Advice from Defra on protecting your poultry and reducing the risk of infection.
Defra, with the RVC, British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA), have put together a guide designed to help keepers of small flocks of poultry look after their birds while there is a prevention zone in place.
Bird flu (highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8) is a viral disease affecting all types of poultry. It is currently being carried by migratory wild birds and waterfowl across Europe.
To reduce the risk of the disease spreading to domesticated birds, anyone who keeps any type of poultry, or other farmed or captive birds, must make sure their birds are housed or, if this is not possible, kept separate from wild birds.
If you have a suitable building that the birds can be moved into without causing them stress, or overcrowding or other problems then you should do so.
If this is not possible then sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds must be taken. For example:
- Keeping food and water supplies inside where wild birds cannot get access and contaminate them
- Ensuring your birds are fed and watered inside where no wild birds can intermingle with your birds
- Setting up a temporary area outside with a net over it to ensure wild birds cannot get access
- And there could be many things that you could do which would be sensible in your own particular set up
It is also important to practice good biosecurity, so do not allow visitors to handle your birds, and you should keep visitors and others well away from your birds.
Keeping things clean and tidy will help to reduce the chance of infection.
Further details, including updates on the current situation, can be found at:
- www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu (England)
- www.gov.scot/avianinfluenza (Scotland)
- www.gov.wales/avianflu (Wales)
- www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/avian-influenza-ai (Northern Ireland)