Jump to content
Mrs Frugal


Recommended Posts

Omlet's White Paper on Avian Flu


26 th August 2005


Most of the time keeping chickens is a huge amount of fun but every now and again something pops up which sounds a bit worrying. Avian influenza (sometimes called bird flu) is in the news at the moment because there have been cases recently in the Far East and Russia.


Could Bird flu occur in the UK?

Bird flu is not present in the UK or Europe. The last case was in 1992 on a turkey farm in East

Anglia. It was contained to just this one farm and there haven't been any cases since. The UK

has extremely strict rules on the movement of livestock; any occurrences of the disease have to be notified by law so that it can be contained quickly.

Could it affect my chickens?

It is highly unlikely that chickens kept in a back garden could catch bird flu. The main concern is that it could affect large flocks on commercial farms.

What is being done about this?

The European Union has acted quickly to ban imports of all animals capable of carrying the

disease from infected countries. The Netherlands has been badly affected in the past and so the Government there has also instructed its farmers to keep flocks indoors as this effectively limits the risk of infection from wild birds. It is reassuring that governments have taken measures long before the disease has got anywhere close to our borders.

How do Omlet keep their chickens safe?

We use a couple of the countries finest and most established suppliers of chickens. The farms are dedicated to the rearing of chickens of the highest quality and as such they are kept in clean, well insulated barns. Because of the extensive vaccination programme, the growing chickens have to be kept inside and therefore the chance of them coming into contact with birds carrying the disease is nil.

What can I do about it?

According to the Department of the Environment and Farming the risk is extremely small and

they are monitoring the situation very closely. Should any special action be required we will let

our customers know about it immediately. In the meantime normal hygiene rules apply! You

can use a pet disinfectant to clean the Eglu, food and water containers regularly to ensure that they are as hygienic as possible.


Omlet Limited

Tuthill Park




OX17 1SD

Tel:0845 450 20 56

Fax:01295 750 052



Omlet – 1st March 2006

Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.

If you keep chickens or are thinking about keeping chickens, the reporting on the current situation with avian influenza (or bird flu) has been quite confusing. To help to clarify the current situation

we have written this Fact Sheet based on the advice available from DEFRA and the Health

Protection Agency, the principal agency providing advice to the Department of Health and the

NHS. Their current advice is that it is by no means certain that avian influenza will spread to the

UK. However, if it does then there are simple measures that you can take to protect your hens

from risk.

Q. What is avian influenza?

Avian influenza is a virus that is carried by wild waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans which

can, if they come into direct contact, infect farmed poultry such as chickens and turkeys. It acts

very quickly affecting the infected birds respiratory systems and usually causes death in less than

48 hours.

Q. What is the current situation?

Avian influenza has been present in the wild bird population of south eastern Asia for many years.

Towards the end of 2005 cases were discovered in eastern Russia and more recently infected

wild birds were found in EU countries including France

Q. What have the EU countries done to protect their flocks?

Continental EU countries have acted quickly to prevent their commercial or domestic flocks from

being put at risk by ordering them to be kept under cover. This includes those who have borders

with countries where infected wild birds have been found. Because of the extremely good early

detection and swift action the EU expects to be able to minimise the cases of avian influenza in

commercial or domestic flocks.

Q. How does keeping birds under cover protect them?

As avian influenza spreads through direct contact the aim is to prevent direct contact with wild

birds. The three key areas of prevention are: wild birds mixing directly with commercial or

domestic flocks, wild birds drinking and feeding from the same containers as commercial or

domestic flocks and through the droppings of wild birds. The straightforward and effective way to

meet these criteria is to keep commercial and domestic birds in covered, enclosed runs.

Q. Does the eglu meet the guidelines?

Yes. We have been in contact with DEFRA and they have confirmed that if it is necessary to

keep your hens under cover to prevent the spread of avian influenza then the eglu with a winter

shade on the run fully meets their requirements. As the eglu is made from plastic it is extremely

easy to keep clean, you can use a pet safe disinfectant both inside and out, which is another

simple way of preventing disease generally. For more information from DEFRA on this please

see http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/notifiable/disease/ai/pdf/separating.pdf

Q. What will happen if avian influenza does arrive in the UK?

DEFRA takes regular samples from wild birds in order to detect any instances of the virus quickly.

If infected wild birds were found in the UK then the most likely scenario is that people with

chickens or other birds would need to keep them under cover as described above. Eggs are

perfectly safe to eat and.

Q. Is there anything I can do to at the moment?

No, as avian flu is not present in this country there are no special measures to take. We will of

course keep you updated if the situation changes. If you find any dead wild birds you should

contact DEFRA.

Q. Where can I find out more?

Two reliable sources of information are the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

(DEFRA) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Both are responsible for the health and

safety of the population and while DEFRA is a government department, the HPA is an

independent body.

The DEFRA webpage for avian flu can be found here:


and the relevant pages of the HPA are:


Alternatively, please feel free to call Omlet directly on 0845 450 2056


Tuthill Park



OX17 1RR


Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope the sensible info from the omlet guys is reassuring everyone as we are bombarded by totally irresponsible scaremongering tripe from the media.


One thing I did last week, after discussing hen things in general with my vet when Pollo had to have antibiotics for an infected foot (limp now gone) is that I have moved my wild bird feeders out of my open topped hen run, to another part of the back yard. I've also stopped throwing down handfuls of mixed corn into the run that the girls have been sharing with lots of wild birds. I now just throw down a tiny bit for the girls to scratch and eat and stay for the whole 30 secs it takes them to gobble it up. It is just a part of good hygiene not to do things that will encourage lots of wild birds to be in very close proximity with my hens for prolonged periods of time. There is already a marked change in the behaviour of the wild birds in the backyard and the hens now get about the same level of exposure to them as I do. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Latest bulletin from DEFRA - 25th August 2005


Latest information on Avian Flu


"The experts agreed that the recent outbreaks of avian influenza in Russia are a cause for concern but that the risk of the virus spreading into the EU via migrating birds is remote or low. They concluded that it would not be proportionate to the current risk of disease to introduce a general ban on keeping poultry outdoors."

Edited by Guest
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Omlet hens are NOT vaccinated against Avian Flu. I would recommend going to the DEFRA website and reading the information they have there. There is a question and answer section plus several factsheets which you can print off with valuable information and the latest news on the spread of the disease is on their front page - http://www.defra.gov.uk/


There are two excellent booklets which you can print off from the DEFRA website which tell you all about keeping your hens safe. I think it's aimed mostly at commercial poultry farmers but the information on wild birds and housing might be useful to us backyard chicken keepers:-


Separating flocks from wild birds


Biosecurity and Preventing Disease

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that there are a lot of people worrying about AI and what the effect might be if (or when) it reaches Britain. Many of the worries are unfounded and irrational but that is how worries often work. There is a lot of misinformation in the media but if you follow the information given on this forum your chooks will be quite safe.


It is not necessary yet to isolate your chickens but some people are doing it now to give added peace of mind. Isolation means ensuring your chooks are not exposed to wild birds or their droppings. There will probably never be a risk from wild garden birds but only from migratory water fowl, ducks, geese swans etc. If it ever does get here the biggest risk will be from farm birds being moved around the country which I am sure the authorities will regulate closely after the lessons learnt from foot and mouth.


To isolate your chooks is really quite easy. You do not need to keep your hens indoors. The term indoors for us means covering their run with something to keep out birds and their poo. This can be anything and members have used the Official winter cover, combined with the summer shade to give 100% roof coverage, the much favoured ikea shower curtain trick (info available on forum). some have used corrugated plastic bent over their run. In order to keep out even the smallest birds you can cover the remainder of the vertical wall wit finer mesh such as fruit cage net.


If your chooks are in their run all day it is a good idea to give them something to keep them entertained. My chooks are not very good a jig saw puzzles but the love digging in the big deep tub of soil I give them looking for the interesting things I add like meal worms and grain. Things to jump up on (I have a small ikea wooden stool (from the gardening section) which Gerty loves to stand on. I'm sure there are many things others will think of.


Please reassure your wife that the AI threat will not affect our chooks, it is the big farmers who may have problems, not us.


Kate posted these links


Separating flocks from wild birds


Biosecurity and Preventing Disease


they are very good and informative but must be read with large commercial flocks in mind. They do also mention back yard flocks.


I'm sorry this has been a long reply but I hope it has helped you :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have spoken to a DEFRA vet who advised me as of today, there are no vacinations available for domestic chickens, only commercial. And as yet they have said it is not yet a requirement for them to vacinate yet! But that might all change later, so watch the web site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No need to panic just yet, but a cat has been found dead from bird flu, and several large cats in zoos have died after eating birds infected with the deadly flu. This is worrying, as it confirms that the virus is indeed capable of mutating enough to cross a species barrier.


But now my cats can get AI, if they ate an infected dead or otherwise bird they caught. My hens are happy enough being kept in, but I have two cats, one of which is a very energetic tabby who will take extreme umbrage at not being to get out of the cat flap. :(


Asda only buy chicken from UK sources - guaranteed uk fowl. Stock up now, soon the whole country will work this out, and we'll run out. We rely heavily on imports of (cheap, water-filled, pork-contaminated :x ) chicken portions. Kids chicken nuggets in restaurants/burger bars ... you get the picture. Mine aren't eating it any more. I can't take the risk that it's not cooked properly.


We can be relieved that the virus is not airborn. If it does become airborn, probably by allying itself with another already airborn transmissable virus like our 'flu, we may be in a bit of trouble.


Meanwhile, we eat soft cooked eggs with impunity. :D Aren't hens supposed to suffer a drop in egg production in the winter? No-one told mine! The neighbours are doing rather well out of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The objective is to separate hens from wild birds and wild bird droppings that could drop from the sky :roll:


So anything for the side of a run that keeps wild birds out of the run, plus whatever will stop wild bird poop dropping from the sky into the run should do the job nicely. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've just copied the Omlet White Paper and Avian Flu Fact sheet into the posting at the beginning of this thread and that should answer any questions anyone has about the risks from this latest outbreak. If you have any other queries, DEFRA have good information on their website as well as a helpline - http://www.defra.gov.uk/ 08459 33 55 77

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Dorset. About 2 miles from the monitoring area! It is very scary! Many of my friends have plots of land with Geese and/ or chickens on! As well as other animals.

My vet has said to keep them in a covered run or in the house (theirs or yours!!!!)! Looks like I may have 3 house chickens, as well as 5 dogs and 2 cats!!! Good job I am not house proud LOL LOL


Does the mix sound good!? The dogs are fine (despite 4 being gun dogs!) as they are all terrified of the girls! :lol::lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...