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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Provide medicated grit for grouse Farmland Conservation

Key messages

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Supporting evidence from individual studies


A controlled experiment during 1996-2000 on two moors in northern England (Newborn & Foster 2002) found that red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus in an area provided with quartz grit treated with anthelmintic drugs (drugs to treat parasitic worm infections) raised between 38% and 100% more chicks than grouse in a control area (treatment areas: 4.9-7.1 chicks/hen estimated from 36 radio-tagged birds and 4.9-6.7 chicks/hen estimated from 125 birds seen on counts using pointing dogs vs control areas: 1.9-4.8 chick/hen from 36 tagged birds and 2.8-4.5 chicks/hen from 117 on dog counts) and had significantly lower levels of infection of the parasitic nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis (34% fewer worms over five years). This was despite the fact that the medicated areas did not have larger broods or higher hatching success (medicated areas: 9.6 eggs/clutch, 90% hatching success for 161 clutches; control areas: 9.4 eggs/clutch, 94% hatching rate for 153 clutches). Survival rates of adults did not vary between medicated and control areas.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Dicks, L.V., Ashpole, J.E., Dänhardt, J., James, K., Jönsson, A., Randall, N., Showler, D.A., Smith, R.K., Turpie, S., Williams D.R. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Farmland Conservation Pages 291-330 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.