Livestock management in red-billed chough feeding habitat in Great Britain and the Isle of Man

Jonsson, N. N. , Gilbert, G. and MacGillivray, F. S. (2020) Livestock management in red-billed chough feeding habitat in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. Rangeland Ecology and Management, 73(2), pp. 216-223. (doi: 10.1016/j.rama.2019.10.009)

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Abstract

In Great Britain, red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) breed in discrete populations along the west coast: on Islay and Colonsay, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland; on the Isle of Man; in Wales; and in Cornwall. Chough are dependent on pastures grazed by sheep or cattle, and their survival therefore depends on sympathetic management of grassland. The Scottish population is in decline, and all other populations are growing or stable. Sixty-three farmers in these regions whose farms were known to support feeding chough were asked questions about their farm management using a structured, questionnaire-based personal interview. Islay farms were significantly larger and had more grazing area, with the lowest stocking densities. Welsh farms had the least cropping area and the smallest number of cattle. Cornwall had the smallest number of sheep per farm. Welsh farms were more likely to not house cattle during winter. Liver fluke in sheep and ticks and tick-borne disease were a higher concern on Islay than other regions, and abortion in sheep was of highest concern on the Isle of Man. Islay farmers applied between 4× and 13× as many synthetic pyrethroid (SP) treatments to cattle per year than farmers at other regions, and the application rate of triclabendazole (TCBZ) to sheep was higher on Islay than other regions. The rate of application of other products, including macrocyclic lactones, did not differ among regions. The study described here shows clear differences in the farm grazing management, in the priority given to animal health problems and in the frequency of application of veterinary parasiticides among four regions that provide feeding habitat for chough in the United Kingdom. These differences suggest that the viability of chough populations might be favored by higher-intensity grazing and low rates of application of veterinary parasiticides of either the TCBZ or SP, or both classes of parasiticides.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jonsson, Professor Nicholas
Authors: Jonsson, N. N., Gilbert, G., and MacGillivray, F. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1550-7424
ISSN (Online):1551-5028
Published Online:18 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Society for Range Management
First Published:First published in Rangeland Ecology and Management 73(2):216-223
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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