Partridge Disease

Red legged partridges are vulnerable to a variety of diseases.

We've been keeping red legged partridges for the last week, and it's been a very interesting experience. Despite the fact that these little birds are native to the south of France, they have stood up well to the wild Gallowayweather, and the little enclosure of thirty birds is withstanding wind and rain on a daily basis.

Despite their hardiness, partridges are vulnerable to a variety of diseases, and these are compounded by being kept in close quarters. As soon as they have learned where their home is, they can be released and they shouldn't wander too far, but given that they have only been out for a week, they need to bear the pen for a few more days.

On Friday, we spotted that at least one of our partridges was scouring - producing runny yellow faeces which would indicate some degree of nasty enteritis. Enteritis is usually caused by stress and is not helped when birds are being kept on wet ground. Left unchecked, it can get worse and worse, usually ending with an outbreak of thehexamita bacteria which can cause huge and devastating mortality rates.

Caught early enough, enteritis symptoms can be treated with concentrated electrolyte tonics or mixtures designed to combat stress which can be mixed in to a water supply, but once the symptoms get out of control, your only hope is to call the vet as quickly as possible.