As you may have seen DEFRA have imposed an England wide restriction requiring all farmed and kept birds to be moved under cover because of the perceived Brid Flu threat. They need to be placed in areas where wild birds are unable to have contact with them.
This is a 30 day prevention order and will last until 6th January next year – however there is a chance it will be extended.
In practice this means the Geese have had to be brought in to live in one of the pens we have in the Alpaca shed. I have fox proofed it and made it so the wild birds cannot get to them. A foot bath has been placed outside the door to reduce the risk of stepping in infected wild bird poo and walking it in the stall the geese are living in.
The Geese are used to only coming at night so are understandably not happy. And they are very intent on telling you all about it!!. Mavis the head goose tries to dive out every time the door is opened. Naturally we have had to get a lot more food in as they will eat at least twice as much inside away from their natural grazing – they are entirely reliant on us to feed them now, plus we visited the market to get loads of differing veg to keep them amused/healthy.
The chickens also needed to be covered – they also are used to free ranging however they are used to being locked in occasionally if a fox is around so its not an entire shock to them. However they are as unhappy as the geese!!
The chicken coop is actually located in a large fruit cage – with all round netting and wire around the bottom. All we needed to do to comply with the DEFRA order was to put some tarpaulins over the top to stop wild bird poo. Having done that we had the pleasure on Saturday night of every hour going out in the heavy rain clearing the pooling water to stop it all collapsing!!! Deep joy…….
Anyway, this set up allows the Chickens to at least stay out in the sunshine………our B plan if the taups no longer work is to bring them in to a stall like the geese (which is prepared just in case). Again much food and veg has been obtained to keep them going (the organic veg smallholder on the market gave us a pile of carrot tops for the chickens to help out – they love these)
It seems locally some people have taken the order seriously and taken action to comply – but some seem either not to know about it or have done nothing…………with their birds still out and about.
We will see how it all goes.
DEFRA have done this as a preventative measure as a worse then usual strain has swept across Europe – I think that perhaps they need to communicate a bit more though………..i.e why wasn’t this called as the bird migrations started and not as they end and why wasn’t it done when the one and only outbreak in this country occurred about 2 months ago in Scotland?