11/10/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/10/2022 10:23
Hygiene and biosecurity standards to keep birds safe from bird flu (avian influenza).
Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) is in an avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ). By law you must follow the hygiene and disease prevention rules. This is to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading.
The main causes of bird flu in poultry and other captive birds are contact with:
You can speak to your vet about the specific risks to your birds. They can give you advice about practical things you can do to reduce the risk of disease.
Read guidance on records you must keep, movement restrictions and other rules if you're in a bird flu prevention or control zone.
If you have 50 or more poultry or game birds you must register your birds within one month after they arrive at your premises. This is a legal requirement.
If you have fewer than 50 birds you should register your birds, even if you only keep them as pets.
Check if you need to need to register your captive birds of prey.
Registering your birds means the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) can contact you during a bird flu outbreak.
Keep ducks and geese in a separate pen or building away from other birds.
Ducks and geese do not always show signs of bird flu. This means they can quickly pass it on to other birds, such as chickens or turkeys.
Do not let poultry or captive birds from neighbouring sites or properties near your birds.
Wild birds can spread bird flu. Your birds can get infected if they:
Your birds' food, water, housing or equipment can be contaminated by direct or indirect contact.
Make your property or premises unattractive to wild birds. You can use:
Check outside areas around your birds' housing daily and remove wild bird:
Keep food, water and bedding in enclosed areas so wild birds cannot access them.
If bedding (such as straw and shavings) are stored outside they must be covered. Unwrap the bedding before you take it inside the bird house - only take clean bedding inside.
Regularly change the times you feed your birds. Wild birds can learn when poultry and other captive birds are fed and gather in the area.
To maintain your birds' housing:
Follow guidance to manage your birds' housing and welfare.
If you have open water on your premises fence it off and where possible cover it with netting to discourage wild birds. Water and wild birds can carry disease.
Rats and mice can carry diseases on their feet and fur. Effective pest control will prevent diseases.
Control rats or mice with an approved rodenticide .
When using rodenticide make sure it does not risk the health of your birds. Read advice for rodent control and the safe use of rodenticide.
Wild animals such as foxes and dogs, cats and other livestock can also carry diseases on their feet and fur. Keep them away from your birds' housing and food supplies.
Keep your premises and birds' housing clean at all times.
You must use a Defra-approved disinfectant.
Clean and disinfect regularly:
When using disinfectant you must:
Do not apply disinfectants close to drinking water supplies such as reservoirs, or surface water such as streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.
This helps to stop wild birds and animals:
It will also reduce the risk of vehicles becoming contaminated.
You must wear clean footwear and clothing when you enter bird housing.
If you have more than one bird house you must have dedicated clothing or overalls for each house.
To access bird housing in clean footwear, you must do one of the following:
Do not walk on ground outside the bird housing in your disinfected or dedicated footwear.
The risk of disease can increase if lots of people have access to your birds.
Keep a record of all people that visit and leave your birds' housing (names, contact details, dates, times and purpose for the visit). This does not apply to zoos.
You can use records to contact people if you get a confirmed case of bird flu or Newcastle disease.
You are responsible for the welfare of your birds.
When they need to be housed make sure they are calm and comfortable.
Read about how to manage your birds' housing and welfare.
If you buy new birds, always check their health before you bring them to your property.
Keep new birds separate from the rest of the flock. Talk to your vet about this and agree a monitoring programme.
You must put new birds in housing that has been cleaned and disinfected.
Use separate equipment when you handle new birds or isolated flocks.
If possible, have different people to handle new birds. If this is not possible handle the new birds last.
You must change into clean clothes and footwear when you go between new birds and your existing flock.
If you have more than 50 poultry and game birds you must register them.
If you have fewer than 50 birds you can still register them. Defra will contact you if there's a bird flu outbreak in your area.
Check the rules for bird gatherings.
You must tell APHA if you're holding a bird gathering.
There are extra requirements you need to follow to keep your birds and premises safe from disease.
You must separate your premises into 3 different parts:
You must clean and disinfect housing and equipment at the end of a production cycle and when new birds are introduced.
Egg producers should:
All bird keepers must regularly inspect bird housing including roofs, gutters and downpipes for holes and leaks.
Repair any holes or leaks immediately. Water can carry disease.
Keep records of:
These can carry disease. Dispose of them quickly and appropriately. Follow guidance for:
Poultry and most captive birds cannot be vaccinated against bird flu. Vaccination is not a routine measure to control the disease.
Zoo birds in England can be vaccinated, but you must get authorisation from APHA.
Bird flu mainly affects birds. It can affect humans and other mammals. The UK Health Security Agency advise that the risk from this bird flu strain is very low.
The Food Standards Agency advise that it is safe to eat properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs.
For more advice go to the:
Follow Health and Safety Executive advice to protect workers from bird flu.
Representatives from APHA or local authorities may ask for it if they inspect your premises.
Landowners, local authorities and other organisations can download and print bird flu posters to display on site when there is a risk of bird flu or if bird has been detected in the area.
Added a link to the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone self-assessment checklist.