Protect hens from bird flu
Avian influenza protection zone comes into force across Great Britain as bird flu cases have been found in wild and captive birds.
FROM 5pm yesterday (Wednesday 3rd November 2021) it became a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict measures to protect their flocks from bird flu.
Avian influenza (bird flu) has been found in wild birds across the country - many people will have seen the recent distressing scenes of swans dying in Stratford-upon-Avon - and so the Chief Veterinary Officers of England, Scotland and Wales declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.
Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.
Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.
Colin Cartwright, North Warwickshire North Chairman (Neighbourhood Watch) wrote: “Chucks belonging to a Rural Crime Team member…will now be slightly less free range for their own protection.”
Avian influenza circulates naturally in wild birds and when they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe over the winter they can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.
The UK health agencies advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the UK food standards agencies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
The introduction of the protection zone comes after the disease was detected in captive birds in England, Wales and Scotland. The disease has also been detected in wild birds at multiple sites across Great Britain.
Dead wild waterfowl or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, should be reported to its helpline and members of the public should not pick up any dead or visibly sick birds.
Further guidance and advice can be found on the Government website.