Devon pensioner who contracted bird flu 'mentally distraught' at having to cull pet ducks

  • Alan Gosling's daughter-in-law on how the 79-year-old is coping.

The family of a pensioner from Devon, who's become the first in Britain to contract bird flu, says he's "mentally distraught" after having to put down his pet birds.

Alan Gosling had been keeping hundreds of ducks at his home in Buckfastleigh when he contracted the virus.

In total, 140 ducks were culled - 20 of whom lived inside the home with him.

Alan kept around 140 ducks, 20 of which were inside his home. Credit: SWNS

His daughter-in-law, Ellesha Gosling, said the 79-year-old is coping well despite being devastated to have to put down his pets.

"He is just mentally very distraught and very disappointed in the outcome of the situation", Ellesha said.

"There were about six ducks that he was most close to, one was called Ziggy, there were a couple who had names in the house and would go everywhere with him. They had free roam of the house.

"It was lovely for dad when he came down in the morning, the ducks would be there to greet him. So now coming down in the morning to an empty house it's hit him very hard and he's struggling quite a bit with him."

Bird to human transmission of avian flu is very rare.

When asked by ITV News if the family had previously considered there to be any risk in Alan housing these birds, Ellesha said it hadn't really crossed their minds.

"The ones outside never really left the garden, they'd go down into the river outside his house but they'd immediately come back out, it was never really a concern as they wouldn't go anywhere", she said.

"Now we are waiting for the clean-up of the inside of the property - if Dad wants to keep more ducks in future he needs to pay to have a certain disinfectant done which will cost tens of thousands of pounds which he does not have at all.

"So I have set up a GoFundMe page for him so people can help with what's gone on.

"The ducks weren't doing any harm - especially those indoors but they were still adamant that they needed to be culled and they've left him with nothing."

Donations to Ellesha's GoFundMe page can be made here.