Last winter’s bird flu outbreaks in the UK caused huge disruption for all poultry keepers in the country, from the large commercial breeders to smallholders and even back garden hen keepers. The measures introduced by DEFRA meant that all of us had to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease to our flocks.
As another winter draws nearer, we must accept the possibility that the disease will strike again with the arrival of migrating wild birds. This would, in all likelihood, mean the reintroduction of preventative measures by the Ministry.
In this month’s Poultry, we carry a special appeal from the UK’s Chief Vet, Professor Nigel Gibbens ( see pages 18-21). He commends smallholders and small-scale poultry keepers for their response last winter. He says they were in the front line, and played a key role in minimising the impact of the disease, especially by co-operating in the request to keep all domestic poultry under cover. But Professor Gibbens says we simply can’t afford to rest on our laurels. It is vital to observe good biosecurity at all times, and to take other steps to minimise the risks of contact between domestic fowl and wild birds. By acting responsibly, we can all play our part in beating bird flu