Farmers on high alert after Fermanagh bird flu reports

A CASE of suspected bird flu has been found at a farm in Fermanagh.
Tests are being carried out on the as yet un-named broiler farm, where suspicions were raised several days ago after a local vet became concerned about the number of birds that were dying at the farm.
The results of the tests, which are trying to determine if it is avian influenza or another condition called Newcastle disease, are expected in the coming days.
The news will be worrying for local poultry farmers as it comes just two weeks after the H5 strain of the disease was confirmed at a farm in England. All 27,000 chickens at that farm in Suffolk had to be slaughtered in December.
Here in Fermanagh precautions have been put in place at the farm in question.
Jim Carmichael of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) said farmers should follow their usual biosecurity measures, and the recent advice by chief veterinary officer, Dr Robert Huey.
Mr Carmichael said he was hopeful that even if bird flu was confirmed in the county any restrictions would be short-term.
“Preventative measures is what they are talking about,” he said, adding a lot of disease is spread by migrating birds which are in full flight at this time of year.
“One way of doing that is making sure wild birds have no access to your birds,” he said.
“You are basically, in a way, doing most of what you should be doing
on a poultry unit anyway. It’s keeping up your biosecurity,” he pointed out.
While he said the disease was controllable if the proper procedures were followed, Mr Carmichael said it remained a worry for local farmers.
“Anything at the moment that have an affect on your farm business is a worry, because everyone is working in that tight a margin now, no matter what type of livestock or what type of business you have,” he said.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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