Banham Poultry in new E.coli vaccine trials
One of the country’s largest poultry businesses is taking a lead from the Government’s Covid-19 vaccine programme to help safeguard its birds from disease.
In a UK first, Banham Poultry has joined forces with pharma company, Zoetis, and poultry veterinary consultants, Crowshall Veterinary Services, in trialling a new vaccine, Poulvac E.coli.
The vaccine is being administered to day old chicks along with other vaccines in the hatchery, and sets out to protect the chickens against E.coli, which can cause disease and mortality in birds, leading to poorer welfare, and poor productivity as well as increased antibiotic use.
It is anticipated that this vaccine will prevent the disease associated with E.coli bacteria by providing the birds with immunity, thus improving their welfare. This landmark trial has already been implemented, and more than 1.6 million birds will receive this Government approved vaccine.
If the trial is successful Banham Poultry will roll out the programme across its entire farming base paving the way for enhanced welfare, reduce antibiotic usage and further confidence in the supply chain and in turn it hopes to reduce antibiotic usage.
Banham Poultry managing director, Blaine Van Rensburg, said: “The poultry industry is a success story in its significant achievement in reducing antibiotic usage over the past five years, and the drive continues.
“The world is changing, and we are all acutely aware, in the face of COVID-19, how vaccination is the cornerstone of disease control. We are now taking the same approach in protecting the welfare of our birds.
“The poultry industry can be proud of the essential work that it has done in feeding the nation through the recent Covid-19 crises, but now more than ever food security and safety are key to the health of the nation.
“Livestock face challenges too, and disease threats always exist, and the team here is evaluating new interventions to further protect the health of our stock and the quality of the products we produce.”
Banham Poultry, which employs an 800-strong workforce, supplies whole chicken and selected cuts to some of the country’s biggest supermarkets.
Over the past 18-months, its owners, who purchased the business in 2018, have invested £11m at the 12-acre Attleborough site following decades of under investment.