New year most fowl: Danish turkeys survive Christmas, but then succumb to bird flu cull

Some 36,000 of the poultry are put down after hundreds die after contracting the H5N1 strain

Talk about bad luck. Every year, turkeys dread the double whammy of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and relatively few worldwide make it through to December 26 unscathed.

In Denmark, though, the odds are much better, as most people prefer duck or pork as their Christmas dinner.

But in the case of 36,000 turkeys at a large farm on the island of Lolland, Christmas came later than normal this year. 

Tests on New Year’s Day confirmed that the farm’s entire flock would need to be put down following an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu, which had already killed hundreds. 

Simply no cure
The order came from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

It was expected the cull would take several days, after which the entire farm would need to be cleaned and disinfected.

“We have no cure for bird flu, so we have to kill all the turkeys to stop the outbreak and prevent the spread of infection,” the administration explained.

“The situation shows that both hobby breeders and professionals must take the threat of infection from the wild birds very seriously.”