interested in and we will contact you later in the year once the dates and the content is finalised.