Bird flu took the UK poultry industry by surprise last year, as the disease entered the country much earlier than predicted with cases occurring as early as November as opposed to mid-winter.
The disease has widely affected commercial and backyard poultry production across the EU over the last few months and it is thought this earlier appearance is down to changes in the climate and migration patterns. The UK has seen a high number of cases across the country and with this disease untreatable, it can be costly for the industry.
Bird flu is a damaging disease that can have a negative impact on the financial viability of poultry businesses, as while there is compensation for culled birds, sheds where birds have been exposed to the disease have to go through a very thorough and expensive cleaning and disinfection regime. In addition, housing free-range birds because of the restrictions surrounding bird flu can result in reduced egg production affecting the feasibility of production.
Here are some top tips on preventing bird flu on-farm.
Biosecurity is fundamental in controlling bird flu. The outbreaks in this country to date have mainly been as a result of the disease entering the shed through people, contaminated water or equipment. Here’s some advice on how to implement top-quality biosecurity:
Being able to closely monitor bird health, welfare and performance will allow producers to identify any potential problems linked to the disease quickly:
What if there is an outbreak in your area?
Even an outbreak in your area can have a significant impact on the way producers manage their birds such as:
What if there is an outbreak on your farm?
If you are concerned that you may have bird flu on your site, you must contact the AHPA immediately. The contact details and more information on bird flu can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu.