County Durham turkey farmer says bird flu could put 'livelihood at risk' as lockdown introduced

  • Johnny Blair reports

A North East poultry farmer says outbreaks of bird flu could threaten their livelihoods in the run up to Christmas.

As of today, all owners of poultry and captive birds must keep them indoors to prevent any further spread of Avian flu.

Heather Hoggerty of White House Farm in County Durham has had to move all of her hundreds of turkeys indoors. Under the biosecurity measures, she is the only person who is able to enter their enclosure.

She said if the virus were to get into her flock, the results would be devastating - particularly with festive orders stacking up.

"With turkeys in particular, the symptoms go very quickly from looking ill to dying within two to three days," she said. "It would just wipe the whole flock out.

"We've got to be so careful so that they stay healthy. A lot of these birds have already been ordered and we've got to keep them safe so people can have turkey for Christmas dinner."

The current rules, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future, were introduced after a number of outbreak hotspots were identified across the south and south east of England.

The North East has already been hit hard by the disease, with thousands of birds dying on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast earlier this year. The area remains closed to visitors for the rest of the season.

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