An animal rescue centre has been pushed to breaking point because of people dumping and abandoning poultry animals due to the avian flu.
Amanda O'Brien, 41, is the owner of Feathers, Paws and Claws which is a 24/7 rescue for sick, injured and abandoned animals specialising in poultry, game birds and small mammals.
The rescue is based in Tealby, a village in Lincolnshire, where a surge in demand has plunged the service into crisis.
Amanda told Grimsby Live: "We are currently going through an avian flu lockdown for all poultry in the UK, this has caused many people to give up their animals for many reasons.
"Some will message asking for help and others will just dump them in a local woods or park.
"It’s been so difficult and it's even more challenging trying to catch hens and cockerels when they are completely free but we have to try and do this quickly before they fall prey to foxes.
"Over the Christmas period, we even had seven cockerels in a chicken crate dumped over our fence and this period has seen admissions skyrocket.
"It’s been tough, all of the birds we have are now under cover to make sure they are as safe as possible because of the avian flu."
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Amanda said the amount of people dumping cockerels means "we just can’t keep up."
She said: "People cannot free range their birds so people just cannot keep lots of boys confined as they are fighting so they are getting rid of them.
"People are dumping whole flocks of chickens wherever they wish at times which is heartbreaking.
"Admissions have been rising since December and they just keep on coming. That’s why I asked for help as we were really creaking."
The avian flu has hit areas of Lincolnshire with cases found in North Somercotes and Louth.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed the first human case of avian influenza has been found in an unidentified person in the South West of England.
The news of a human case comes after about one million birds have been culled to stop the spread of bird flu in Lincolnshire following outbreaks in the region in December, the BBC reports.
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The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recently gave a warning over the spread of bird flu across Europe and Asia, saying there was a higher chance of it also spreading to humans.
OIE Director General Monique Eloit said: "This time the situation is more difficult and more risky because we see more variants emerge, which make them harder to follow.
"Eventually the risk is that it mutates or that it mixes with a human flu virus that can be transmitted between humans then suddenly it takes on a new dimension."
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