Mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds, which have been introduced across the UK to help stop the spread of bird flu, will be lifted from 12.01 a.m. on Monday May 2, 2022, confirmed today. now the chief veterinarian.
Poultry and other captive birds will no longer need to be housed, unless they are in a protection zone, and can be kept outside. Although the risk of avian influenza has been reduced to “medium” for premises with poor biosecurity, the enhanced biosecurity requirements that were introduced as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will remain in effect. because the infection can still circulate in the environment for several more weeks. All gatherings of poultry will remain prohibited.
Those who intend to leave their birds outside are encouraged to use the coming days to prepare their outdoor areas for the release of their birds. This will include cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water, and reintroducing wild bird deterrents.
The UK has faced its biggest bird flu outbreak with more than 100 confirmed cases across the country since late October. Scrupulous biosecurity is the most effective method of disease control available and all bird keepers should apply enhanced measures at all times to prevent the risk of future disease outbreaks.
In a joint statement, the four Chief Veterinary Officers said:
While the lifting of mandatory housing measures will be good news for birdwatchers, scrupulous biosecurity remains the most critical form of defense in keeping your birds safe.
It is thanks to the hard work of all the ornithologists and veterinarians, who have played their part in the safety of the flocks this winter, that we are able to take this measure. However, recent cases of avian influenza show that it is more important than ever for bird watchers to remain vigilant for signs of disease and to maintain strict biosecurity standards.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) will remain in effect across the UK, with only the housing measures component being lifted from Monday 2 May. This means that all bird keepers (whether they have pet birds, a commercial-sized flock or a backyard flock) must be diligent in continuing to take effective and preventative biosecurity measures, including including cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing, and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothes and shoes before entering and exiting enclosures. ‘birds.
Poultry and captive bird keepers should be alert to any signs of illness in their birds and all wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their veterinarian if they have any concerns.
All birdwatchers should:
- clean and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after any contact with poultry and captive birds – if possible, use disposable protective clothing
- reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimize contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective control vermin
- thoroughly clean and disinfect the accommodation on an ongoing basis
- keep disinfectant fresh at the correct concentration at all entry and exit points of farms and poultry houses
- minimize direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including ensuring that all food and water are not accessible to wild birds
The statement continued:
“We encourage all farmers to register their herds with the Animal and Plant Health Agency. For poultry, this is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds (poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeons (raised for meat), partridges, quails , guinea fowl and pheasants). Registering with us means that we will be able to contact you with required information or actions should an outbreak occur near you.
“Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds you find. If you find dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. For further d information, see our advice to the public.
“The public health advice is that the risk to human health is very low. The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland say bird flu poses a very low food safety risk to UK consumers, and this does not change their current advice on the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.
Birdwatchers should report suspected illness in Wales on 0300 303 8268, in England the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Scotland contact your local Field Services office. In Northern Ireland, contact DAERA on 0300 200 7840 or your local DAERA direct regional office. Keepers should familiarize themselves with our advice on bird flu.