Poultry farmers and bird keepers urged to prepare for winter avian influenza threat

04 December 2018

Article: 52/4808

Poultry farmers and pet bird keepers across the UK are being urged to prepare for winter avian influenza threat through biosecurity measures. The Chief Veterinary Officers across the UK are encouraging all poultry keepers to take action now to reduce the risk of disease over the winter.

Since June 2017, there have been no detections of avian influenza in poultry or kept birds in the UK, and the UK has retained its OIE country freedom status since September 2017.

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

  • keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly disinfect any hard surfaces;
  • clean footwear before and after visits;
  • place birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly;
  • put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl;
  • where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.

Guidance on avian influenza (bird flu) from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), updated on 29 November 2018, can be accessed on their website.

On 28 November 2018, Defra published ‘Disease risk considerations supporting the definition of Avian Influenza Higher Risk Areas in England, Scotland and Wales’.

Source: Defra, 27 November 2018