A few chickens clucking in the back garden provide fresh eggs every morning, more money in your pocket and a little taste of the Good Life. But the 500,000 households across Britain now keeping their own flocks could also pose a major health threat to the poultry industry. Veterinary experts say many of us keeping chickens at home have little understanding of how to control disease in the birds, along with insufficient knowledge of health regulations. They warn this could hasten the spread of disease from backyard flocks to commercial poultry farms.Gosh! Sound familiar..?
It ought to! It’s the exact same tactic tried recently by the potato farmers!
A survey by the Royal Veterinary College found most back garden flock owners provided their birds with good living conditions. But 75 per cent did not comply with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regulations which outlaw birds being fed on kitchen waste. Farmers have been banned from feeding such waste to chickens since 2001, because some agents of disease can survive in household food products.Yes, they have.
But there’s nothing to stop the homeowner feeding chickens whatever he wants, since the regulations referred to only apply if you are selling the eggs in bulk. Most families keeping chickens are doing so for their own consumption, or that of their friends and relatives.
The survey, published this month in the journal of British Poultry Science, also found lapses in biosecurity, with very few owners keeping human visitors, wild birds and rodents away from their flocks. Few properly vaccinated their birds.Sensing, perhaps, that this isn’t going to be enough to strike the right level of fear and therefore compliance, they try the ‘Think of the chiiiillldreeen!’ tactic:
Keeping chickens is also a major risk factor for diarrhoea in children since the birds’ droppings can contain the disease agent campylobacter jejuni. More than a third of the chicken keepers surveyed had children, which highlights the risk posed to families.YOU’RE KILLING YOUR KIDS!!!!!
So, what’s the answer to this grave crisis about to strike the nation? Well, would you believe, making Mr & Mrs Smith compliant with the same regulations as Farmer Giles?
Study co-author Iveta Karabozhilova called for greater regulation of back garden chickens and more communication between householders and health officials.Yeah, I'll just bet. You can take the sex and travel option, love.