Avian influenza: Housing order to be introduced across England

Housing Order Hero Image

A national housing order will be introduced across England on Monday 7 November making it a legal requirement to house flocks

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds are to be introduced to all areas of England from 00:01 on Monday 7 November, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

Read more online at the Gov.uk website.

visit gov.uk website

Avian influenza: Prevention Zone declared across Great Britain

avian influenza blog

Following an increase in the number of detections of avian influenza (bird flu) in wild birds and on commercial premises, the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.


Avian influenza Prevention Zone has been declared across Great Britain making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

Read more online at the Gov.uk website.

visit gov.uk website

Dog worming is as important as servicing your tractor

Autumn is looming over us, and some of your machinery will soon be cleaned up, serviced, and put away until next year. It is wise to look after important pieces of equipment that are vital to the running of your farm, but is it possible you have missed something, something that can affect the health of your stock, the efficiency of your farm and can even your own wellbeing.

Working dogs are as valuable as any piece of machinery, which is subject to servicing each year, so consider the reasons to apply the same ethos to sheep dogs. The impact of worms on livestock is well recognised, backed up by many trials over the years, and farmers undertake dosing a regime to combat this, but how many apply the same care and attention to their working dogs? It is vital to worm your dogs, and for the sake of the equivalent cost of a couple of cans of marker spray, your hard-working dog can benefit from improved energy and longevity, and it can also have impacts on your commercial stock.

Firstly, and most commonly, dogs along with humans, are the final host for tapeworm. Some species of tapeworm have the sheep as its intermediate host. Although tapeworm is harmless in dogs, it can cause cysts that are fatal to sheep. The worm is spread when dogs eat infected sheep carcass or their dung. Making it important to treat both dogs and sheep.

A healthy dog is an asset to your farm

Secondly, any burden of worms a dog may be harbouring is consuming away vital vitamins, minerals and water your dog needs. Taking away these precious resources reduces the efficiency of the dogs’ gut, reducing their energy levels and putting strain on their immune system. A large enough burden especially in puppies or weaker, older animals can be fatal.

Finally, a couple of other diseases found in livestock can be spread by dogs. These include Neosporosis and Sarcocytosis which are particularly nasty for livestock. Neosporosis can cause abortion in cattle and Sarcocystosis can cause abortion in sheep and sometimes death.

By worming your dogs efficiently at least every three months, you can reduce the risk to your dog and your livestock. It may be advisable to provide a flea and tick control at the same time.

At Carrs Billington we value the importance of animal health medicines and this applies to canines as much as ruminants. Our highly qualified SQP staff are in every branch and are qualified to advise on all aspects of parasite control including resistance levels. Chat to your local animal health specialist next time you are in branch.

Product Spotlight – Nature’s Bounty, Chicken & Sweet Potato


We are proud to present our brand-new range of dog food which is flying off the shelves in our Country stores. The Chicken & Sweet Potato is just one of the seven flavours and types in the great Nature’s Bounty range.

Our delicious Chicken and Sweet Potato recipe is completely grain free and provides a high-quality protein source for easy digestion. Why grain free you ask? Well, our canine companions are naturally meat eaters and although their shapes, styles and temperament has changed dramatically since they were wild, their teeth and digestion system have remained much the same. Typically, their digestion system struggles with large proportions of cereals and continuous exposure to a high cereal diet has been associated with health issues such as allergies, obesity and behavioural problems.

Sweet potato is a unique vegetable as it is very low in starch compared to a traditional potato, has lots of vitamins and minerals and studies have found it can stabilise blood sugar levels. Combining this with fresh chicken and chicken meal ensures your dog is getting what it needs the simplest ingredients. Less time and energy digesting allow more time and energy for being a dog!

If you suspect your dog may have allergies/ intolerances or you have a very fussy dog, then pop into your local branch to get more in depth advice on how you may be able to combat this with the correct nutrition.

If you are changing your dog’s food, we recommend gradually introducing the new recipe over an 8 to 10-day period and within 6 weeks you should be able to see a difference. Don’t forget to consider not just the dogs’ food, but also his treats, as they can also contain large proportion of cereals and may impact the health of the dog and hamper the impact of a need grain-free food.

To see the complete range of Nature’s Bounty pop into a Carrs Billington Country Store today.


Time for Ticks

The days are getting longer, the ground is getting warmer and you are finally not dreading the thought of getting out of bed into the cold to walk the dog! Nothing could spoil this right? Until you get home and find there on your four-legged friends’ ear is a blood sucking tick, gross!

Don’t panic! With a few simple steps you can have that nasty tick gone for good. This article will also explain why you need to tackle the invader properly, and exactly why it’s important to act fast!

Ticks transmit three main diseases; Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis. Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and can cause inflammation of the joints, malaise and loss of appetite, it can also lead to kidney damage and other complications. This disease can also be transmitted to humans. Ehrlichiosis can cause fever, lethargy, poor appetite and lymph node enlargement. Babesiosis is a malarial type disease that can cause jaundice, lack of energy and fever. As you may have guessed, none of these diseases are pleasant and so tick vigilance is key.

Ticks climb grasses and stems, waiting for the next unsuspecting mammal to pass by. After taking your dog for a walk it is a good idea to check them for ticks. Look for unusual bumps, particularly around the ears, head, neck, groin, armpits and feet.

A Tick is a dangerous little insect.

So, you find a tick on your dog. First things first you need to be sure that’s what it is. You wouldn’t be the first to try and twist off a new mole on your aging best friend.

  • If it is a tick, you should be able to see legs, even when they are very tiny. They have eight legs and they will be very close to the dog’s skin, underneath the body of the tick will appear black.
  • It should move easily if it’s a tick, or it may move by itself. Moles generally are fully attached to the skin and won’t be floppy.
  • You have been walking where there are lots of sheep or high grasses. Ticks climb to the top of the grass and have tiny little hooks that help them attach to unassuming passing animals and people.

Yes, it’s a tick, there are lots of techniques to remove them, and everyone seems to have a preferred method.


  • Do you want to be prepared and buy a specialist tool? The picture below shows you the type which I personally have found the easiest to use. No need to apply pressure, simply identify the base of the tick which is where it is attached to the skin and then make sure the tick is in between the ‘fork’ section and twist. It literally is as simple as that. I can be advisable to keep one at home, or in your car, some tick tools are credit card size so will go in your wallet.
  • If you have a tick right now but no tool, grab a pair of tweezers, calm the dog, getting someone to help if necessary. Ensure you get the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pinch the base of the tick with the tweezers and pull gently. Don’t pinch the body of the tick, the big bit you can see, this will ‘pop’ it and blood will come out increasing the risk of disease and infection.
  • Don’t be tempted to burn the ticks off as the head may be left under the skin.
  • If you are not confident please consult a vet. Infections require antibiotics and if you are not covered by a flea treatment that includes ticks then transfer of disease is much more likely.
  • Don’t forget to check yourself and anyone walking with you. Don’t forget your clothes, ticks have been shown to survive a washing machine cycle.

Now what do I do with it!

  • Our personal advice is to put it into some sort of bag, a poo bag or sandwich bag will do, tie a tight knot in it and put it straight in the bin. This way you can be sure it will not escape, and you do not have to worry about transmitting disease by accidently popping the body.

Why can’t I wait for it to drop off? True, once the tick has finished dining on your dog it will drop off, scurry away to hide and digest its food. This poses lots of problems:

Fully fed tick
  • If your pet is not treated with a flea and tick treatment to deter these insects, then the likelihood of your dog contracting a disease is higher. The transmitting of the disease occurs because the tick deposits fluid into the bloodstream as it drinks.
  • The longer the tick stays attached the more irritated and inflamed the skin will become and the dog has a higher risk of a secondary infection. The tick leaves a wound once it drops off the dog.
  • The tick is now alive, in your house or garden, ready to reattach once it has digested its dinner.
  • Female ticks, if fully mature can lay up to 5000 eggs in the environment. These eggs can take up to 2 months to hatch and then the larvae can live in the environment for nearly two years!

Hopefully this has given you some practical advice but if you are still worried then pop down to your local Carrs Billington and chat to our friendly staff about the different ways of protecting your dog.

Dog Food Ingredients – Informative or Confusing?

As consumers we are generally well informed about the food we eat. There has been a concerted effort by the government, food producers, campaign groups and retailers to educate the general public about our food, where it comes from, and how it is made. Never before have we been more aware of our food. The same cannot be said about pet foods, although there are people campaigning for more transparency, and trying to inform the pet owner.

There are multiple sources online, and whilst some are very good, it is easy to become confused. Pet food manufacturers have limited information available, and often don’t explain some terms or jargon.

How do you go about understanding the information on the label? The ingredient list is the single most important piece of information on the product packaging. With dog food, this is often fairly small and in multiple languages, sometimes making it a little difficult to read. When you find the ingredient list, here are some elements that may make it easier for you to understand.

As with human food, the ingredients are always written in descending order; starting with the largest quantity to the least quantity. Therefore if meat is the first ingredient, that is the largest single ingredient of the recipe. However, this is not to be confused with meat being the majority ingredient in the recipe. Below two ingredient list examples show meat as the first ingredient but the quality as a complete food is very different.

  1. Chicken (40% dried, 25% fresh) Sweet potato, vitamins and minerals.
  2. Chicken meal, wheat, maize, beet pulp, fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals

Example 1, you can be confident that chicken is the main ingredient. However, in example 2 it is not quite as clear. Chicken meal is the greatest single ingredient, but it is likely that cereals make up the bulk of the recipe. The composition could be 50% chicken meal, but it is more likely to be 30% meal, 27% wheat, and 25% maize and 18% other ingredients.

Now you have found the ingredients and understand what proportion each ingredient represents, it’s time to understand the items listed. Here are some common elements found within complete dog foods

Beet Pulp or Vegetable Fibre adds a great fibre source to products, without the sugars.

Brewers’ Yeast is a microscopic fungus and is rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, which promotes healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver function in dogs. It contains all nine amino acids dogs need and therefore is an excellent protein source.

Maize is a good source of dietary fibre and packed full of protein

Cereals as an ingredient can be any blend of grains; wheat, maize, oats, rice.

By not specifying items, it allows manufacturers to change the composition depending on raw material cost.

This is not great if you believe you dog may suffer from allergies. Where ever possible look for a composition which states individual ingredients and preferably their percentage.




Dehydrated Poultry Protein this is often used as a ‘technical’ term for meat meal (see below).

Digest/hydrolysed protein is a powder turned into a spray to coat the kibble adding flavour and enhancing smells to entice even the fussiest of dogs. The protein powder provides a valuable source of amino acids.

Meat and Animal Derivatives are basically any of the leftovers after processing the carcass. This is then blended together to form a powder. Due to the broad description this allows the manufacturer to put any type of animal in without listing it as an ingredient. This means it cannot be recommended for dogs with intolerances or allergies.

Fish, Fish Meal and fish oil are all great ingredients, containing proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals
Fresh, Dried or Chicken Meal are all easily digested and taste great to dogs. Chicken is also low in saturated fats.

Fresh Meats

This is the leftovers from human grade cuts of meat. They are very nutritious, improve the palatability of the food and are easily digestible.





Meat meal is a rendered product which means parts of any warm blooded animal are ground and steam cooked to produce a fine powder. Meat meal is made up of parts of the animal that are not usually consumed by humans, such as residual meat, offal, connective tissues and bones. Meat meal is a good source of protein.

Prebiotics (FOS and MOS) are ingredients added to dog food to help the digestive system by providing food for the friendly bacteria that live in the gut.

Derivatives of Vegetable origin can mean a wide range of ingredients and sources and permits the manufacturer to change it at any time. It is not necessarily a bad ingredient, but we don’t know what sources the manufacturer uses.

Vegetable Protein Isolate is a protein source involving chemically extracting the nutrients from the raw materials. Common sources for this protein include soya, maize and wheat which have all been linked to dietary intolerances.

Herbs are added to some foods to aid digestion, provide antioxidants and supply essential vitamins.
Peas and other vegetables can be great sources of vitamins and minerals, essential for your dog.



For more information, you can DOWNLOAD the Nature’s Bounty leaflet which explains what goes into dog food in greater detail. For information on what protein levels in dog food mean, click HERE .

Is all Protein Equal? – Picking the right dog food

Modern breeds of the domestic dog have changed dramatically from their ancestors, not only in appearance but in temperament also. One thing that has changed very little is their digestive system. Looking at wolves, a close relation of the domestic dog, they eat the whole carcass of their prey. This is made up of flesh, bones, intestines, marrow and connective tissue. This provides the wolf with everything it needs from fibre to trace minerals and vitamins in a very easily digestible package. Modern canine diets try and replicate the requirements of their ancestors.

Everything we eat and everything our dogs eat has a protein level. The picture on the left shows some common ingredients and their protein level. Once you blend those ingredients together and compress it into a kibble, a percentage of that kibble will be protein, although this does reflect the ingredients within the recipe, it does not reflect the digestibility of the protein.

Common sources of protein in commercial dog food can be quite difficult for a dog to digest. Some of these include wheat, soya and animal derivatives. Imagine the digestive system as a conveyor belt, constantly moving, if the nutrients needed by the dog are not removed from the food quickly enough the food passes by and the dog does not get everything it needs. This means certain foods require a greater quantity to supply the animal with the same nutrients as another food source.

If the food is made up of high quality ingredients such as fresh, dried or meat meal and vegetable protein sources such as whole rice and sweet potatoes, the digestive system can remove everything it needs before it goes past on it’s conveyor belt. This has a variety of positive impacts on the general health of the dog; reduced stools, improved stamina, less dehydration and reduced likelihood of digestive issues.

So, by understanding the ingredients and how they impact our dog’s health, you can see that the protein percentage is not a true reflection of the quality of the food. Imagine you have two recipes with the same level protein;

Recipe 1 – 26% Protein – Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives, oils and fats, minerals etc

Recipe 2 – 23% Protein – Rice, Fresh Chicken, Chicken Meal, Maize, herbs, vitamins, minerals etc

The second recipe has protein sources that are more easily digested than the first, but have a lower protein level on the packet than the cereal based formulation. The second list of ingredients will also supply a better balance of vitamins and minerals, and will result in a healthier dog. If you would like to learn more about individual ingredients in dog food, then click HERE for more information.

The right balanced diet is vital for the wellbeing of your dog

Giving your pet great dog food is even easier!

Consumer awareness of the food we eat has never been better. We know the source of our food, how many miles it has travelled, and even the name of the animal! Sadly the same cannot be said for the food we provide our dogs daily. Often our loyal companion never questions what is in the bowl that is put before it each day. Perhaps it is time, as responsible pet owners, that we started to examine the quality of the meal or meat we buy. You might be way ahead of most dog owners, and already buy a great dog food for your best friend, and it has loads of energy, a shiny coat and general good health, well done. Others might want to give their dog the best, but can’t justify the expense, well, it is time for a change.
New from Carrs Billington, Nature’s Bounty is a high quality complete dog food for puppies, adult dogs or senior dogs that is full of high quality ingredients, designed to allow your pet to get the most out of life, but at a price that won’t break the bank! Made in the UK, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and completely natural, Nature’s Bounty is just what your dog needs. Choose from our gluten free, or grain free, hypo-allergenic diets. Ask in store today for more details.