Coping with bird flu measures
All poultry keepers are currently obliged to keep their birds indoors or under cover, and abide by other measures, to stop the spread of bird flu. How have the restrictions on poultry affected Charlotte’s business?
“It’s fortunate I’m not heavily stocked at the moment. Nearly all 2016’s hatch have been sold so we’re down to 200-300 birds. We’ve got two large polytunnels (one year-round where hens usually come and go) where we deep-litter till restrictions are lifted, straw being perfect for that. We don’t usually deep-litter but, with them all inside, I’d be cleaning all day if I didn’t and it risks birds escaping from their pens.
“We’re combining straw with Stalosan F disinfectant powder to reduce ammonia. I’ve bought cauliflower and broccoli for them to pick at, which helps limit bullying. We have foot baths at each house/pen entrance so we don’t walk disease in on feet and wheelbarrows; the latter are sprayed with disinfectant after each outdoor use. I’d really stress to keepers, big or small, the importance of complying with the restrictions. Doing so will help stop the spread of bird flu in domestic flocks and keep our birds safe.”