Coping with the Bird Flu Prevention Measures

DEFRA has told Poultry owners in the UK to keep their chickens and other poultry away from wild birds to help prevent the spread of Avian Influenza (bird flu). What started out as a 30 day restriction has had extensions which for many has meant their normally free ranging chickens have been confined for over 3 months now.

inside the coop

Paula : We now have a different issue here in England as Avian Influenza has taken hold in Europe and the north of Scotland. There is a 30 day restriction in which we need to keep our hens inside. Mine are used to free ranging so it will be very stressful for them (and me), to be confined until the 6th January.

I have cobbled together an additional run using: old garden tables; plastic fence trellis and tarpaulin at the rear of the coop. At the front I have attached a run from the first coop I bought in May. I make sure they have lots to scratch in and boredom busters etc.

Run made from garden tables

My Reply : It looks like they are going to have quite a fun time in there 🙂 I feel bad for my chickens being restricted too but so far there haven’t been too many complaints from them. Defra does say that if it is not practical to keep them confined to their housing then there must be complete separation from wild birds (in addition to good biosecurity) so there may be other ways to achieve that but in most cases it probably will be easiest just to keep them in their housing and runs.

You can get full information about bird flu and the measures currently in force from the uk government website here : including a pdf guide aimed at people with backyard flocks “How to keep your birds safe from avian influenza (bird flu)“, a guide about the extra biosecurity measures needed “Biosecurity and preventing disease in captive birds” and “Detailed advice on the Prevention Zone controls in England from 28 February 2017” (the most recent guidelines at the time of writing).

How To Spot Avian Influenza

There are 2 types of avian influenza.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is the more serious type. It is often fatal in birds. The main clinical signs of HPAI in birds are:

    swollen head
    blue discolouration of neck and throat
    loss of appetite
    respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
    fewer eggs laid
    increased mortality

Clinical signs can vary between species of bird and some species may show minimal clinical signs (ducks and geese).

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection.

H5N8 is a notifiable avian disease. It remains the case that anyone who suspects their birds of having avian influenza should discuss this as a matter of urgency with a private veterinarian. If suspicion of AI cannot be ruled out then it must be reported to Defra/APHA


One Comment

  1. chicken nipples April 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    We have not had Avian flue here in New Zealand yet, fingers crossed. I also have a parrot and dread the thought of it, its so devastating. I can make my hen house more secure from sparrows etc, But it would be a complete nightmare for me if it came here.

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