OUR POUL­TRY WRIT­ERS

Your Chickens - - Feature | Bird Flu -

Terry Beebe, Lin­colnshire

“Most chicken keep­ers I know took pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures by us­ing tram­po­line sheets over the runs. How­ever, un­less this is very small mesh, it will still al­low cer­tain smaller birds ac­cess to the runs and coops.

“I penned my birds in­side a closed coop and added an ex­tra wire door to al­low in plenty of fresh air, mak­ing sure there was no ac­cess from other birds no mat­ter what the size.

“I also used a green­house for other birds. This is not ideal but it is bird proof and can be used dur­ing the win­ter – it would not be suit­able when the weather is hot. I have put a card­board box in­side for them to get into at night, so pro­tect­ing them from any con­den­sa­tion drips.

“On the floor of the green­house and the coop I used Bio Dry very heav­ily to keep the bed­ding dry and then used dust-free shav­ings and chopped straw, both of which have worked per­fectly.

“All feed has been kept in­side a closed shed and the wa­ter is changed ev­ery day with the drinker be­ing cleaned at the same time.

“There have been re­ports that not every­one has taken pre­cau­tions and, in some cases, it is im­pos­si­ble to com­pletely iso­late some large flocks.

“Ducks and geese do not fare well in con­fined ar­eas and I feel sorry for th­ese keep­ers. It must be a very se­ri­ous prob­lem for them to keep the birds in good health dur­ing th­ese pe­ri­ods.

“Hope­fully this sit­u­a­tion will soon be re­solved and every­thing can re­turn to nor­mal.”

Deb­bie Kingsley, Devon

“Good­ness, it’s not mak­ing life easy for the small­holder. Ev­ery in­door nook and cranny, in­clud­ing our far­row­ing pen, has been turned over to ducks, geese and hens, try­ing to give them enough space so that their in­door con­fine­ment isn’t too hor­ren­dous. The best so­lu­tion has been putting a gang of ducks into the poly­tun­nel where they’ve had great fun chomp­ing on weeds and slugs and have a pala­tial area to play in. The worst off are the geese and I can’t wait to let them out on grass again. The big­gest frus­tra­tion is that for years we’ve been reg­is­tered with the GB Poul­try Reg­is­ter so that DE­FRA can con­tact us quickly in the event of a dis­ease out­break. Have we had any sort of di­rect no­ti­fi­ca­tion? Not a quack.”

Sam Bowles, East Sus­sex

“The top of my en­closed hen house and run is cov­ered with clear plas­tic sheet­ing. The sides, where the wire mesh is large enough for small wild birds to en­ter, has been cov­ered in a mix­ture of plas­tic sheet­ing and fruit cage net­ting. A trea­dle feeder, which can only be op­er­ated by the hens, pre­vents con­tam­i­na­tion. Ex­tra perches have been added as well as greens, ap­ples and grit for var­ied diet. I have hung up old CDs to de­ter wild birds from the vicin­ity and the run floor is cov­ered with chipped rub­ber, which I am able to rinse down with dis­in­fec­tant daily. No one else deals with my hens and I al­ways dis­in­fect my boots when en­ter­ing/leav­ing the run. No visi­tors al­lowed!”

ABOVE: Our writer Terry Beebe ap­plies Bio Dri to a hen house to ab­sorb mois­ture BE­LOW: A typ­i­cal makeshift tar­pau­lin cover for a chicken run Photo:Anne Perdeaux

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