Wildfowl mortality in the Slimbridge collection during the winters of 1961-62 and 1962-63

John Beer


The unusually cold winters of 1961-62 and 1962-63 caused a marked increase in mortality of established Anatidae kept outdoors at Slimbridge. Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygnini) showed the highest mortality while the true geese and swans (Anserini) were hardly affected. Other tribes were intermediate. In general the smaller species from hotter climates suffered a higher mortality while the increase, compared with normal winters, was proportionately greater in these species than in others. Comparison is made with mortality in wild birds. Practical measures to reduce mortality under these adverse environmental conditions are suggested.

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