Regular Poultry World contributor, Wendy Short, was surprised to receive a letter from the Environment Agency in early spring, asking her to register her large poultry flock for IPPC inspection or face a heavy fine.

Guessing that the Environment Agency was shooting in the dark, and had made the connection following a series of IPPC articles she had written for the magazine, she promptly threw the letter away and thought no more about it.

But that wasn’t the end of the matter. She recently received a visit from a local EA official, demanding to inspect the “large flock of birds on the premises.”

Unfortunately, Mrs Short, who lives near Barnard Castle, County Durham, was out on an interview at the time. However her husband, Stuart, obligingly led the inspector through the house, out to the garden and into the hen pen, where three brown layers and a hybrid cockerel were quietly pecking away.