After re-introductions, delegates spent the morning session recapping the progress made since Professor John E. Cooper's initial studies (2012) revealed how dangerous dust, debris and extraneous husk is when it's not removed (cleaned) from a bird diet.
The good news that the BIAZA Council had awarded Haith's a bronze award for its SuperClean QC project was shared with delegates. Council had presented a Bronze Award to Haith’s PRO for “SuperClean: Haith’s PRO Quality Control (QC) of Bird Diets Programme. And that the award was kindly collected (on behalf of Haith’s) by Andy Beer (Nutritionist - RZSS) at the 2015 BIAZA AGM. The award was presented for the category of “Animal Breeding, Care & Welfare”.
Delegates agreed that more needed to be communicated to zoos and the general public about the dangers of uncleaned bird seed.
Professor Cooper and his wife, Margaret E. Cooper presented Simon King (Associate Director, Haith's) with a ‘good chap’ award – a home-made bird feeder made by the EANHS/Nature Kenya office in Nairobi.
He was very grateful and thanked the Coopers. See: http://www.naturekenya.org/ All members agreed that it would be nice to share the moment and thank the EANHS for the work they do to promote the study and conservation of nature in eastern Africa. The Coopers shared photographs illustrating how a horse arrived at the Rift Valley bird table as bird food was put out to illustrate the “cleaning-up” QC process East Africa style.
Professor Cooper shared the good news that Haith's QC process now features in a published academic book entitled “Avian Medicine” by Jaime Samour (Third Edition), published by Elsevier. The Coopers provided a copy of the book and Haith’s receive several very positive mentions and acknowledgements. Haith’s thanked them for their hard work and for including Haith’s in a piece that professionals will refer.
A thorough review was then conducted of the SuperClean process including standard operations and working methods for bird food technicians. Factory Management explained that it was the Haith's 'team' who were driving forward the improvements and Len Cooper (Haith's Factory Manager) explained that we have a solid code of practice and were clearly the 'facility of choice'.
Haith's welcomed Andy Beer (Nutritionist RZSS) and invited him to consider their QC progress to date...and this included a tour of the production plant.
The first Haith's Bird Seed Nutrition Seminar:
The main speaker at this first nutrition seminar was Andy Beer: "As nutritionist for the RZSS Andy is responsible for overseeing the design and modification of diets within the animal collections at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park in consultation with respective Collection Managers and other colleagues.'
Andy Beer shared his slides from 'Chimelong Safari Park' in China where he had recently been to advise on matters of nutrition. Andy Beer and Professor Cooper shared their notes from a joint presentation given at last year's (2015) BIAZA AGM. The 'Pecha Kucha' presentation was well-received and combined data from the joint-venture Bird Seed Analysis project between Haith's and RZSS (Edinburgh Zoo). More information about the Haith's / RZSS groundbreaking collaboration and nutrition evaluation service to analyse the composition of bird seeds using Near Infra-Red Spectrometry (NIRS) in the lab at Edinburgh Zoo can be discovered here.
The team thanked Andy Beer for the work he has so generously invested in the bird seed analysis and confirmed that progress has been very encouraging. Simon King also thanked RZSS for its commitment to the project and stated that findings from the project were already improving bird diets for wild (free living) birds and cage and aviary birds. Haith's diets were now cleaner (courtesy of the QC work) and now being evaluated for their nutritional offering by the in-house research and development team at The Bird Food Centre.
More can be read about Andy Beer here and to discover more about the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland click here.
Carl Boyington gave an impressive lecture on the bird seed nutrition data - backed-up by an impressive, authoritative discussion on avian nutrition lead by Andy Beer and endorsed by Veterinary Professor, John E. Cooper. Andy Beer shared the challenges the bird seed analysis has presented but confirmed that he was happy with Carl Boyington's triangulation of data as it proved we were making sound progress.
Carl Boyington showed the 'Avian Nutrition Model' (ANM) to the Haith's PRO team and explained that bird diet formation was now possible based on scientific nutrition data courtesy of the data provided by Andy Beer who impressed upon the team that the work Haith's/RZSS are doing is - to his knowledge - the first of its kind in Europe and probably the World.
Special guest Andy Beer was thanked for attending and presenting at the very first Haith's Bird Seed Nutrition Seminar and, likewise, Professor Cooper and Margaret Cooper, who have kindly been associated with Haith's since the 1980s, were thanked by the team after a very long but successful day at The Haith's Bird Food Centre.