Defra releases its latest outbreak assessment
Important information for chicken and other captive bird owners. The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone covering England will be amended on the 28th February.
Plans for expected enhanced biosecurity in England have been announced by Defra. More info at www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#planned-controls-in-england-from-28-february-2017.
“Maintaining tight biosecurity, such as high levels of cleanliness and hygiene and not allowing visitors to come too close to your birds, is essential.
“Signs of avian flu can vary between species of bird and could range from very mild signs like seeming ‘off colour’ or reduced feed or water intakes through to the severity of death. If you are concerned about your flock, speak to your local vet.”
Anyone with any suspicions of the disease in their birds should contact the APHA on 0300 0200 301
The BVA and the BVPA recommend the following tips to keepers of captive birds and backyard flocks:
- Read and act on Defra’s avian flu factsheet, designed for keepers of small flocks of poultry, which includes advice on protecting your birds.
- If you do not have a permanent building to house your birds in, think how you could adapt an outbuilding, such as a shed, or erect a temporary structure, such as a polytunnel, using netting to prevent contact with wild birds – the key is to stop contact between wild birds and your flock.
- Think of your flock’s welfare while the prevention zone is in place – check for and remove any hazardous substances from any building where you are housing your birds, make sure there is natural light and the environment is interesting to reduce the risk of feather pecking by, for example, adding straw bales and perches.
- Good biosecurity reduces the risk of infection – keep food and water supplies indoors where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds, feed your birds indoors and keep them away from standing water, keep movement in and out of enclosures to a minimum, and scrupulously clean footwear before and after visits.
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