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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Crushing carcasses at feeding stations appears to reduce deforming bone diseases in Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres chicks in South Africa

Published source details

Richardson P.R.K., Mundy P.J. & Plug I. (1986) Bone crushing carnivores and their significance to osteodystrophy in griffon vulture chicks. Journal of Zoology, 210, 23-43


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Provide calcium supplements to increase survival or reproductive success Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study on a northern South African pig farm (Richardson et al. 1986) found that the incidence of osteodystrophy (a bone-deforming disease) in Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres chicks declined from an average of 17% in 1974-6 to 2.5% in 1983, following the establishment, in 1977, of a feeding station where carcass skeletons were crushed to provide small bone fragments. A total of 1378 chicks were examined over the study. The authors note that vulture colonies on game reserves not ranches had far lower levels of osteodystrophy (0-1%), probably due to the presence of bone-crushing mammals such as spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta.