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Avian Influenza Update – December 2019

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have confirmed an outbreak of Low Pathogenic Avian Flu on a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk on December 10th 2019, they have put in place a 1km restriction zone around the infected farm to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Read DEFRA’s biosecurity advice below, and visit their website for further information on the outbreak and the restrictions in place: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

Biosecurity Advice

If you keep poultry or other captive birds, you must take action to reduce the risk of disease in your flock by following government advice on biosecurity. This is especially relevant if your birds are located in a Higher Risk Area (HRA). Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of your flock by helping keep out poultry diseases such as avian influenza and limiting the spread of disease in an outbreak.

This applies just as much if you only have a few birds as pets, or if you have a large commercial flock. An outbreak of bird flu in back garden chickens results in the same restrictions on movement of birds. It has the same effect on farmers and trade in poultry as an outbreak on a commercial farm.

To ensure good biosecurity, all poultry keepers should:

  • minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
  • clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Defra approved disinfectant at entrances and exits
  • clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry
  • keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways
  • humanely control rats and mice
  • place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilt feed regularly
  • avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species, where possible
  • keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access
  • keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet
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