Poultry owners in East preparing for 'flockdown'

3 months 3 weeks ago #164785 by geemong
Poultry owners in East preparing for 'flockdown'



All poultry and captive birds in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex must be kept indoors from Wednesday, as part of government measures to prevent avian flu spreading. It is not the first time this has happened, but how are bird keepers coping with the demands and what do they think of the measures?

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'The chickens hated it'
Rebecca Mayhew, from Old Hall Farm in Woodton, Norfolk, has 300 chickens roaming free.

"I think it's fairly clear from previous years that lockdown, or 'flockdown' as we call it, was going to happen," she says.

A UK-wide housing measures lockdown was introduced by Defra on 29 November and was not lifted until 2 May this year.

However, Defra said over the last year the UK "has faced its largest ever outbreak of avian influenza with over 160 cases confirmed since late October 2021".

At the weekend, the department said the latest lockdown measures were being brought in "after the disease was detected at 17 premises in the affected areas since the beginning of September, as well as several reports in wild birds".

"I'm not looking forward to it," says Ms Mayhew.


'Learn to live with it'
Vicky Sewell runs a branch of chicken rescue charity Fresh Start for Hens, based in Watton, Norfolk.

Its Facebook members heard the news of Defra's proposed housing measures on Friday night and have since been sharing concerns and advice about how best to adhere to the rules.

"Lots of people let their hens run free, but after 10 years I've learned it's best to give them somewhere secure and sheltered as well," she says.

Very fine mesh that does not allow wild bird droppings to seep through can be used to cover runs, she says, but it is better with a secure tarpaulin.

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