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A notice for all bird keepers and the public on Avian Influenza

With regard to the most recent cases of Avian Influenza within the UK, we would like to remind all bird keepers of the need to maintain the highest standards of biosecurity to prevent the introduction of disease, and to report any clinical signs indicative of avian influenza in poultry.  

November 13th, 2020

There are some simple measures that all bird keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in theirChickens back garden, or rearing game birds, should take to protect their birds against the threat of avian flu in the coming winter months. These include:

  • Keeping the area where birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly cleansing and disinfecting any hard surfaces 
  • Cleaning footwear before and after visits
  • Placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and removing any spilled feed regularly  ·   
  • Putting fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limiting their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl  ·  
  • Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.    

All keepers can find the latest biosecurity advice on gov.uk at the following links:

Wild Bird Surveillance  

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carries out surveillance for avian influenza in several ways, including a national survey of domestic poultry and found-dead wild birds of species commonly affected by the Avian Influenza.  We are urging wildlife wardens to alert us to deaths of these species.  

In addition, we ask that the public use the Defra helpline (Tel: 03459 33 55 77) to report findings of dead wild birds. In particular, any wild ducks, wild geese, swans or gulls (or any other species that have been found infected across Europe). For geese, ducks, gulls, swans, birds of prey found dead reports of one or more dead birds will be considered for collection. For any other species five or more dead birds in one location will be considered for collection.  

Information on monitoring across Europe is available in our frequent outbreak assessments.   Information on the latest findings of HPAI in wild birds can be found here. Poultry keepers can sign up to receive free alerts through APHA’s disease alerts service