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Concern at surge in backyard chicken keeping

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: November 23, 2012

Chicken

Chicken

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The surge in popularity of backyard chickens could pose a risk to commercial flocks, experts say.

Research from the Royal Veterinary College revealed some chicken-keepers have a lack of disease knowledge and awareness of laws.

Leading EU poultry spokesman Charles Bourns says owners should read up before bringing a flock in to the garden.

"The industry isn't criticising people who keep hens in their gardens but there could be a risk of disease being transferred," said Mr Bourns, who chairs the EU Commission's poultry advisory group and farms 65,000 broiler hens at Charfield near Wotton-under-Edge.

"It's like having any other animal, you need to find out what you are getting in to."

He said that in Northern Ireland, owners must register just one bird but in the rest of the UK, registration with Defra is required for 50 or more birds.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Citizen or www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 25 2012, 2:19PM

    i'm glad there is a picture, so we all know what a chicken looks like. :-)

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 25 2012, 2:18PM

    well cluck me!

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 25 2012, 2:07PM

    Sound Advice - regardless of being pets - not sure people will flock to a vet when the chicken catches something - and how do you know it has a disease unless you are trained. Better be cautious than sorry.

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  • TheNub  |  November 25 2012, 12:30PM

    calm down dont get to eggcited

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  • FreeRadical1  |  November 23 2012, 5:44PM

    Ha ha, that's really funny. We all know that many commercial flocks are kept in appalling conditions, making it far more likely that disease will spead like wildfire. Most people who keep chickens in their gardens treat them virtually as pets, so they are far better cared for. If your pet gets sick, you take it to the vet. Anyway, how many people keep garden chickens near commercial flocks? Shame on the Royal Veterinary College for spreading this nonsense. I don't keep chickens myself, but know people who do, and they love their birds and are knowledgeable about them.

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