Category Archives: news

Happy hens enjoying new ground again

Delighted to get our girls out from under their covers, and actively working. They are in our old high fenced breed pens with lots of bird scarers across the top, feed and water inside, foot baths etc. These spaces will be growing veggies later in the year, so the birds will make a great contribution to clearing the ground and adding nutrition.

Avian influenza sit rep from 28th Feb

So the 28th Feb is the date for the new Bird flu requirements in Scotland.. and things have got more complicated if that is possible.  (see links below)

It seems these are based on the fact that the virus might remain viable for 50 days on the ground, and there are internal movements of wild birds within the country, so the powers that be have decided there will be further restrictions for another 2 months.
This is despite the fact that the infected birds themselves are moving north and east to their summer breeding grounds in the Arctic, there has been no contiguous infections from the locations like Slimbridge where infected birds have been found, and there have been no new incidences in the western seaboard of mainland Europe for several weeks. 

Edit – a few hours after writing this there is another incident involving 35 birds at a farm near Haltwhistle in Northumberland

I have had an email dialogue with the Poultry Unit in Edinburgh, who are disappointingly not helpful at all, and could give no further virological or ecological understanding of the current situation..

A separate conversation brought up the suggestion that letting birds out now (and culling as any infection appeared, as we have done in the past) would at least allow us to KNOW where the virus is, if it is in the ground, rather than allowing it to become endemic in the wild bird population.

So … I give you all the official links I have so far found/received, and the information, for you to each assess and interpret as you will.

The welfare of our birds is obviously all our main concerns here.

My understanding is that many people will be letting their birds out, keeping feed and water inside, washing their boots, putting up some bird scarers, and feeding wild birds elsewhere; it will remain to be seen if this is sufficient.

Avian influenza advice 28 feb -31 april 2017  

Avian Influenza risk assessment March 2017

AI Prevention Zone – Checklist

AI Prevention Zone – letter

AI infected wild birds 2016 – 2017





Peat and Hotmax in stock to keep you warm

After such a lovely mild spell, where the garden is growing green, daffodils and rhodies blooming with the snowdrops, Storm Doris is bringing in some weather with attitude – we might not get the gales that are forecast further south, but the snow may hit us.

We have plenty of Big bags (20kg)  of burning Peat (£7.50) and Hotmax (£7.25) in stock to keep you cosy and warm. Open daily including weekends.

New guidelines for extended Avian Influenza prevention zone from 1st March

Avian Influenza Prevention Zone Checklist (Scotland)
This is a check list designed to assist all bird keepers (commercial or hobby) in complying with the measures required by the Prevention Zone which comes into force at 00:01 on 28 February 2017.
This completed form may be retained and could be used as partial evidence provided to representatives from APHA or Local Authorities if they call upon the property to check compliance.
Name of Farm or Business: Address:
Contact Tel / Mobile No.:
CPH ref. (if applicable)
Name: _______________________________________
Date: ___________________
Signed: ________________________________________

Actively discourage wild birds from landing on the range area
This can be done with nets, cages, decoy predators, foot patrols etc and should be started well in advance of letting your birds out onto the range. Inspect your range and remove any obvious wild bird contaminants.
This should be done prior to letting your birds out onto the range, and routinely thereafter. A range is the area of land accessible by poultry or captive birds when they are not housed.
Obvious contaminants include faeces and feathers.
Net over ponds and drain waterlogged areas of the range
If this is not possible, then you can fence the area off from your birds or use an alternative field.
Long term, it may be beneficial to fill in ponds on your range and take steps to prevent any areas becoming continually wet and muddy, as they are very attractive to wild birds.
Remove any feeders and water stations from the range Feeding and watering should take place in sheltered areas which will not attract wild birds and will sufficiently prevent their access.
Regularly inspect housing/nets/cages for signs of wild bird/rodent access Ensure rodent controls are effective and ensure that the housing, feed storage and food provision areas are not accessible by wild birds or rodents.
Use dedicated footwear when accessing bird areas and install boot dips at entrances to all bird areas
Offer disinfection baths at all farm entrances/exits and bird area entrances.
Refer to the list of approved disinfectants to ensure effective compliance.
If you keep a variety of bird types, keep domestic waterfowl (ducks, geese etc) and poultry separate
This can be done with cages or fencing and must feature good biosecurity between the areas – no shared feed or water, boot dips used at all entry/exit points Reduce movements of people, vehicles or equipment into or out of bird areas and prevent unnecessary/accidental access
This helps to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products. Identify which areas should be restricted to essential visitors only.
Cleanse and disinfect equipment and vehicles prior to entry onto and exit from premises Reasonable precautions must be taken to avoid transfer of contaminated material on and off site. Refer to the list of approved disinfectants.
Routinely cleanse and disinfect equipment used in bird areas Housing and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of any production cycle. Refer to the list of approved disinfectants.
Guidance Notes
The avian influenza virus can survive in faeces and other  contaminated material for up to 50 days. Therefore, if wild birds have had access to your birds’ outdoor areas while they have been housed, you need to take steps as soon as possible to reduce contamination. These could include:
 Inspect your range and remove any obvious wild bird contaminants – Obvious contaminants include faeces and feathers.
 Consider what bird deterrents you can use on your range – decoy predators or other livestock (such as sheep or cattle), allowing dogs to accompany you on foot patrols around the range. You could also consider bird scarers if their use is appropriate for the area (see NFU Code of Practice on bird scarers)
 Consider increasing the number of shelters on the range area
 Ensure your birds’ water isn’t from outdoor water reservoirs which are accessible to or used by wild birds – use tap water if possible.
 Report incidents of dead wild birds – where any ‘at risk’ bird species (wildfowl or gulls), birds of prey or five or more birds of any other species, are found dead in the same location and at the same time, contact the national helpline 03459 335577 (Mon-Fri 8 am to 6 pm) or email
You may wish to consult your private veterinary surgeon to assess the risks of disease incursion specific to your premises and the practical steps you can take to reduce them.
Only approved disinfectants should be used and dispensed in accordance with specified dilution rates and labelling instructions. The list of approved disinfectants for use across GB is available from:
SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) approval is not required when using approved disinfectants, however, appropriate pollution prevention measures must be followed in all cases to stop excessive uncontrolled disinfectant run off. Disinfectants must not be applied close to drinking water supplies or surface water. If unsure, please contact SEPA for advice.
Bird health should be closely monitored; highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) can develop suddenly and with high mortality. Changes in behaviour, feed or water intake could indicate early signs of disease, however, some bird species (such as ducks, geese and pigeons) display few or no clinical signs. Typical clinical signs include:

  • swollen head blue discoloration of neck and throat
  • loss of appetite and increased mortality
  • respiratory distress such as gaping beak
  • coughing, sneezing or gurgling
  • diarrhoea
  • drop in egg production

If you see any of the above signs it is recommended that you consult your private veterinary surgeon immediately.
Further advice and guidance is available from the Scottish Government website:

Avian Influenza : Post 28th Feb Precaution information

From BBC site, information from Scottish Government

Restrictions placed on bird keepers to prevent the spread of bird flu will remain in place until the end of April, the Scottish government has said.

Poultry and captive birds must be housed indoors until 28 February but can be let outside after that providing “enhanced biosecurity” is put in place.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was declared in December.
It followed an outbreak of bird flu among turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire.
More than 5,000 birds at the farm in Louth were diagnosed with the H5N8 strain of avian flu.
The disease has also caused the deaths of wild birds and poultry in 14 European countries.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the prevention zone, which is designed to minimise the risk of infection from wild birds, would continue to apply to the whole of Scotland, with no targeting of specific areas.
The minister said all keepers must keep their birds indoors until 28 February, or take “appropriate practical steps” to keep them separate from wild birds.
After that, the birds can be let out doors provided certain measures are put in place. These include:

  • Making sure that birds’ feed and water cannot be accessed by wild birds
  • Avoiding transfer of contamination between premises by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear
  • Reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept
  • Implementing effective vermin control around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept
  • Providing wash facilities or dips containing approved disinfectant at key points

There have been no known cases of bird flu in domestic poultry or captive birds in Scotland, but several have been confirmed in England and Wales.

A UK-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings remains in force.

Forest Gardening Workshop Weekend 8-9 April 2017

Introduction to Forest Gardening Workshop Weekend
8-9 April 2017     ~  10 – 4 : Kintaline Farm. Benderloch, Argyll

Forest gardening is a clever way to design a beautiful garden with the highest yields possible while requiring very little work. This is achieved by allowing the ecosystem to take care of the fertility, pestcontrol, digging and weeding. The main human tasks are to harvest and enjoy the beauty.

This is possible because forest gardens are designed along the principles of how a natural forest thrives without much human intervention.

Does this sound interesting enough to check it out?

Ludwig Appeltans from Earth Ways, will lead us in to a Forest Garden workshop where we learn how Forest Gardens are and the basics of how to design your own.

This workshop is open to all – whether you have somewhere to work on, or still dreaming of a future project.

At Kintaline we are very much in our very first stages, adapting what is here towards a more productive but low input system that will sustain us as we get older.

The costs will run on a sliding scale to enable and support all who want to join, while respecting the experience and work involved in leading and hosting the workshop.

Please get in touch for further details


Avian Influenza 24 Jan 2017 Preston Lancashire

The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a flock of farmed breeding pheasants at a premises in Wyre, Lancashire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The flock is estimated to contain approximately 10,000 birds. A number have died and the remaining live birds at the premises are being humanely culled. A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection. Public Health England advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Avian influenza info and links

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza strain H5N8

With far more activity of wild birds becoming obvious it is important to create a disinfectant bath outside your henhouse and run – you can take the infected wild bird poo in on your boots.

10 Jan 2017 Nottingham

9 Jan 2017

6 Jan 2017 Yorkshire –

4 Jan 2017 – Slimbridge incident – 4 dead birds but no cull –

4 Jan 2017 wild birds found with H5N8 in Merseyside but little other information

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that has been in place since 6 December will be extended until 28 February to help protect poultry and captive birds from avian flu, the Chief Veterinary Officer has announced.
if anyone needs help or advice, we are happy to help.

OFC17: Potential bird flu threat due to backyard poultry keepers failing to follow safety rules – Farming UK News

3 Jan 2017 – Bird flu in domestic birds in Wales –

23 Dec 2016 – Bird of prey with H5N8 likely from eating infected migratory bird – Dumfries and Galloway –

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy :

Government news status –

If a flock of birds are infected then the healthy birds of that flock will also be culled
There is then further movement restrictions locally in the area.

You should have a container by your poultry house to be able to dunk your wellies in as you go in and out – use a disinfectant like Virkon from your vets – it comes in sachets.

If anyone wants housing please get in touch – we are extending our 10% December offer for another month
For folk in Argyll we have a small number of ex display houses in stock at a further discount for collection only

Entertaining birds in confinement

  • Growing sprouting seeds can be useful to entertain and feed your birds – alfalfa is a very good feed, but also just wheat too
  • Soaking Grass pellets (and alfalfa pellets)
  • hang up fruit and veggies – some cut up and some whole
  • use different kinds of feeders so there is choice and variety
  • use layers meal – this takes longer to eat
  • Give them bales of hay and straw to clamber on, and to hide behind .. poles across them to use for activity
  • Give ducks and geese enough water to be able to immerse their heads – kids sand pits are ideal
  • treats like meal worms and Henblox (we have both in stock for sale)
  • hang reflective discs – like the old computer CD’s we used to get sent !
  • DON’T use wild bird foods like sunflower seeds, or peanuts, or suet balls etc – all these are for birds with high energy demands and eating them can seriously damage the liver of productive birds.
  • keep the ground clean beneath the birds with sawdust from mills, shavings, bark, and leaves from woodland.
  • (weeds from your garden they love but there is a risk

Covering a run area – and remember the run does nto have to be TALL .. just high enough for the birds to be comfortable

Options that people are using –

  • marquees and gazebos with netting sides
  • using sheds / livestock trailers / barns and buildings
  • fruit cages with plastic over the top
  • use fence posts to make an extra big run, bird netting and thin plastic
  • You can do netting – do a double layer and trap thin plastic between them.
  • run panels –

Putting feed and water away is NOT enough to save your birds nor to comply.
AND .. this is likely to happen again next winter as it takes time for these HP AI viruses to go away and so it is worth investing time and effort into making space for your birds.
There are plenty of places who sell fence posts .. and with wire and string across the top with netting / plastic / netting sandwich it is pssible to give birds some decent areas.
Use shavings / sawdust / bark / leaves to cover muddy areas
For those who do not believe domestic birds need protecting please check the incidences in Mainland Europe as over there it is MAINLY backyard birds who are being infected.

The restrictions will likely be lifted as the migratory birds go north and east BUT .. we need plan ahead over the summer as this is VERY likely to come back again next season. That is the pattern in the past.
This is a particularly virulent virus – and for us, is carried in migratory waterfowl in the main.

It is vitally important we do not let this virus get established into the domestic flocks and wild bird populations in this country – Highly Pathogentic Avian Influenza H5N8 does not, as it exists currently, pose any problems to the human population but HPAI strains that are allowed to get established are far more likely to mutate into a strain that COULD THEN create a pandemic human flu virus ! .. as well as having this virus in amongst our wild birds would constantly compromise our domestic and commercial birds. So – please make all the efforts necessary to protect your birds and so to protect our flocks in the future.

Highly Pathogenic AI does not easiy become endemic in the population because of the deaths of other birds when in contact with any infection. These extreme measures are aimed at helping to keep the virus at bay.

The weather has not helped us – the mild November did not move the migratory birds on from feeding grounds in Europe, and then the December gales kept birds away – the January extension of the lockdown suggests that the experts are expecting significant numbers of migratory wild fowl to come in to the UK yet. . and there is so much of the virus in the western seaboard of continental Europe that the risk is high.

Migrating birds

This virus has travelled from China – through Russia (and through a southern route via Asia) into the northern parts of Continental Europe with migratory birds. It has taken several years and it can take several years before this particular strain peters out. So we need to be prepared to set up better pens to do the  same thing next year.

If you see birds left outside and you want to report them you need to contact your councils Senior Animal Health and Welfare Officer