The latest situation on the Avian Flu outbreak in the UK is that DEFRA have announced a UK wide Prevention Zone from January 18th 2018 for anyone who keeps poultry or captive birds.
This means that:
If you keep poultry you must, by law, follow specific disease prevention measures. These apply to all keepers of birds, regardless of flock size, or if your birds are pets. These are designed to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds.
If you keep birds then you can continue to allow your birds outdoors into fenced areas, but only if these areas meet certain conditions including:
- you have made the areas unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources
- you have taken action to reduce any existing contamination, such as cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas
- you have assessed the risk of birds coming into contact with wild birds or contamination from them
If you keep more than 500 birds, you must take some extra biosecurity measures. They include identifying clearly defined areas where access by non-essential people and vehicles is restricted, and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles, equipment and footwear.
DEFRA gives the following biosecurity advice to all poultry keepers in order to reduce the risk of the disease spreading and contaminating UK flocks:
- minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
- clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Defra approved disinfectant at entrances and exits
- clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry
- keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways
- humanely control rats and mice
- place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
- keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access
- keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet
Whether you keep just a few birds as pets or have a much larger flock, good biosecurity is essential for maintaining their health and happiness.
You can register with DEFRA in order to be kept up to date on the Avian Flu situation. If you have 50 or more birds, you should register with DEFRA within one month of their arrival. More information can be found here.
This handy poster gives simple advice for all poultry keepers. It may be worth printing a few copies and giving them to other local poultry keeping friends and family.