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Lockdown – Continued — 15 Comments

  1. Not all hens (or animals for that matter!) are as well cared for as yours so no doubt a lot of suffering is involved during the period of housing them. Let’s hope this madness will soon be over and they can potter around outside again. We have friends with semi-wild ducks on a small lake so imagine what it means for them to try and catch them for imprisonment.

    • Measures are being taken to stop the disease spreading to poultry flocks but the 1,000 free-flying swans at Abbotsbury are wild and it is not possible to completely confine them . so no containment

  2. Hello, we used to keep 4 chickens here and when I saw the original 30 days segregation, wondered how if we still had them would this be possible. Sadly, I expect a large amount of folk with a couple of birds will flout the rules, as its virtually impossible to police.
    We lost 3 of our 4 to prolapses. And were told that as we fed them organic feed it was too rich and they were producing larger eggs, I am struggling to remember which breed we had.
    You have some beautiful evocative photos on your blog btw.

  3. Pingback:Lockdown – Continued | A Small Country Living in the Outer Hebrides

  4. I imagine the chicks are enjoying the extra light in the greenhouse too,

    it amazes me when people say ‘I didn’t know that’ about something they are involved in or will/does affect them, to me it is a poor excuse,

    good post, glad people are taking notice, Frances

    • Yes, though it’s then a bit more of a challenge to create the darkish conditions they like in a nesting box! Thanks for your visit and comment, Frances

      • Influenza A viruses are found in many different animals, including ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses, seals, and cats.

        Influenza B viruses circulate widely only among humans.

        Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 18 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 11 different neuraminidase subtypes. All known subtypes of influenza A viruses have been found among birds, except subtype H17N10 and H18N11 which have only been found in bats. Below is a table showing the different hemagglutinin and neuraminidase subtypes and the species in which they have been detected.

        Wild birds are the primary natural reservoir for all subtypes of influenza A viruses and are thought to be the source of influenza A viruses in all other animals. Most influenza viruses cause asymptomatic or mild infection in birds; however, the range of symptoms in birds varies greatly depending on the properties of the virus. Infection with certain avian influenza A viruses (for example, some H5 and H7 viruses) can cause widespread, severe disease and death among some species of wild and especially domestic birds such as chickens and turkeys. (Viruses that cause severe illness and death in birds or poultry are called “highly pathogenic.”

        Pigs can be infected with both human and avian influenza viruses in addition to swine influenza viruses. Infected pigs get symptoms similar to humans, such as cough, fever and runny nose. Because pigs are susceptible to avian, human and swine influenza viruses, they potentially may be infected with influenza viruses from different species (e.g., ducks and humans) at the same time. If this happens, it is possible for the genes of these viruses to mix and create a new virus.

        For example, if a pig were infected with a human influenza virus and an avian influenza virus at the same time, the viruses could mix (reassort) and produce a new virus that had most of the genes from the human virus, but a hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase from the avian virus. The resulting new virus would likely be able to infect humans and spread from person to person, but it would have surface proteins (hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase) not previously seen in influenza viruses that infect humans. This type of major change in the influenza A viruses is known as antigenic shift. Antigenic shift results when a new influenza A subtype to which most people have little or no immune protection infects humans. If this new virus causes illness in people and can spread easily from person to person, an influenza pandemic can occur. I judge the poultry shows around Scotland and I’m very sad about the wield birds and the hens it will have a devastating affect on the hobby.

  5. We’ve had a lot of interest in this post, so we’ve added links to the current welfare codes for laying hens applicable to Scotland.

    • Thank you, Gary. We hope also that it’s informative. There’s so much to learn in keeping poultry, and we really do feel that the more that is learned, the bigger the return – whether financially or just simply satisfaction. (For us both are equally important).

  6. You must have some very happy birds. Your chook house looks fantastic. There is no requirement that I know of in the US to keep birds away from the sky and wild birds. I have hunted about the internet and local council pages but find very few references to avian flu at all. This does not mean it is not here but it does mean that the information about it has been restricted. Maybe so as not to alarm people or harm the egg market – who knows. Manipulation of information on the internet is a very real problem. But I have yet to hear anything about it. Though I don’t have as many chickens as you do they roam all over the place and the sparrows and wild birds roam about with them. I feel bad about that now. Have a lovely day. c

    • [J] Thank you Celi, we do have happy birds because we treat all our livestock with care and concern, regardless of the fact that they end up in the oven. Over 12 years or so we’ve learned so much about keeping poultry, and not from books (which don’t relate to island conditions at all!) but from mistakes – mostly expensive mistakes. Avian Flu might be known as Bird Flu in N America. US controls and checks plant/animal imports very very tightly indeed, and due to distance from E Asia (where bird flu comes from) it’s possible it is not in N America at all (it arrived in Europe about 10yrs ago). Don’t alarm yourself about contact with wild birds: here in the UK the requirement to segregate only applies if there is an order to do so, as is the case right now (the first time this has happened other than just around an individual farm). Ordinarily, the poultry can go wherever it likes, and believe us, we have LOTS of wild birds of every kind, from eagles to robins, gulls to gannets. J does a lot of trawling the internet to see how things are done elsewhere, so knows typical places to look. Today he found this: You might possibly also have county/city ordinances (if that’s the correct term?). UK legislation is based on EU law – which is very very comprehensive but incomprhensible: the UK turn it into Codes of Practice which are very well written, easy to understand, and reflect long practical experience. Here’s a link to the Scottish versions (similar in other UK countries). A lot of it is common sense and universal – eg perch rail space requirements. You might find some of these useful! BTW egg sales are unaffected, and government has been quick to reassure that there is no risk to public health from eggs. It’s lovely following your blog. Tioraidh an drasd’ / Bye for now – J+D

  7. Hi J and D, love this.

    As an ex-smallholder (well, an ex-dweller on a smallholder, and henkeeper) I was shamefully unaware of regs (though naturally highly conscientious about welfare). Next time I keep poultry I will look them up, and look to you as leads in excellent practice! I do like a thing done well.

    Thanks for all your lovely comments on my blog posts, always hugely appreciated.


    • Hello Eloise! We don’t mean to be critical of those who simply ‘don’t know’, as even current books on the poultry keeping are not very informative. It’s a pity, because the official code of practice is very helpful in understanding the practicalities of keeping hens. More so than some books, in fact, but unlike those books, the code of practice can be downloaded for free!

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