Laying hens© Tim Scrivener

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association has developed a pack to help develop a contingency plan in the event avian influenza (AI) strikes at a member’s farm.

The guidance has been sent to every Bfrepa member, and will help prepare for the “enormous burden” of secondary cleansing and disinfection.

See also: Top tips on autumn rat management for poultry farmers

The workbook has been written by Livetec Systems – one of a handful of specialist contractors that a government agency would require to attend to clean up after an outbreak.

Producers are encouraged to fill out the workbook so it suits the individual circumstances of their unit.

It advises them on issues such as handling washdown water, storage of manure and who to contact if they, or a neighbouring farm, experience an outbreak.

Estimates are that clean-up costs run to as much as £10/bird for egg producers whose layer units are hit by AI.

Bfrepa chief executive Robert Gooch said: “One of the things that’s been evident from previous AI outbreaks has been the horrific and frightening cost of secondary cleansing and disinfection.

“For a producer to have an outbreak is bad enough, but they then have to deal with all the agencies and contractors that have to check that the whole site is cleaned from top to bottom.

“The requirements are extremely onerous, so we are trying to help producers be more aware of what is required because some of those costs can be reduced by forward planning.”