To feed or not to feed?

As the weekend draws near, we come to the end of another week where bird flu has hit the headlines once again. I, as a keen poultry keeper, am only too aware of the risks, but take a sensible approach. I like keeping poultry and the benefits, in terms of meat, eggs and the enjoyment I get from looking after them, far outweigh the very small risks involved. I take the view that it is much, much safer than careering down a hillside on two sticks, sky diving, bungee jumping, white water rafting… you are now starting to get where I am coming from!!

This week, on my early morning forays into the paddock to feed and water my stock, the heavy frost has sparkled in the light of my torch (a wind-up one of course!) and looked like a scene from a Christmas card. This drop in temperature has significantly increased the appetites of my hens, ducks and geese, after all, who wouldn’t admit to eating one or two extra comforting, and of course high calorie, “snackettes” in the cold weather. The same applies to the wild birds, so now is the time to give them a little tender loving care in the form of some high protein food, such as sunflower seeds, and, just as important, make sure they have access to water. The risk to the average person in this country of catching bird flu from feeding wild birds is so infinitesimal as to be virtually non-existent and certainly not a reason to refrain from feeding cold and hungry birds. So, go on, top up your bird feeders and drinkers and enjoy watching the wide variety of species that visit British gardens.

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