Bird Wardens Keep Watch

UK - Nature experts have played down farmers' fears that bird flu could spread to Devon poultry from migrating birds.

A leading vet has called on farmers to establish the necessary arrangements to move free-range birds indoors in case they came under threat from the disease.

Dr Bob McCracken, a former president of the British Veterinary Association, said the danger of bird flu would be at its greatest during the migratory season for wild ducks.

And city MP Ben Bradshaw, the Government minister responsible for animal health, has advised people to start feeding and watering their birds indoors.

Vic Sawdye, owner of Random Poultry, at Clyst St Mary, near Exeter, who farms 7,000 chickens, said he was worried about how close his birds were to the Exe Estuary - a popular spot for migrating birds.

He said: "We are only about three miles away from the Exe. I am concerned by the threat from the birds.

"My chickens are free-range, but they already feed and drink indoors. I wouldn't want the water supply to be contaminated by wild birds.

"We have the equipment and the means to keep the chickens indoors and feed them indoors.

"There is probably more concern for people who keep chickens in their back garden who might not have the facilities."

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: "There is no proof so far that wild birds have passed on bird flu anywhere.

Source: This Is Exeter
calendar icon 13 January 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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