Bird flu fears at popular farm and petting zoo near Mansfield

Willow Tree Family Farm are keeping their birds in confinement due to an out break of bird flu, pictured with some rare breed chickens are animal care assistant Paige Wakeling and volunteer animal care assistant Adam Lee Evans
Willow Tree Family Farm are keeping their birds in confinement due to an out break of bird flu, pictured with some rare breed chickens are animal care assistant Paige Wakeling and volunteer animal care assistant Adam Lee Evans

A Shirebrook farm and petting zoo has quarantined its chickens, parrots and cockatoos after a bird flu scare.

Bird flu has been found in poultry on two Lincolnshire farms according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) sparking fears it could spread to other places.

Dozens of birds will be kept indoors at Willow Tree Family Farm on Langwith Road in Shirebrook until staff are given the all-clear.

Visitors will have to wait until March to be able to see the birds.

The H5N8 strain of avian flu can be spread by wild birds and has been found across the UK.

David Taylor, CEO at Willow Tree Farm said: “To protect them we need to keep them indoors, so they have no contact with wild birds which can spread the infection.”

“Bird flu is easily transported, so it is very serious.

“It won’t hurt people but we don’t want our birds to be at risk and we hope our visitors understand.

“It is breeding season in February so it will have a real affect on the bird industry.”

He also urged bird and poultry owners to keep their pets inside.

Mr Taylor said: “I would advise people who have birds to cover them up so they are separated from wild birds if they can or keep them indoors.”

“Check for symptoms daily and if you are worried seek advice immediately and let DEFRA know because they will need to investigate any outbreaks.”

DEFRA now requires all bird owners - whether on a commercial scale or simply a small backyard flock – by law to keep them under cover or separate from wild birds.

This requirement has now been extended until 28 February 2017.