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Bird flu: UK vets make recommendations to backyard keepers

Staff Writer |
In mainland Europe, there have been numerous cases of H5N8 bird flu reported on farms since late November, though in Britain most cases detected so far have been in wild birds.

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In light of the disease’s spread, the Chief Vet announced last week that the Avian Influenza Prevention Zones across Great Britain, put in place in early December, will be extended until February 28.

Over the last week, there have been several confirmed cases of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza in wild birds and backyard flocks in Carmarthenshire, Yorkshire and at a swannery in Dorset.

The need for heightened biosecurity measures means private poultry keepers are now faced with changing the way they usually keep their birds. Vets from the British veterinary Association (BVA) have offered advice for backyard flocks.

“Biosecurity is also as important to smallholders and hobby keepers of birds as it is to large scale and commercial poultry keepers. Tight biosecurity, such as maintaining high levels of cleanliness and hygiene and not allowing visitors to come close to your birds, is essential.

“Signs of avian flu can vary between species of bird and could range from very mild signs like seeming ‘off colour’ or reduced feed or water intakes through to the severity of death. If you are concerned about your flock, please speak to your local vet.”

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