Avian Influenza

Published: 07 December 2020


Avian Influenza (or ‘bird flu’ as it is also known) is currently posing a serious threat to the health of all domestic birds in the UK. in an effort to prevent this spreading further, DEFRA further announced that a nationwide ‘Prevention Zone’ was placed on domestic birds in England and the following now applies to all domestic poultry, fowl and other captive birds kept in England. Until further notice, from 14thDecember 2020 onwards, you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. This includes:

The housing of all poultry and captive birds. Where housing is not possible, netting may be used to cover the housing and run areas.

Cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing

Reducing 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

· Using effective and safe vermin control

Minimising 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

Full details about the housing order and nationwide ‘prevention zone’ can be found at Defra’s website or by contacting Animal Health at Wakefield Council on 03458 506 506

The following information is very important:

· Keep a close watch on your birds for any sign of any illness or disease and maintain good levels of biosecurity at all times

· If you find any dead wild waterfowl (e.g. swans, geese or ducks) or several dead wild birds of other species in the same location, you should report them to the Defra wild bird helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77)

· Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find

· Keepers of more than 50 birds may have to follow additional advice – please see the DEFRA website for more information

· If any of your birds show the following symptoms, speak with your vet and report it the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) immediately 03000 200 301

Ø swollen head

Ø blue discolouration at head, throat and neck areas

Ø loss of appetite

Ø respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling

Ø diarrhoea

Ø fewer eggs laid

Ø Increased number of deaths in your flock

Control of this disease is very important because the virus can change and affect human health and bird health