Search

Suffolk egg producer hit by bird flu measures ‘nervous of the future’

PUBLISHED: 10:20 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:20 17 February 2017

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler pictured in his free range egg store.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler pictured in his free range egg store. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A free range egg producer from Riddlesworth, near Diss, has said he is “incredibly nervous of the future” after being caught up in a 10km surveillance zone set up around the Redgrave poultry farm at the centre of the latest bird flu outbreak.

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ben Chandler, of Home Farm, Riddlesworth, near Diss, had to apply for a licence to send eggs from his 16,000 bird unit to Anglia Free Range Eggs at Attleborough, which he received today.

He is doubly affected by the measures to contain the disease as his farm also lies within an area currently designated by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as ‘higher risk’, meaning that it would not benefit from a planned partial lifting of a housing order across England which was imposed on outdoor producers in December.

After February 28, free range poultry which remains indoors stands to lose its status. The ‘higher risk’ status would mean he could put up nets to control the threat instead of housing the birds, which would retain the status, but he and other producers believe this is impractical. He is concerned about his proximity to this week’s bird flu outbreak at Redgrave, although biosecurity on his farm was already high before the imposition of the zone.

“It’s very close. We are only six or seven miles away,” he said. “It’s awful what’s going on.”

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

There were a lot of producers in the area, he pointed out.

“This coming along doesn’t help,” he said. “I would be very nervous of letting my birds out.”

He runs a 16,000 bird unit and is still paying off the loan on the unit which he built to house the diversification to his 800 acre arable business in 2008. The business produces about 15,000 eggs a day and he believes he stands to lose about 20p a dozen if he loses his free range status, which he described as “massive”, translating as a £82,000 a year drop.

“We couldn’t sustain that,” he said. “I’m incredibly nervous of the future of what I’m going to be doing because I can’t take a price drop.” He believes that the birds need to be shut up while the threat of infection from migratory birds remains. “The guidance out there is pretty poor really,” he said. “It’s all been very vague to be honest.”

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler pictured in his free range egg store.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler pictured in his free range egg store. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ben should be ordering birds for his next flock soon, but says: “This higher risk zone has put a real handicap on us.”

Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Riddlesworth free range chicken farmer Ben Chandler's free range egg store. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Diss Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Diss Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Diss Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other news

11:37

A ten-year-old Dr Who fan won’t bat an eyelid at the new female Dr Who - as long as he can climb into his own dalek and exterminate.

10:12

Vulnerable young people who are exploited by London gangs to transport drugs into Norfolk should be treated as victims, rather than criminals, according to the NSPCC.

Yesterday, 15:13

A gym owner who says exercise can help mental health is calling on the community to join him in an exercise challenge to raise money for charity.

Yesterday, 12:41

Emergency services have been called to a crash on the A140 at Newton Flotman.

Most Read

Yesterday, 12:41

Emergency services have been called to a crash on the A140 at Newton Flotman.

Read more
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Treat the kids to hours of fun on flumes, inflatables and wave machines at these cool pools across the county...

Read more
Wales
11:37

A ten-year-old Dr Who fan won’t bat an eyelid at the new female Dr Who - as long as he can climb into his own dalek and exterminate.

Read more
Thursday, July 13, 2017

A popular, award-winning independent shop in a Norfolk market town could be forced to close unless a new owner is found to keep it on the high street.

Read more
Norwich
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dates to get in your diary if you don’t want to miss out on splendid leafy havens.

Read more
Norwich

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 13°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter