14 December 2016

People who keep chickens and other poultry are being told to house them indoors after the Government warned of a strain of avian flu which has been reported in mainland Europe.

Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards, which has responsibility for animal health enforcement, says people who keep chickens, hens, ducks and turkeys in gardens or allotments must keep them inside and away from wild birds to reduce the risk of infection.

Preventative measure

No cases of the avian flu have been found in the UK and this is a preventative measure put in place by the Government’s Chief Vet. The prevention zone will remain in place until January 6th, 2017.

Poultry keepers are also advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.

Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said: “This advice applies to anyone who keeps poultry, from farmers to people who have a few hens in their backyard.

“At this stage it is simply a preventative measure, but it is important that people comply so that we can minimise the risk of this avian flu strain from spreading to the UK.

“There are some simple tips people can follow, or for further advice, poultry keepers should contact their vet or Defra.”

Advice for owners

Poultry owners are being asked to reduce the risk of infection by:

  • cleaning and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry are kept and using effective vermin control
  • thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
  • keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering coups
  • making sure feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

Public Health England says that the threat to human health remains very low.

Find out more

All poultry keepers are being encouraged to advise the Poultry Register of their flocks, however small, to ensure that they receive the latest information by visiting www.gov.uk/guidance/poultry-registration.

Further information is available from the Defra website at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu or calling 03459 33 55 77.