The day we announce we have finished the chicken coup at Pig Row and DEFRA announced measures to counteract an avian flu rise on the continent. At the Hopwood garden we have all sorts of birds and you haven't lived until you see you two adults try and move a rhea (small ostrich but with temper of a large ostrich) into a barn. However, there is confusion over bird flu in the UK. Let's be clear, these are preventive measures, at present there has been no outbreak of bird flu in this country. However, there was an outbreak in Preston in July, 2015 and a rather deadly strain of it was found in East Yorkshire in 2014. There is one thing though that isn't widely known or people don't realise when a 'prevention zone' is in place any loss of poultry due to avian flu including the culling of your flock due to you being within a prevention zone means no compensation. Your flock gets culled. No money. For many small scale poultry raisers this could mean make or break. So, it is vital we all do our bit. We are now in a prevention zone.
You have the responsibility to keep your chickens separate from wild birds from the 6th December 2016, in England, Scotland and Wales. This prevention zone covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales because of a pathogenic variation of avian flu found in continental Europe. Remember wild birds fly and this zone will remain in place for 30 days (until the 6th January, 2017). You can find all details on Avian Flu on the DEFRA site here. Below is some of the ways to spot avian influenza from the taken from the DEFRA website on the 12th December, 2016: