Poultry market aims to be first to reopen after bird flu lockdown

Fabian Eagle is the auctioneer at Swaffham Poultry Market

Fabian Eagle is the auctioneer at Swaffham Poultry Market, which will reopen on Saturday, May 22 - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a Norfolk poultry auction believe it will be the first in the UK to reopen after the long-awaited relaxation of bird flu restrictions.

Swaffham Poultry Market will return on Saturday, May 22, following last week's lifting of the ban on bird gatherings - one of many measures introduced in response to the bird flu outbreaks which hit the region's poultry sector at the end of last year.

Auctioneer Fabian Eagle said the market had also been hit by the Covid-19 lockdown, which means only vendors and buyers can attend.

But he hopes to welcome families and spectators back on June 21 if the government's lockdown "roadmap" progresses as planned.

"This will be the first poultry auction in the UK to reopen since the [bird flu] restrictions were placed in November," he said. "It is very exciting to be back being able to sell poultry again. 

"Covid rules also apply and we must remind people that auctions are not a social event. I do look forward to this hopefully changing after June 21, so we can become a family event again.

"The lockdown has created an increased interest in poultry keeping and we look forward to welcoming these newcomers to the traditional place to buy and sell poultry with all the added excitement that an auction brings."

  • Saturday's auction at Swaffham Racetrack starts at 11.30am, with entries accepted between 8.30am and 11am.

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