Grouse

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Grouse

Postby John_Bratton on Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:14 pm

Can anyone explain the attached picture of red grouse droppings, photographed 9 January 2009 on Drosgl, Snowdonia, please? What is the significance of the change from normal fibre-rich to red goo? I don't think it could have been gorging on berries at this time of year. It was during the very cold spell. Could it have failed to find anything to eat, thus the red stuff is body breakdown products rather than undigested food?

John Bratton
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Re: Grouse

Postby John_Bratton on Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:29 pm

Either this has stumped you all or you are too embarrassed to admit to an interest in grouse poo. Anyway, thanks go to Alistair Crowle, Natural England's Upland Ecologist, who has sent me the following.

"Grouse produce two types of dropping which is related to the extremely fibrous nature of their diet. They have two caeca which are tubes off the gut. Clearing these out (caecal droppings) produces the goo that you photographed. They produce two batches - one for each tube. In addition, they produce 'normal' droppings as well. The strongyle worm which is a parasitic nematode that contributes to the cyclical nature of grouse populations gains entry through the lining of the caeca."

John Bratton
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