Avian flu

November 2022

We are advising all bird keepers to follow the latest government advice, to try to limit the spread of Avian Flu, in light of the continuing outbreak.

On 7 November 2022, the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) implemented on 17 October 2022 which required strict biosecurity measures will be updated to include mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds

This means from 7 November 2022 it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures including:

  • Housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
  • Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds - if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • Reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • Keep records of mortality, movement of poultry and poultry products and any changes in production
  • Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
  • Prevent access by poultry to ponds and watercourses and ensure that birds are kept in fenced or enclosed areas

Avian influenza circulates naturally in wild birds, and when they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe over the winter they can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.

Bird keepers should visit the avian flu guidance on gov.uk for full details of the AIPZ and updated biosecurity guidance.

The UK health agencies advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the UK food standards agencies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. If you find dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should be reported to the Defra helpline.

Reporting

  • Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra Helpline on: 03459 33 55 77
  • Keepers should report any suspicion of disease to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on: 03000 200 301

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