With the latest cases of avian flu, it has been a requirement that all Chickens in the UK must be kept indoors to help prevent the spread of this devastating infection.
Organic producers have not been exempt from this, so for the last 12 weeks Andrew Jackson’s laying hens have been confined to quarters for their own protection.
As of the 1st March the restrictions have been lifted in all but the most effected regions of England, so it means that Andrew and his team can start opening the doors on the hen houses again as of tomorrow.
This has to be a very carefully managed process so as to make sure the birds are not unduly frightened and in any case Andrew expects it will take his birds a week or so to settle back into their usual routine.
It is a mixed and slightly confusing picture once away from our organic eggs. Wales and Scotland have their own rules and it would seem that the English producers are going to start putting stickers on their packaging explaining the free range hens are not free to range.
It is not entirely clear at time of writing but would seem that these stickers may even be on boxes from hens that are now free range again.
It seems a bit of an unfair battle really, one which the Bees have been loosing. Sense did finally look like it was prevailing with the EU introducing a total ban on the use of neonicotinoids in 2013 however recent events in the UK and particularly the actions of the NFU represents a big set back for British Bees. More worryingly there seems to be some fairly underhand dealings going on as highlighted by this very informative piece in last weeks Guardian. click here to read article
I accept that there are two sides to all debates and scientists are very good at contradicting each other but in this case is it really worth the risk?
In a small section of the numerous hedgerows on Langridge Farm, David Goiver spotted these little beauties. Small Eggar Moth we think. They need 3 year old thorn bushes to build their silky den, so some sympathetic hedge management is required to allow then to do this. They are also very sensitive to insecticides, which haven’t been used for more than 3 decades at Langridge. We hope to grow this colony, but they can cocoon themselves in the hedge for 3 years or more before they fly. We can only hope to have the right habitat at the right moment and hope that the females, full of eggs, don’t fly too far.