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Agriculture news, Consumer news

Poultry owners reminded to take ‘measures’ to reduce risk of spreading bird flu

Posted on: 8 April 2022

The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service is reminding all keepers of poultry that they are legally required to take measures to reduce the risk of bird flu spreading.

On Wednesday (6 April) avian influenza (H5N1) was confirmed in a bird at a premises near Newton St Cyres, Mid Devon, and another case is suspected at a premises near Tedburn St Mary, Teignbridge.

All birds on both premises were due to be humanely culled. A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone has been placed around the Newton St Cyres premises and a 3km Temporary Control Zone and 10km Temporary Control Zone was placed around Tedburn St Mary premises.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) came into force across Great Britain last November.

This means all bird keepers, regardless of whether they are pet birds, a commercial flock or just a few birds in a backyard, must keep their birds indoors and keep a close watch on them for signs of disease.

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds, you must report it by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

If you find dead wild swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find. For further information go to Defra’s advice to the public page.

All bird keepers must follow strict biosecurity measures which include:

  • Disinfecting all vehicles which have been transporting poultry and disinfecting all crates, containers, plastic egg trays and other equipment before and after use.
  • Keeping farm access routes, parking areas, yards, areas around buildings and storage areas clean and tidy and well maintained.
  • Keeping all poultry houses or sheds well maintained to ensure that wild birds do not nest or roost in them.
  • Keeping wild birds, dogs, cats, rodents, and other livestock out of poultry buildings and feed stores.

Matthew Fogaty, Lead Officer for Animal Health and Welfare at Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, poultry keepers are legally required to meet the enhanced biosecurity procedures to protect their birds from this highly infectious virus.

“We are responsible for enforcement of these legal requirements and our officers are working hard to help and advise poultry keepers. We recommend all poultry keepers sign up to the Defra poultry register and the disease alert service where they will receive regular text updates.”

You can sign up to Defra’s alerts service. You can also get Defra email alerts.

For Defra’s official guidance visit GOV.UK – Avian influenza (bird flu).