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Avian flu

(52 Posts)
desertmum Wed 07-Dec-16 07:29:21

Not sure if you will have all seen this, but we all have to keep our girls inside for 30 days due to the risk of avian flu -|Facebook|FarmersWeekly|sf45189173|sf45189173

I have 12 which is manageable, my friend has 500 free range hens which is a lot more difficult. While I know it is easy to think that our few in the back garden are exempt, they aren't, and we need to do what we can so those people whose livelihoods depend on their chickens don't have to do a cull.

NiceCuppaTeaAndASitDown Wed 07-Dec-16 07:35:56

I'm worried about how to do this as ours are entirely free range. I guess we need to build a temporary fence and net over the top, or is that not enough?
Last time we had to keep one of them was a year ago and we sacrificed our downstairs loo for a month but I wouldn't be comfortable with 5 of them in there as it's only about three square metres!

JillJ72 Wed 07-Dec-16 07:57:48

Have a look on DEFRA for the advice pages and also their approved list of disinfectants. Jeyes is on the list; usually available in supermarkets.

desertmum Wed 07-Dec-16 08:20:27

the problem with netting is that it still lets in the bird poo of birds flying over head. Love the idea of them in the downstairs loo! We have an old shed in the back garden that we could use as it is due for demolition in the spring, but it could be stressful as the dogs would want to get in. So think we will use part of our polytunnel - but still a job to get it so wild birds can't get in - it is open ended at the moment. So that is today's project.

NiceCuppaTeaAndASitDown Wed 07-Dec-16 08:41:37

Good point about the netting being open. I'll have a search online today and I'm sure we'll be able to build something reasonable for them. Polytunnel could be a winner.

Bonus picture of our indoor girl! She got quite fond of laying in the sink

DairyingLass Wed 07-Dec-16 08:47:28

I have about 7 chickens and 12 Muscovy ducks, they've all become a bit feral blush. I'll have to try and entice them into a shed later, not going to be easy. At least it's a massive shed, so once in they should be reasonably comfortable in terms of freedom to move around. They'll have to navigate boxes of logs and farm machinery, but oh well. Needs must!

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 08:58:30

Its a bit of a worry isn't it. Mine free range but are probably going to have to go into the mower shed with the lights on.

marmiteisessential Wed 07-Dec-16 09:18:17

Can I pop my girls in the greenhouse? Will they be safe in there? Not sure where else to put them!

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 09:20:01

Greenhouse would be a good option IMO because you won't have to provide artificial light.

marmiteisessential Wed 07-Dec-16 09:25:36

Thanks atticus

lookingforbaubles Wed 07-Dec-16 09:49:42

sods law isnt it - i have 2 new chickens as of last night after a few years of non chicken keeping due to fox trauma

Shallishanti Wed 07-Dec-16 09:59:15

we only have 4 but I don't have anywhere to put them, and the run is far too big to cover - can't see that there's anything I can do really. But our hens don't have any contact with other hens even indirectly so if the worst come to the worst they may catch it but won't spread it

desertmum Wed 07-Dec-16 10:11:08

You can be fined up to £5000 for not putting your chickens under cover apparently so it may be worth trying. The whole point of putting them under cover is so that wild birds can't spread it from chicken run to chicken run. Whether you have one or a million it is a requirement for all chicken owners.

One of ours has been ill for a week with a cold, she has been in isolation and on antibiotics - now she is going for swabs this afternoon to check whether it is mycoplasma or avian flu. Fingers and everything else crossed for her as if she is positive all our girls will have to be culled.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 10:15:06

How can your run be too big to cover? Even the largest of runs could surely be covered by four or five large clear plastic tarpaulins? Without meaning to sound harsh, it's those who don't bother who will cause problems for everyone. All you need is for a small bird to squeeze in (which they do as winter draws in to get to food and water) and then you have potentially enabled it to spread.

marmiteisessential Wed 07-Dec-16 10:16:41

That really is sods law baubles . Another question from me. What can I do to keep my birds happy indoors? I haven't had to have them in before and still quite new to chicken keeping. I hope it is good news for you desert .

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 10:19:04

Mine are generally fine indoors. One year when we had bad snow we had them in the mower shed for a couple of months with artificial lighting. As long as they have plenty of bedding food water and grit (because they won't pick this up off the ground) they should be fine. I gave mine warm porridge treats too and put a few large branches in there for them to fly up onto.

desertmum Wed 07-Dec-16 10:45:12

thanks Marmite.

I like the idea of branches in with them - have been wracking my brains on how to give them some perches. Our final solution is to put them in the sheep shelter which we can make wild bird proof, then if it gets very cold the sheep can go into the polytunnel as they don't need bird proofing.

Most of mine are ex-battery hens so should be OK indoors for a month or so.

thereinmadnesslies Wed 07-Dec-16 10:54:49

We have a large flowerpot in the run filled with sand and mud so they can dust bathe. I'm thinking of buying a few rolls of turf so they can still peck the grass

Shallishanti Wed 07-Dec-16 11:38:21

it's not so much a run as the bottom end of the garden, even if the sky wards area could be covered there is fence on 2 sides and hedge on the other, trust me it can't be done. If the worst happens and our hens are infected it won't affect anyone else unless they bring their hens round for a party.

atticusclaw2 Wed 07-Dec-16 12:02:18

It will potentially affect others though because you will have infected hens and more wild birds coming in and out and getting infected and passing it to other birds etc.

Just buy or mock up a cheap run for them and act responsibly.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Dec-16 14:13:47

a quick thought for all of us tarping our runs - if we do get snow later on this month remember to remove the snow so that no one gets flattened chickens.

I know it's a palaver, but if they are having to be confined to runs and they aren't on concrete the tarps will stop the ground turning to mud too.

thereinmadnesslies Wed 07-Dec-16 14:28:19

Ooh OhYouBadBadKitten is that a hint that we might get snow later this month?

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 07-Dec-16 14:37:08

it's possible I think. after this ridiculous warmth, it looks like it will probably cool down rather after mid month. So any cover solutions should take into account snow removal!

porsmork Wed 07-Dec-16 21:43:06

I'm going to keep mine in the eglu run. It's covered, and food and water can't be reached.
But, it's already pretty muddy in there as the girls have pecked up the grass (3 Pekin bantams). What can I do to improve that?

Pixel Wed 07-Dec-16 22:31:17

Mine will have to stay in the run, I literally have nowhere else to put them. It's got a roof and is only open at the front so it's the best I can do. I guess small birds like tits or wrens might be able to get through the wire but I've honestly never seen a single bird in there or anywhere near. The only things I've ever seen sitting on it are cats and squirrels.

I'm now wondering about something the vet said to me the other week. I'd found an injured pigeon in the street and wrapped it in a towel and took it to the vet. Unfortunately he couldn't save it but at least it was put out of its misery. Anyway, I said to the vet "Oh before I go can I just wash my hands? I'm going home to feed my chickens and I don't want to pass anything on". He said to go ahead but he doubted there was any risk. Now we are told that yes there is a risk!

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