The Avian Flu, which caused supply issues at the end of last year and into this year, has sadly not gone away...
These flu strains tend to die out during the summer months, but this has not happened this summer and Avian Flu is becoming a huge concern again in the industry.
On 12 October, all of Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex were legally required to keep all of their birds indoors and follow stringent biosecurity measures.
On 17 October, bird keepers in the rest of England were legally required to follow strict biosecurity measures to protect their flocks and prevent further spread.
Currently, the rest of England (outside of Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex) are not required to house their birds in doors, But, we have been informed by our suppliers to fully expect this to happen as cases continue to rise.
Any premises reporting cases of Avian Flu, will have their entire flocks humanely culled, a 3km protection zone will be declared around the premises, in some instances a 3km captive bird (monitoring) controlled zone will be declared, A 10km surveillance zone is also declared round the premises.
This is going to have a huge impact on free range poultry products, as well as non free range products, as more and more flocks are ordered inside. It’ll also have an impact on availability and price of poultry, eggs and liquid eggs as flocks are culled, and production slows. Less birds can be kept inside, and is also more expensive in terms of feed and electricity - there’ll no doubt be poultry farmers leaving the industry during the coming months.
Egg suppliers are warning of potential sporadic supply and have suggested that there will be price movements with very little notice - possibly with as little as five days notice. Providing stock to retail shops will be the suppliers priority when availability becomes difficult.
Stock levels are currently stable, however we anticipate challenges ahead.