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Anyone got any idea how long this avian flu lockdown is likely to continue?  My chickens are doing their nut!

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Mine are showing always looking to come out of their run and one has become a bully.  They have enough room but they are used to free-ranging.  My feather-pecker is in a small part of the run shut off from the rest and has been there since the 18th December when she reverted to her bad behaviour.  Maybe a long period of enforced separation will do the trick where nothing else has.  I don’t like keeping them in as they obviously get stressed; they are also a lot more work.  As it is the law I will comply, although I notice that quite a few people are not doing so.

I echo your sentiments, Annabel.

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52 minutes ago, Columbian said:

 As it is the law I will comply, although I notice that quite a few people are not doing so.

When there was a bird flu lockdown a few years ago - and fortunately not a human lockdown then - we drove to Flyte So Fancy in Somerset to get some woodchips and I was amazed at how many people on the way there, had their chickens running around outside.

It seemed very unfair that they didn't obey the rules then, and obviously, from what @Columbian just said, some not now either. There are always those that don't care as this human lockdown proves and the bird flu lockdown too.

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Make plans for it to go on until April, then you won’t be disappointed.    The local Councils are tasked with ensuring compliance.  It is Trading Standards who usually lead.  In my experience, they take a helpful rather than punitive approach first so contact them if you need too. 

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Thanks everyone.  I think I read the last avian flu had chickens locked down for just 3 weeks?  This appears to be a worse case.  

Mine, like Columbian, are used to free ranging every day so are really bored.  I was planning on getting rid off all the wood chips in spring and refreshing so I may do that now. I've been trying all the old tricks like new perches, interesting slow release treats (anyone tried the Chicken Ball?)- throwing corn in the woodchips, they even have another grass run they get to go in an hour a day (which the grass is now destroyed) but it's hardly a day's entertainment.

Feel so sorry for the chickens all round the country as they have no idea why they can't go out in the garden they can see through their cage.  I know we're all in the same boat.  Really difficult when you can't see an end in sight.

On a positive note, at least my spring bulbs will get a chance to come up this year!

13 hours ago, Columbian said:

Mine are showing always looking to come out of their run and one has become a bully.  They have enough room but they are used to free-ranging.  My feather-pecker is in a small part of the run shut off from the rest and has been there since the 18th December when she reverted to her bad behaviour.  Maybe a long period of enforced separation will do the trick where nothing else has.  I don’t like keeping them in as they obviously get stressed; they are also a lot more work.  As it is the law I will comply, although I notice that quite a few people are not doing so.

I echo your sentiments, Annabel.

I expect you won't be alone with bad behaviours coming through in this boring time.  I have a young cockerel which reached sexual maturity in this chicken lockdown and he does not stop crowing (unless he is in the grass run when he is then almost silent as he is stimulated), I have a timid hen that's decided to bully another and an ex-caged hen who is looking thinner daily and the cockerel who has decided to mate goodness knows how many times because he is bored!  I expect there will be many more stories to come from other chicken owners esp the ones with the free-ranging ladies now locked up in prison!

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Strange how this part of France takes a rather different approach, in some respects more radical and in others less so. Here it is affecting free-ranging commercial ducks. They are sold on that basis and the businesses certainly don't have the space to put them under cover. There are hundreds of farms either slaughtered because they have it, or slaughtered within a 3km radius of an outbreak as a precaution if the Mayor considers it prudent. The total now is 350,000 and the industry may well shrink further as it has after the last two outbreaks. Movement restrictions are only within 3km of an outbreak and there is no mention about chickens; certainly not 'pets'. If there is an outbreak near us (and there are several duck farms) I don't know whether our chickens would be slaughtered or not?

A few years ago the local Mayor asked people with a 'basse-cour' (farmyard) to identify themselves, but as we don't sell produce we didn't need to. We've checked with the Mayor here and there are no restrictions in place at the moment. On that basis we're off to collect a cockerel from up North next week, as soon as the weather improves. Hopefully they won't put any movement restrictions in before that, but our route takes us quite close to a current restricted area and we obviously couldn't move through one on the way back. He will be quarantined for two weeks when he arrives anyway.

I feel very sorry for UK domestic chicken keepers having to deal with the stress of confining their chickens, irrespective of where they live. It seems unnecessary, based on the approach taken here.

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5 hours ago, Annabel said:

think I read the last avian flu had chickens locked down for just 3 weeks? 

That’s definitely not the case - it was months 

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Oh no.  When the days get longer it will be harder on the chicken to be kept confined.  Let’s hope that it’s over by February; I think I can tolerate the thought for that long but will struggle for longer.  Whatever.

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23 hours ago, Beantree said:

Strange how this part of France takes a rather different approach, in some respects more radical and in others less so. Here it is affecting free-ranging commercial ducks. They are sold on that basis and the businesses certainly don't have the space to put them under cover. There are hundreds of farms either slaughtered because they have it, or slaughtered within a 3km radius of an outbreak as a precaution if the Mayor considers it prudent. The total now is 350,000 and the industry may well shrink further as it has after the last two outbreaks. Movement restrictions are only within 3km of an outbreak and there is no mention about chickens; certainly not 'pets'. If there is an outbreak near us (and there are several duck farms) I don't know whether our chickens would be slaughtered or not?

A few years ago the local Mayor asked people with a 'basse-cour' (farmyard) to identify themselves, but as we don't sell produce we didn't need to. We've checked with the Mayor here and there are no restrictions in place at the moment. On that basis we're off to collect a cockerel from up North next week, as soon as the weather improves. Hopefully they won't put any movement restrictions in before that, but our route takes us quite close to a current restricted area and we obviously couldn't move through one on the way back. He will be quarantined for two weeks when he arrives anyway.

I feel very sorry for UK domestic chicken keepers having to deal with the stress of confining their chickens, irrespective of where they live. It seems unnecessary, based on the approach taken here.

That is an interesting approach.  It seems sensible not to have a blanket approach though there is the stricter 3km cull zones.  I guess your chickens get to enjoy their freedom and all is fine unless you have a local outbreak but even then you're not sure if your chickens would need to be affected.

19 hours ago, Columbian said:

Oh no.  When the days get longer it will be harder on the chicken to be kept confined.  Let’s hope that it’s over by February; I think I can tolerate the thought for that long but will struggle for longer.  Whatever.

Yeah I didn't expect it to continue for so long.  My cockerel is starting to be quite aggressive and I've read I should be picking him up but that is vey difficult as I try to get him as he is walking away but he turns on me and also side walks looking at me the whole time.  It's a bit nerve racking going in the enclosure so I am thinking about rehoming him but hubby thinks we should wait until they are allowed to freerange to see if it is the confinement which is affecting his behaviour so I was hoping to be able to let them out soon - but guessing not!  I moved all their perches and food containers yesterday to make things a little more interesting so let's see if that adds some excitement to an otherwise utterly boring Groundhog day!

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It is never nice to hear people struggling and I know it has been hard on some.

This has been the reality for chicken owners for the past few years now and most of us here have realised because of this, that you need to be prepared for keeping your chickens indoors for longer periods of time. Yes it is good to try and keep your chickens entertained, but biggest part of the whole issue in my opinion is manage expectations. If chickens expect they have all day every day freedom, then a transition into being kept in permanently is a very big adjustment. Chickens are creatures of habit and routine. They will come to expect and mostly demand whatever they are given on a regular basis.

When the lockdown is over, you might want to review your routine and their expectations to not be confronted with the same problems next year.

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8 hours ago, Beantree said:

We had the same problem during the night and it almost stopped after we electrified the enclosure. We think they were being disturbed by foxes. However one still lays on the floor, despite using lovely soft moss in the nest box. She also lays during the night and to avoid broken eggs we covered the floor with shavings and laid feed bags on top. This acts as a cushion, so her eggs don't break on impact. Can't get her to lay in the nest box at all.

Moss sounds interesting @Beantree we have some in the gardens we look after, I will have to get raking and drying

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strange how different countries react.  But like all things, I suppose, we all do things differently.  I’ve started to give my girls their porridge at different times.  I found they were demanding it and not eating their layers pellets at all.  At least for the last couple of days they’ve eaten layers in the morning.  But they do try to escape all the time! 

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On 1/10/2021 at 11:08 AM, Cat tails said:

It is never nice to hear people struggling and I know it has been hard on some.

This has been the reality for chicken owners for the past few years now and most of us here have realised because of this, that you need to be prepared for keeping your chickens indoors for longer periods of time. Yes it is good to try and keep your chickens entertained, but biggest part of the whole issue in my opinion is manage expectations. If chickens expect they have all day every day freedom, then a transition into being kept in permanently is a very big adjustment. Chickens are creatures of habit and routine. They will come to expect and mostly demand whatever they are given on a regular basis.

When the lockdown is over, you might want to review your routine and their expectations to not be confronted with the same problems next year.

Yes I was thinking that they are only struggling as it is against their routine and expectations of a free-ranging lifestyle.  I have also been thinking (rather selfishly) that it would be nice when the spring comes to not give them from sun rise to sun set to dig up all my flowers and poo all over the garden - so I may well stick to a few hours free ranging a day.  I can't help but think this is a little cruel given I can offer them more and they love it so much but it may be being 'cruel to me kind' in the long run and inevitable later lockdown!

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It has always amazed me how incredibly destructive a few small chickens can be! Thos very rare moments they get to go into the garden, they manage to tear up several plant beds within minutes... 

And pretty sure their poo multiplies as soon as it hits the ground!

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Mine haven’t, thus far, made too much mess, although I do pick them up when they get onto the raised flower beds and start hooking things out.  When we got them the herbaceous border was a jungle and they didn’t penetrate past the front plants; I swept the soil back from the path on a daily basis.  I understand that bantams are less destructive.  The patio gets a bit of mess on it and the lawn is quite large so it doesn’t show much.  It will be interesting to see what damage they do when they are let back out.  I can imagine that the vegetable beds will need netting.  I miss seeing them running around as they are so funny to watch.

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The situation here is getting worse and we've had some clarification with respect to outbreaks and zones. All mayors in this 'county' are authorised to initiate a precautionary slaughter 1km radius around an outbreak and all movement is restricted within 10km, but might be increased to 20km soon. The alarming thing for us is that ALL birds within 1km are to be slaughtered and that specifically INCLUDES those classed as pets. We've had a drive round and there are no ducks or chickens at the two farms within 1km of us fortunately; perhaps they have decided it's not worth the risk at the moment? But we have re-thought our plans of restocking when our oldies have gone. The intention was to get 'ornamentals', so a flock of brightly coloured Brahmas (popular here) and build a new enclosure in the front garden. Faced with the risk of a truck just turning up with a team and slaughtering all of them we've decided against it and will cease keeping 'pets' and just have the Cou-Nu for eggs. We will have a lot of redundant equipment.

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Oh dear, Beantree; how worrying for you.

I’d just been thinking about the status of the Avian Flu here but hadn’t looked to see if there are any updates in the UK.  I was so hoping that it was getting less of a threat but your news seems to negate that, particularly with the laid-back approach in your area.  Good luck.

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North Devon. We have 4 chickens contained and one group 1/2 a mike away are also contained. 

The 2 groups next door are free.

Is there any news about the lifting of this quaratine as they have spent weeks looking at the kitchen garden they used to freely roam.

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Not yet. Mine hate it too, but keep doing what you’re doing. You’re not only protecting your own gang but also reducing the possible disease reservoir.

I really hope it won’t be too much longer because I’ve got grow tunnels across the lawn to give mine some access to grass but they’ve started to dig massive craters that will need re-seeding 🙄

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I do get a bit wild when I see so many flocks of chicken running around in gardens when mine are confined and not enjoying the experience.  Keeping them in makes a lot more work as well.

The good thing one can say about the craters, Mullethunter, is that the ground will be well fertilised when you do re-seed.  Mine dig really deep holes in their run and I often wonder if they are making a Great Escape bid.  Keeping their bedding dry is a challenge with all this wet weather.

Let’s hope that the restrictions are lifted soon.

 

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If you are concerned about uncovered poultry, either contact local Trading Standards who have the responsibility for enforcement I understand and are very skilled in difficult interactions, or DEFRA.  Although DEFRA are likely to just refer down to Local Authorities.   

This is the WORST outbreak in the U.K. for over 20 years.   We are being told to prepare for longer lockdowns in the future from October to April.    There is a £5,000 fine for breaking the law. 

Edited by Patricia W

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Oh dear, that is not good news, Patricia W.  I will have to re-think the size of the run and positioning.  This could mean having them shut in for longer than they are free-range; not what I wanted for the chicken.

As some of the poultry I see unconfined are visible from the road I’m surprised that the LA hasn’t been on the case already.

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Thank you for posting this, ellasflock.  This is indeed good news.  How would we know if we are in a high risk area?  Does this mean an area where there has been an outbreak?  Apologies for the questions.  I’ll give the girls the good news in the morning.  :-)

 

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No problem, I think we all need to be updated regularly as well as our chicken children because I think everyone is getting a bit fed up 😂

I think you will just have to search if your area is high risk or if you are signed with the government to keep track, they would have informed you or will inform you if you are in a high risk area. I’m thinking that the high risk areas will be in places where chicken rearing and keeping is very popular (country rather than city) although I could be wrong.

 

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