Council urges poultry keepers to take action now

We are advising bird keepers that they must follow the latest government requirements, in light of the recent outbreaks of avian flu.

As of Monday 29 November, it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

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. These additional measures add to the AIPZ that came into force on Friday 5 November and means that as from 29 November it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures.

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.

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.

The national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone means that bird keepers all across the country must:

  • House or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild 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
  • 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

Bird keepers should visit the website for full details of the AIPZ and updated biosecurity guidance.

Councillor Ange Tyler, cabinet member for Housing, Regulatory Services & Community Safety said:

“We would like any keepers of poultry and captive birds in the county to follow the guidance and keep your birds inside and 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 introduction of the AIPZ comes after several cases in kept poultry and birds confirmed in the UK and 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.”

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, you should report them should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on: 03459 33 55 77.

Keepers should report any suspicion of disease to Animal and Plant Health Agency on: 03000 200 301.

Published: 26th November 2021