BASC is advising members that Defra is removing restrictions on the housing of birds following the latest analysis of the Avian Influenza risk posed by wild birds.

The requirement to house or fully net poultry and gamebirds in ‘Higher Risk Areas’ of England, introduced on 28 February to minimise the risk of them catching bird ‘flu from wild birds, will be lifted on Thursday, April 13. 

The latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice has highlighted that the majority of over-wintering migratory birds have now left the UK while resident wild waterfowl are at their lowest levels and entering the breeding season when they become less likely to move long distances to forage for food.

Enhanced biosecurity measures must stay in place, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping clean birds’ living areas and feeding birds indoors.

The ban on poultry gatherings announced on 20 December also remains in place until further notice.

Those planning to let birds outdoors on Thursday are urged to minimise the risk of residual contamination by following the government’s guidance.

Where keepers have concerns about the risk of allowing birds outside, they are advised to consult their private vet.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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