Free range egg producers in England, Scotland and Wales are still allowed to market their products as free range despite the order to keep their birds indoors.
Poultry farmers from the said countries are ordered by their respective Chief Veterinary Officers to keep their flocks indoors to protect them from a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza that has been spreading across Europe.
Obviously, the free range egg producers are affected the most by this development as it would require them to provide coops for their birds.
“Housing birds presents significant challenges to free range egg producers but they understand that it is important to reduce the risk of spreading avian influenza,” said Robert Gooch, chief executive of British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA).
“It would be devastating for a British producer to have to go through the heartbreak of seeing their entire flock wiped out by this virus as we have already seen in continental Europe.”
BFREPA advised free range poultry farmers to put pecking boxes, enhanced scratching areas and natural vegetation in the house where the chickens would stay to encourage them to display their natural behavior.