Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => The Hen House => Topic started by: Yorkie on January 12, 2018, 20:01

Title: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: Yorkie on January 12, 2018, 20:01
First cases of the year found in Dorset

Bird flu confirmed in 17 wild animals in Dorset | The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/bird-flu-uk-dorset-latest-wild-animals-news-updates-a8156381.html)
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: sunshineband on January 12, 2018, 20:01
My heart sank Here we go again.....
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on January 13, 2018, 09:46
My heart sank Here we go again.....

Hopefully not.  Abbotsbury is home to the swannery.  Their swans stay put, but it no doubt attracts other waterfowl that have migrated.  The virus is around in various countries, but not, as yet, anything like as bad as last year. 

It does always seem to be waterfowl that bring it in.  I am near the Thames, so my lot are staying in for a few weeks just in case.  They have covered runs and their food and water are only accessible to them.  It may cost me a few extra greens, but I'd rather play safe.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: spottymint on January 18, 2018, 19:04
In the Metro, looks like bird flu biosecurity is back.

Bird flu: 'Prevention zone' extended nationwide after more than 40 confirmed infections - Get Surrey (http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/bird-flu-prevention-zone-extended-14171762)

Edit to title to help with searches for recent info
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on January 19, 2018, 10:47
Latest from Defra - keep 'em safe folks!

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2017-to-2018#history
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on January 21, 2018, 00:54
Sadly, I think its looking quite bad and I wouldn't be surprised if a nationwide housing order comes out within the next couple of weeks maybe even sooner. Dr Nigel Gibbens, Chief Veterinary Officer who has a big influence on these decisions is due to retire at the end of next month so I'm guessing he'll err on the side of caution as will the NFU.

There have been two more outbreaks in wild birds since the one in Dorset. One in Warwickshire and the other yesterday near Cambridge.

The first outbreak was in 15 Mute Swans but a Common Pochard and a Canada Goose also died.

The second outbreak in Warwickshire involved, a Herring Gull, 6 Great black-backed Gulls, a Great Crested Grebe and 5 Tufted Ducks. All European H5N6.

The 3rd outbreak is at Amwell Nature Reserve, Hertfordshire, which is now closed but there's no information available yet about what species / virus were involved. I expect that will come out in the next couple of days.

If we're lucky then maybe that'll be the end of it but in my heart I think its just getting going. Hope I'm wrong.

The thing that's really worrying me is that spring migration is just around the corner and its possible we might see the return of H5N8 as well. I'm no expert but it seems a little unusual that there are active outbreaks in places where the temperatures ranges are 10-30 C like South Africa and Saudi Arabia to mention a couple.

I know it really sucks to keep birds in and you can't help feeling sorry for them being cooped up, but you should see what happens in countries where controls aren't so tight. There are plenty of countries in Africa where they've had to import breeding eggs as they didn't have any left. In Iran they had had to stamp out 17 million birds over the past 10 months and South Africa killed millions in order to get it under control...







Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on January 21, 2018, 08:19
I've merged the bird flu threads so we keep the information in one place.

Bio-security is back for England already  - see the links in the posts below for DEFRA and the Metro. 

Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on January 23, 2018, 23:56
An interesting Risk Assessment about bird flu was published yesterday. Its a long read but basically concludes that the big risk factor looks like its going to be Gulls. Down side is that they'll spread it in the wild but the upside is that good biosecurity looks like it could be enough and it doesn't look like there will need to be a housing order yet.

To be honest its the first time I've read anything from a government body in years that seemed well thought through and it was fascinating to see the thinking behind how they actually work out the risk levels.

Main positive is that it may not transfer that easily to chickens, fingers crossed.

I have to confess to being a bit obsessed about this stuff, as last year we had a massive problem with people refusing to put their birds away on our allotments. It was such a wind up for the committee, that I'm dreading a housing order.

I'm pretty new here so I hope its OK blathering on about this stuff

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/675425/rapid-risk-assessment-avian-flu-wild-birds-H5N6-180121.pdf
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on January 24, 2018, 11:56

I'm pretty new here so I hope its OK blathering on about this stuff

Yes of course it is  :)  That is an interesting link, so thank you for posting it.  I'm going to have a good read through later.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on January 24, 2018, 16:27
"An all Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone is to come into place at midnight tonight.

A veterinary risk assessment for England and Wales shows that the risk level for disease in wild birds has increased from Medium to High.

The risk associated with direct and indirect transmission to poultry has also increased from Low to Medium.

The risk to poultry, however, is dependent on the level of biosecurity at individual sites."

http://www.walesfarmer.co.uk/news/local_news/15894326.Bird_flu_prevention_zone_set_up_across_Wales__Welsh_Government_announces/
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on January 31, 2018, 11:53
Farming UK is reporting new wild outbreaks in the UK also in the Netherlands there was another wild outbreak again involving gulls.

"four more areas have been identified including a nature reserve in Hertford, a river in Oakham, Rutland, a country park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and a lake in North West London."
https://www.farminguk.com/news/Gulls-risk-spreading-bird-flu-as-six-sites-test-now-positive-throughout-England_48492.html

The problem with gulls is that at least some of them are overwintering in the south and as temperatures rise they will drift north. Restrictions in Scotland seem very likely soon.

Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on February 07, 2018, 21:08
A big outbreak in Windsor has killed a lot of swans.

Windsor Swans: Bird flu confirmed in Queen's flock - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-42975121)

We are upstream and I hope it doesn't spread this way.  There are lots of swans on the Thames in Reading and they are very popular here, as are all the other waterfowl.  They are always happy to see anyone with a bag of bread and will take it from your hand if you dare risk your fingers.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on March 10, 2018, 09:25
Another outbreak in wild birds has occurred near Bourne.

"On February 28, two wild greylag geese and two wild pheasants were found dead close to a farm near Bourne."

https://lincolnshirereporter.co.uk/2018/03/warning-confirmed-bird-flu-cases-near-bourne/

There was also a recent confirmation of H5N6 in a dead buzzard found in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

http://www.walesfarmer.co.uk/news/local_news/16062012.Avian_flu_buzzard_found_in_Vale_of_Glamorgan/

In Ireland there have been two recent findings in Tipperary, a white tailed sea eagle and a buzzard.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/first-case-of-bird-flu-strain-confirmed-in-co-tipperary-1.3386811

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/public-advised-not-to-touch-dead-or-sick-birds-as-bird-flu-confirmed-in-common-buzzard-36688412.html

In earlier posts I've mentioned my concern that these flu virus' may have adapted to warmer temperatures and it appears that I am not alone in these concerns. H5N8 was recently found in a large poultry flock in Bergamo, Italy where temperatures are around 10C.

Avian influenza in Italy: updates (http://www.izsvenezie.com/avian-influenza-italy-updates/)

"Italy's recent run of avian flu (emerging in the summer, disappearing in the winter) runs contrary to the usual pattern, but then, HPAI H5 has been full of surprises over the past couple of years."

Avian Flu Diary: Italy: IZSV Announces H5N8 Outbreak In Bergamo province (http://afludiary.blogspot.com/2018/03/italy-iszv-announces-h5n8-outbreak-in.html)

Additionally there have been very recent outbreaks of H5N8 in Bulgaria where temperatures are 6-15C.

We may yet escape a housing order but  if there's an outbreak of H5N6 in a poultry flock,  or if we see a return of H5N8 to our shores as temperatures climb, then I think that will be the tipping point for DEFRA.




Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: rowbow on March 10, 2018, 10:44
Looks like bird auctions are going to suffer, put a cover on the runs, clean your wellies.  :( seagulls are coming more inland, herons are increasing in numbers do they carry the virus?  :ohmy:
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on March 10, 2018, 12:40
....herons are increasing in numbers do they carry the virus?  :ohmy:
Herons have died in the past from H5N1 and H5N8 so its very likely that they could be susceptible to this new H5N6 virus
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: Aidy on March 13, 2018, 22:18
I always keep an eye on this thread as well as having notifications from ALPHA. Question... has anybody here registered their chucks? I know we dont have too (if less than 50) but wondered if anyone has.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on March 23, 2018, 23:34
First case of H5N6 in Northern Ireland -  County Antrim

https://www.fginsight.com/news/buzzard-found-with-bird-flu-in-co-antrim-56366

Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on April 11, 2018, 22:03
The latest situation assessment from DEFRA is out.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/698979/avian-flu-wild-birds-H5N6-180410.pdf

The short takeaway from the report is that the risk level for H5N6 remains high but there have still been no poultry outbreaks despite it being widespread in the wild.

Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on April 12, 2018, 08:49
We do seem to have dodged a bullet with poultry this year.  Hopefully the higher temperatures and drier weather next week will see it off.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on April 12, 2018, 11:31
We do seem to have dodged a bullet with poultry this year.  Hopefully the higher temperatures and drier weather next week will see it off.

Let's hope so.

My big concern is that I've been tracking the temperature ranges where H5N8 outbreaks have occurred and generally over the past few months they've been in the 10-30C range and not in the colder temperatures you'd normally expect for Avian Influenza transmission.

The most recent outbreak was in Yambol, Bulgaria, with temperatures ranging between roughly 10-20C. Similar temperature ranges applied to the recent outbreaks in Italy, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and many more.

The possibility that's bothering me, that is getting very little attention, is that the virus is incredibly adaptable and may have already adapted to spreading in warmer temperatures. Let's not forget that the last outbreak of H5N8 in the UK occurred in June.

DEFRA are quite right to point out that we're better situated to avoid infection spreading from mainland Europe but the possibility remains that we may have dormant mutated H5N8 that will be activated by the warmer temperatures that are about to arrive.

I suppose its pointless speculating as we are about to find out anyway but the DEFRA analyst's may have missed a trick here and the risk of H5N8 showing up in the warmer weather could turn out to be higher than they've suggested.

As usual the only protection we have is good biosecurity but from personal experience that is patchy at best when looking at small flocks.

Last year the NFU president Meurig Raymond was hinting at tougher measures, maybe even trying to stop people keeping a few birds. He's left now but I've since seen a hardening of attitudes at the NFU.  If we get another round of outbreaks with most of the sources being small holdings then keeping poultry at all might be under threat.

This two minute clip from 2017 is a pretty good illustration of where they are coming from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr5F8PPdabI&t=1s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr5F8PPdabI&t=1s)







Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: grinling on April 13, 2018, 21:19
And any poultry farmer will make contact with their vet!!!!

MoyPark was fined for not calling in a vet when dead chickens arrived for slaughter....
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: New shoot on April 14, 2018, 08:28
I reckon it is inevitable they will add teeth to orders regarding housing or bio security at some point.  Fair enough as the rules apply to us all - commercial production units or backyard keepers.  It would be fairly easy to check up on people with drones and the like.

I think they would have to go that route before trying to ban small flocks.  If we were then exposed as flagrant rule breakers, things could get serious.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: grinling on April 14, 2018, 18:52
bio security is easy to check up on as they have to buy x amount at y costs, so receipts should be seen.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on April 17, 2018, 23:27
Very interesting comments grinling and New shoot.

One thing I noticed is that DEFRA did increase the penalties last year.  It used to be that the maximum fine was 5000 and up to 3 months in prison per offence. I'm not sure when but sometime in the last year they upped the potential fine to unlimited.

That sounds bad and its definitely intended as a deterrent but in practice I suspect that what's more likely to happen is that a Trading Standards Animal Health Officer will turn up and politely remind people of what could happen. From what little experience I've had, they prefer people to come into compliance rather than just instantly fine / sentence people. Historically it seems to have been pretty rare that anyone has been fined.

I was digging around last year into the powers that the Animal Health Inspectors have and I doubt they'd use drones as that gear is quite expensive and takes quite a bit of skill to operate, plus they don't really need them. If an animal is involved then an inspector can already go pretty much anywhere and use any means necessary to get in and look around. In theory they don't even have to go to court to apply a fine, they can just do it on the spot, though I've yet to find an example of that happening. That might just mean that cases like that just don't turn up on Google though.

I think New shoot is right that they won't just jump straight to banning small flocks, it'll take a period where they demonstrate that lots of people are ignoring the rules and if fining lots of people doesn't bring it under control then they might really begin to think about bans and even then probably just in areas that are real hot spots.

We're generally very lucky in the UK as usually the avian influenza that does arrive on our shores doesn't easily infect people. If one arrives in the future that is very dangerous to people then I think the authorities could get very heavy handed. For now, what I'm seeing is a growing frustration from the NFU whose members livelihoods are at stake and overstretched Trading Standards departments lagging behind which is a volatile combination, as County Councils are generally having to make a lot of cuts. Long term it's definitely a political hot potato.
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on May 23, 2018, 20:35
DEFRA's latest rapid risk assessment has downgraded the risk of bird flu in wild birds to low.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/708535/avian-flu-rra-may2018.pdf

The NFU online site is predicting that Avian Influenza Prevention Zone may be lifted shortly but that is yet to be confirmed. Unless there's another outbreak it seems likely to be lifted in the coming weeks.

https://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/ai-risk-level-for-wild-birds-reduced-to-low/





Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: LosPollosHermanos on May 25, 2018, 16:08
Prevention Zone restrictions lifted:

https://www.farminguk.com/news/Avian-Influenza-Prevention-Zone-lifted-across-England_49384.html
Title: Re: Bird Flu 2018
Post by: sunshineband on May 25, 2018, 16:44
Thank goodness! Our local chicken club has been waiting and waiting to have a new flock  :D :D :D