Herefordshire Council is advising bird keepers to follow the latest government advice, in light of the recent outbreak of avian flu.
An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) was originally put in place across the whole of England following a number of confirmed cases among wild and commercial birds. The AIPZ was announced on Wednesday 11 November and means it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
New housing measures are now in force as of 14 December 2020. The new housing measures mean it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors, except in very specific circumstances, and follow strict biosecurity measures to try to eradicate the disease. The new housing measures will be in addition to the biosecurity regulations brought in as part of the AIPZ on 11 November 2020.
Keepers with more than 500 birds must restrict access for non-essential people on their sites. Workers must also change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese, are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.
The national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone means that bird keepers all across the country must:
- Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources
- Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds
- Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
- Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy
- Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas
- Where possible cover outside enclosures
Bird keepers should visit the gov.uk website for full details of the AIPZ and updated biosecurity guidance.
Councillor Ange Tyler, Cabinet member for Cabinet Member Housing, Regulatory Services & Community Safety said: “Herefordshire Council would like any keepers of poultry and captive birds in the county to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds. If you have any concerns, please seek prompt advice from your vet, and help to prevent avian flu by following the government advice and maintaining good biosecurity on your premises.”
“The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.”
The introduction of the AIPZ comes after several separate, unrelated cases in kept poultry and birds confirmed in the UK. A small number of wild birds in South West of England have also been found to have had the disease.
A separate Protection and surveillance zone have been declared around the outbreak in part of Herefordshire. If you are a bird keeper within these zones please follow the DEFRA Guidance also available at gov.uk.
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 APHA on: 03000 200 301.