The chair of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) is set to share his personal experience with avian influenza (bird flu) at BFREPA Live 2023.

The Scottish egg producer James Baxter, who farms near Stranraer and had 200,000 of his hens culled, aims to highlight the reality of dealing with bird flu.

BFREPA Live 2023 will take place on Wednesday, November 15, at the Telford International Centre.

BFREPA said Baxter’s “honest and open” talk will cover his experience of bird flu – the loss on his entire flock – and how he sees his business recovering, as well as the lessons he learned.

Baxter will speak publicly about the loss of his flock for the first time at BFREPA Live.

He lost almost 200,000 hens to a mandatory bird flu cull following a positive test in January of this year.

BFREPA Live 2023

This year’s BFREPA Live event will see also see a number of other talks and discussions throughout the day, the association said.

These discussions include a panel on bird flu vaccination – hosted by BFREPA chief executive Robert Gooch with Gordon Hickman of the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA), Dave Hodson from Rosehill Poultry, and Crowshall’s vet Ian Lowery joining as panellists.

The event will also feature a debate on whether there should be a Great Britain-wide vaccination programme, the pros and cons of having one, and how it might work if it became a reality.

Later in the day there will be series of technical presentations. AD Harvey’s Oliver Harvey will give technical and practical advice on preparing for end of lay, while Premier Nutrition’s Ralph Bishop will be talking about nutritional strategies for extending the laying cycle.

Charles Macleod, of St. David’s vets, will be debating if water is an unavoidable necessity or a vital nutrient for free range flocks.

The day will conclude with a 4:30p.m talk held by Nick Bailey from Joice & Hill, who will be covering the latest in genetics, the latest breeding developments, and the benefits of breeding white hens.

BFREPA events manager, Kate Dickinson, said:

“BFREPA Live’s speakers will offer an insight from all aspects of the free range egg sector, from the producer in the shed, to the officials making decisions on behalf of the whole industry.

“We believe that we’ve struck a great balance between the two, and that those in attendance will learn something valuable to take back to their farms.”