Do you have problems with Starlings?

To many people, Starlings represent a significant problem when it comes to their feed. Starlings can cause major economic loss in livestock systems around the UK. Starlings feed selectively on maize grains, thereby reducing both the feed value of the ration and consequent milk output. There is also strong evidence that European starlings harbour E.coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter and can spread pathogens between farms. Therefore, this indicates that the losses on farm are not caused just by loss of feed but the milk production lost from less feed and also diseases transferred to cattle from bird faeces.

What is the cost?
According to research by AHDB Dairy, starling infestation has been shown to cost dairy farms up to £153 per day per 100 cows (£4,590/month) in feed losses, and health related issues. The cost of Avianex for 100 cows is £5.50 per day (£150/month) at a feed rate of 50g per day

Avianex contains ingredients that irritate the stomach of birds. They associate this ill feeling with the feed they have eaten and therefore will go elsewhere to find alternative feed sources. Avianex also releases volatile polysulphides into the atmosphere, which creates an odour that birds dislike.

Experience has shown that feeding Avianex to lactating dairy cows on TMR diets at a feed rate of 25g per cow per day is sufficient to deter starlings from settling into a pattern of feeding at that farm. In the early season, Avianex can be fed at a maximum rate of 50g per cow.

If feeding twice a day, only add Avianex to the morning feed, as starlings only feed during the day. It may be useful to make dummy batches of TMR with waste maize silage including Avianex, which can be left near clamps to feed starlings for a short period. It may be advantageous to include a higher level of Avianex in these dummy batches but ensure cows do not have access to them.

Please Note: Avianex needs to be fed consistently to be effective. Avianex takes up to 3 weeks to cause birds to alter their feeding pattern. Ensure that Avianex is fed every day and that the feed is mixed thoroughly. Feeding high levels of caustic treated grain can counteract the effect of the active ingredients, causing Avianex to become less effective. Avianex contains an extract of garlic, which carries a risk of milk taint at high levels. Ensure feed is mixed thoroughly and feed rates do not exceed 75g/cow/day. No liability can be accepted for issues caused by milk taint. Higher levels can be fed to non-lactating ruminants with no risk.

For more information and pricing contact David Quance on 07395 498175 or e-mail