The UK lockdown on housing was introduced by Defra on 29th November and lifted on 2nd May this year.

But Defra said the UK last year “faced its biggest outbreak of bird flu since the end of October 2021, with more than 160 confirmed cases”.

The agency said last weekend that the latest lockdown measures would come “after multiple reports of the disease being detected in wild birds since early September on 17 farms in the affected areas”. “It’s not fun,” says Mayhew.

Vicky Sewell runs a chapter of Fresh Start for Hens, a chicken rescue organization based in Watton, Norfolk and said,”Wild birds give us this. To be able to confine a bird in a cage for months, or more than half the year, and have a negative impact on animal welfare and the nutrient density of our activities. I can’t proceed at this rate, so I would like to know the long-term plan.”

Facebook members heard the news of Defra’s proposed housing measures on Friday night and has since exchanged concerns and advice on how best to abide by the rules.

“A lot of people let their chickens roam freely, but after 10 years I’ve learned that it’s best to give them a safe and secure place too,” said Vicky.

However, she doesn’t like the prospect of being trapped for months. “Enriching the environment is paramount to keeping captive chickens happy.” she says.

“They are very active and interactive, and you can immediately see who is where in the hierarchy. When they’re bored, they can pick their own feathers or bully each other. However, the new lockdown measures are important to protect the huge industry,” she says.

“Someone compared it to Covid – we will have to learn to live with it.”

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Source: BBC

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