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Arun Veterinary Group

Avian Flu

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In recent years, chickens have become very popular pets and just like all pets they need care, correct feeding, secure housing and just as importantly, they should be regularly examined and given veterinary attention when they need it. Chickens are becoming quite a popular visitor to the clinics and we are aware we have quite a few followers on our Facebook page that keep chickens.

As most of you will be aware, Avian Influenza has recently been found in the UK. ALL keepers of chickens either backyard or commercial should be aware of the need to increase biosecurity measures. These include the following

* Feed and water your chickens in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds
* Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
* Clean and disinfect footwear and keep housing as clean as possible
* Fence off areas to reduce contamination such as wet or muddy areas

There are two types of Avian Influenza, one much more serious and these are the symptoms to look out for;

* swollen head
* blue discolouration of neck and head
* loss of appetite
* respiratory distress such as gaping, coughing or sneezing
* less eggs being laid
* sudden death

It is worth bearing in mind that these are common symptoms and often can be something much less serious. Worryingly the lower pathogenic influenza (LPAI) doesn’t always show much in the way of signs of infection so we would advise you are extra vigilant at this time.

Sick chickens may still be seen at the clinic but we would ask you to keep them in a basket in your car until the vet is ready to see them.

As of 14th December 2020 the government have advised that all captive birds (including pet hens) must be kept indoors until further notice and not be allowed to free range or be let out of runs.

Please note this is not related to the current coronavirus pandemic nor is it transmittable to humans.

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