Be pre­pared...

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month - Si­mon McEwan, Ed­i­tor

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

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