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New bird flu biosecurity measures come into force in UK

Poultry and game bird keepers across the UK are now legally required to keep birds indoors to stem the spread of bird flu.

15 December 2020, at 7:42am

The requirement is part of new housing measures which have come into force from 14 December to protect against avian influenza.

Where birds cannot be kept indoors, keepers will be required to take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

Other requirements include following strict biosecurity measures and:

  • Housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
  • Cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • Reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and using effective vermin control
  • Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
  • Keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry and captive bird housing or enclosures
  • Minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

Mark Walker, Group Manager for Trading Standards and Communities at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “These new measures have been introduced nationwide as part of the Government’s work to protect flocks.

“The new measures hope to limit the spread of the disease and it is important to note that they apply to all keepers, whether there are only a few birds kept or thousands.

“Keepers with any concerns should seek advice from their vet and be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds or wild birds.

“Poultry and captive bird keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (option 7), and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.”

UK poultry keepers can click here for more information on the new measures.