Avian Influenza in the UK
BASC is advising members that outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been confirmed in the UK. H5N8, a strain of Avian Influenza, has been detected in wild and captive birds.
In response, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across England, Scotland and Wales. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.
Compulsory housing measures for poultry and captive birds are set to be lifted on 31st March due to successful control of the disease. Enhanced biosecurity requirements remain in place. Full information can be found here.
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You can also sign up to be notified automatically with the latest news specific to the exotic notifiable animal disease outbreaks in Great Britain including Avian Influenza. When registering, you can choose how you receive alerts. These can be either as a pre-recorded voice message for mobile or landlines, text message or email.
Biosecurity measures and preventing the spread of disease
All bird keepers in the UK, including gamebirds and pet birds, are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions. 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.
It is vital that all bird keepers in the UK continue to practice the highest levels of biosecurity and be vigilant for any signs of disease. For guidance contact the Game and Gundogs team on 01244 573 019 or email email@example.com.
Poultry and gamekeepers
Wild birds migrating from mainland Europe during the winter period can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds. There are some simple measures that all poultry keepers should take to protect their birds against the threat of Avian Influenza.
- Keeping the area where birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly cleansing and disinfecting any hard surfaces.
- Cleaning footwear before and after visits.
- Placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds and removing any spilled feed regularly.
- Putting fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limiting their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl.
- Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.
Bird fairs, markets, shows and other gatherings
Bird gatherings are not permitted within the AIPZ and therefore are not currently permitted. Further information can be found here on guidance for bird gatherings. The collection of wild game birds is not affected by these measures.
Monitoring and reporting sightings
You can help with the detection of Avian Influenza in our wild bird populations by continuing to monitor and report any sighting of abnormal behaviour or findings of dead birds to help highlight the early spread of the virus.
If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).
It is essential for wildfowlers to play their part and continue to report any sightings. Please ensure you do your bit, while remaining Covid-19 compliant in your respective countries.
Register your birds
You must register poultry flocks of 50 or more birds that you own or are responsible for. Please note that they do not have to all be the same species and this applies even if your premises are only stocked for part of the year.
BASC is advising that anyone who keeps birds and who is not already registered on the Great Britain poultry register should do so. More information on the register can be found by clicking here.
Advice on public health
Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency suggests that Avian Influenza poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
Click on the drop down FAQs below for more information
Shooting, whether of gamebirds or other quarry species, is currently unaffected by the controls in place for Avian Influenza. However, there may be Covid-19 restrictions in place near you. Check our dedicated webpage for the latest information relating to shooting and Covid-19 here.
It is also important for the wider shooting community to remain vigilant of Avian Influenza and understand how to spot symptoms of the disease.
You can help with the detection of Avian Influenza in our wild bird populations by continuing to monitor and report any sighting of abnormal behaviour or findings of dead birds. If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).
There are currently no restrictions on the movement of shot wild game bird in or out of protection and surveillance zones, and no special conditions for the marking, movement, or sale of the carcases.