At one farm in the village of Latrille, in the heartland of duck and geese rearing country, 8,000 ducks were taken by hand and put in coloured metal containers where carbon dioxide was piped in to kill them, normally within seconds.
France, which has the largest poultry flock in the European Union, has reported 89 outbreaks of the virus this time around.
By Regis Duvignau
In scenes reminiscent of apocalypse-themed movies, workers clad in head-to-toe protective suits, face-visors and gas masks, finished the slaughter in the space of a few hours.
Some 800,000 of the birds out of a population of around 18 million in the whole of the southwest, are due to be killed in the coming week. (Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)