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New measures introduced to halt the spread of Avian Flu


04 November 2022

Avian flu guidance logo

North Northamptonshire Council is reminding anyone who keeps birds that they will legally have to keep their birds housed from Monday, November 7 to minimise the risk of avian flu.

The housing measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.

The Government order will extend the mandatory housing measures already in force in the hot spot area of Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Essex to the whole of England following an increase in the national risk of bird flu in wild birds to very high.

Over the last year, the United Kingdom has faced its largest ever outbreak of avian influenza with over 200 cases confirmed since late October 2021. The introduction of the housing measures comes after the disease was detected at over 70 premises nationwide since the beginning of October, as well as multiple reports in wild birds.

The Chief Veterinary Officer is now encouraging all bird keepers across England to use the week to prepare, including taking steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their private vet and expand housing where necessary.

It is vital that anyone who keeps poultry or other captive birds, ensures they are kept housed, to help stop the spread of Avian flu.

This is the largest ever outbreak in the UK and while the concentration of cases so far has been in the East region we must do everything we can to try and stop the spread.
Cllr David Brackenbury, the council’s Executive Member for Growth and Infrastructure

All bird keepers, whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard, must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If they have any concerns about the health of birds, they are asked to notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately.

We know this is not going to be easy for bird keepers, but I hope everyone can appreciate why the Government has taken this decision. I would urge anyone who has a responsibility for birds to look at the advice and make sure you are following the current rules.Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of NNC

The addition of housing measures to the AIPZ already in force across England means all bird keepers across England from 00.01 on November 7, bird keepers must:

  • house or net all poultry and captive birds
  • cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • keep records of mortality, movement of poultry and poultry products and any changes in production
  • thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
  • prevent access by poultry to ponds and watercourses and ensure that birds are kept in fenced or enclosed areas

Registering birds

People are being asked to register poultry, even if only kept as pets, so Defra can contact them during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if people have 50 or more birds. 

Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon, partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.