Weekly livestock news: December 5, 2022

Antiparasitic drug could help control bed bug infestations in poultry

Two veterinary antiparasitic drugs showed promise controlling bed bugs in a lab, with one showing success killing bed bugs feeding on chickens, according to a new study. While the health effects on poultry from bed bug infestation aren’t well-documented, farmers anecdotally say they’ve seen animal welfare concerns that could negatively affect meat or egg production, one researcher said. The scientists, from North Carolina State University, tested fluralaner and ivermectin in several scenarios, including after bed bugs bit and fed off chickens that had either ingested or received topical treatment with the drugs. While both drugs were successful in the lab, fluralaner was highly effective killing bed bugs that fed on chickens dosed with the drug. Ivermectin was ineffective. The researchers say dosing fluralaner in poultry drinking water could serve as an effective measure against bed bugs.

Half of Britain’s free-range Christmas turkeys have died or been culled due to bird flu, industry leader says

About half of the free-range turkeys British farmers normally produce for the holidays have died or been culled due to bird flu, an industry leader said. Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, told Parliament that British farmers usually produce 1.2 to 1.3 million free-range birds for the holidays. About 600,000 of them have died, he said. He added that total turkey production for Christmas in the United Kingdom was usually about 8.5 to 9 million birds. Of these, just over 1 million have died or been culled. He didn’t know what the impact would be on prices, noting that it depends on retailers’ actions, according to Reuters.

Congress passes bill to prevent rail strike

The U.S. Senate voted to approve a bill implementing a labor contract between railroad workers and their employers. Four of the 12 railroad unions had rejected the deal, but the new bill, which already passed in the House and which President Joe Biden has said he’ll sign, means they have to accept it. Without a contract, workers would have gone on strike December 9, leading to a shutdown of about 30% of the country’s freight shipments, according to CNN. While the House also passed a bill giving railroad workers more paid sick days—a major issue in contract negotiations—the Senate rejected that measure.

Colorado officials unsure what’s caused deaths of dozens of cattle since October

Colorado officials are trying to figure out what’s caused the deaths of about 40 cows and calves found near the town of Meeker, in the state’s northwest, over the past two months. Wolves were initially blamed for the deaths, but officials have said only five of the deceased cattle showed wolf-related injuries. The investigation has since focused on whether the cows could have been infected with deadly bacteria, but postmortems have revealed no evidence of that, The Guardian reports.

Saskatchewan veterinarian launches beef cattle health and nutrition podcast

A new podcast aims to give listeners a Canadian perspective on beef cattle health and nutrition. Dr. John Campbell, a veterinarian and professor at the University of Saskatchewan, recently launched the “Beef Cattle Health and Nutrition” podcast, discussing topics such as feed testing, preconditioning, vaccinations for calves and extended grazing. The target audience is cow-calf beef producers, but Campbell said he plans to include content that would be interesting to producers involved in feedlot cattle operations. While Canada and the United States share some similarities, Campbell noted they’re also unique, primarily in terms of geography, what producers feed their cattle and how they manage them.