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Last week I went to some of my favourite nearby gardens, where they also happen to have some chickens. After some searching online, I think they are Golden Sebright chickens, one of the oldest British bantam breeds. Apparently, they were the first poultry breed to have its own specialist club for enthusiasts, and are a largely ornamental chicken. They lay tiny white eggs and are too small to be kept for meat.
I have a lot of respect for a largely ornamental chicken. It’s kind of sassy to say ‘you know, I’m not much use for anything other than being pretty, but keep me anyway.’
And to be fair to them, they ARE beautiful. I hung out with them for a little while, and they were full of personality.
If I didn’t have three cats and an excitable dog, I could see myself as a backyard chicken kind of a woman. I would go out and sit with them and let them climb into my jumper for a hug and we’d probably chat about our hopes and dreams and boys.
In this post though I want to talk to you about an issue that is impacting backyard bird owners throughout the UK. It’s not ‘which jumper is best to cuddle your chickens in’ – it’s bird flu.
What is bird flu and why do we need to know about it?
Avian influenza, more typically called bird flu, is a disease affecting birds in the poultry industry, backyard birds and wild birds alike. It’s normally a winter disease, peaking between December and February, but in 2022, for the first time ever, there were cases found in wild birds during the summer.
Although there is a very low human health risk associated with bird flu, it can be very harmful to bird populations as well as natural biodiversity more generally. We’re currently experiencing the biggest outbreak of bird flu that we’ve ever seen in the UK and it’s vital that all bird owners understand what they need to do to protect both their own birds and the wider bird population, no matter how few birds they keep.
It’s definitely not all doom and gloom though, and as a bird owner there’s plenty of guidance available to help you. To help keep bird flu under control, a UK-wide Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was introduced in October 2022. The AIPZ made it a legal requirement for all bird owners to follow some simple rules around biosecurity, including: View Post