UPDATE JUNE 2017: all remaining restrictions have now been lifted, and we can manage our chickens as before the outbreak, taking the best possible care of them all.
Update: May 2017
From the 15th May 2017 a new Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) has been put in place covering the districts of Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wyre, Fylde, Preston, Sefton, West Lancashire, South Ribble and Chorley. The risk in these parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside is considered higher because the region is home to significant wild waterfowl populations and there have been previous outbreaks of H5N8 throughout this area. Recent cases in backyard flocks provide evidence that infection is still either circulating in wild resident birds or present in the environment. Old Holly Farm falls within this zone, which means we must manage our chickens following Defra guidance. It also means that we still can’t have chicks on the farm. Please note: we have not had any cases of Avian Flu on our farm.
DEFRA will continue to review all disease control measures based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice.
Public Health England advise that the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency say that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers. It is still safe to visit open farms within these areas.
Updated Guidance for AVIAN INFLUENZA in England. Feb 2017.
Following our last post in January, DEFRA has released updated guidance which runs from the 28th February until the 30th April 2017. This involves a more targeted approach being enforced.
From 28th February DEFRA has identified HIGHER RISK AREAs. There is detailed information about the rationale for the HRAs on the DEFRA website. However the DEFRA guidance states “In summary, our analysis of the HN58 outbreaks across the UK and Europe confirms that the risk across the whole of England remains heightened, but areas of the country close to substantial inland or coastal bodies of water (where significant numbers of wild birds collect) are at an even higher risk, with duck species having the greatest risk of carrying the HN58 infection.”
Following the outbreak of avian influenza within the Preston postcode area and our locality to the coast, Old Holly Farm falls within an HRA, and we are subject to the conditions and movement restrictions that apply within this HRA. This means that our chickens will continue to be kept inside, but also that we sadly won’t have chicks on the open farm for the foreseeable future. Obviously this is disappointing as we know this is a popular area of the farm, but we need to make sure we are following the guidelines issued by DEFRA to keep our stock safe, but also other stock safe.
We have not had any reported cases on our farm, and we want to make sure we keep it that way. Please be assured that it is still safe to visit our farm (including school visits) and we are doing everything we can to look after our chickens too. For more information about keeping safe whilst visiting our farm please visit our SAFETY page.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us, or for more information please visit the DEFRA website here >>