Exercise good bio-security poultry keepers advised by Honiton NFU chairman

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:08 02 February 2017

Backyard chickens are at risk and must be kept under cover by law during avian flu restrictions.

Backyard chickens are at risk and must be kept under cover by law during avian flu restrictions.

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Honiton NFU branch chairman Andrew Luscombe is calling on everyone who keeps poultry to make sure their birds are being kept indoors, no matter how many of them they may have, to try and guard against the risk of an outbreak of avian influenza (AI).

Mr Luscombe said: “Even if you only have a few hens, ducks or geese, it is essential that you take every opportunity to reduce the risk of your flock coming into contact with wild birds.

“Whilst there is no risk to human health, and eggs and poultry meat are perfectly safe to eat, this disease is very serious for birds and poultry keepers must continue to be vigilant and pay strict attention to all their bio-security protocols. We all have an equally important part to play in reducing the risk of avian influenza for backyard or commercial flocks.”

The current AI protection zone has been extended until February 28, and all keepers of poultry and other captive birds are now required by law to house them (keep them under cover) or otherwise keep them separate from wild birds. The order applies to all poultry, no matter how many birds you have.

All poultry keepers must continue to keep a close watch on their birds’ health, and take steps to reduce the risk of infection from the environment, for example in wild bird droppings, by practicing good bio-security. You should do this even if your birds are inside.

Flock registration is compulsory for more than 50 birds, but even if you don’t have this many you can register at http://bit.ly/flock_reg

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