Britons may struggle to get open-air turkey or goose for the Christmas table this year after the head of the poultry sector said nearly half had either died or been culled in the country’s biggest-ever outbreak of bird flu.

British Poultry Council executive director Richard Griffiths told lawmakers that British farmers usually produce 1.2 to 1.3 million birds on farms open for the festive season, reports a local Arabic daily quoting sources from Reuters.

“We saw that about 600,000 of these birds raised in open farms were directly affected,” Griffiths added.

Giving evidence to the Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Griffiths explained that the total production of Christmas turkeys in the UK is usually around 8.5 to nine million birds. Of these birds, just over a million died or were culled. He did not say what effect this would have on prices.

He stressed that since the beginning of October, there have been about 140 cases of bird flu in the United Kingdom, with 1.6 million birds being slaughtered.

He said 36 percent of poultry farms in the UK are now under bird flu restrictions, which means birds must be kept in their pens.

Read Today's News TODAY... on our Telegram Channel click here to join and receive all the latest updates