Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards are reminding poultry, game and captive bird keepers that they need to protect their birds from avian flu.
Following the confirmation of H5N6 bird flu in 13 wild birds in Warwickshire, a few days after bird flu was found in wild birds in South Dorset on 12 January, 2018, Defra have implemented an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.
This prevention zone came into force on January 18 and creates a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to adopt strict biosecurity measures. Trading Standards are responsible for ensuring the measures are complied with.
This zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of work to monitor the threat of avian flu.
Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for public protection and education, 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 across the UK.
“There are some simple tips people can follow, or for further advice, poultry keepers should contact their vet or Defra.”
It is vital that anyone who keeps birds, whether a few in a back garden or thousands on a commercial unit is vigilant and adheres to the new rules.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK however in summary all poultry keepers should:
- Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
- Clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Government 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
Poultry keepers and members of the public who finds dead wild birds should report them to the Defra helpline on 0345 933 5577 and bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 0300 020 0301.