Bird flu precautions
I have moved all feeders and drinkers into my two stables as this will discourage wild birds coming into the garden to eat the chickens’ feed. It is impossible to physically prevent wild birds coming into the garden but this will take away the incentive. Luckily I haven’t bought any birds from the market for at least six months and my flock, despite some being elderly, are all looking healthy.
On December 6, DEFRA declared a 30-day Prevention Zone in a bid to stop a virulent strain of bird flu from spreading to Britain from the Continent. This required all poultry keepers to keep their birds indoors or at least undercover. This is because the disease is spread by wild birds, and the objective has been to prevent wild birds or their droppings coming into contact with domestic fowl. DEFRA has produced a factsheet outlining the steps to take, including advice on feed and drink, welfare and biosecurity measures. This is reproduced on page 10.
The disease did spread to Britain, without outbreaks in Lincolnshire, then domestic flocks in Carmathenshire and Yorkshire, swans in Dorset, pheasants in Lancashire, and it has been identified in wild birds elsewhere. In early January, DEFRA extended the Prevention Zone to February 28 and all poultry gatherings, such as shows, were cancelled.