6th Jan 2017

Avian flu update: DEFRA tells owners to keep poultry indoors until spring

On the 5th of January, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that the restrictions on keeping birds indoors, would be maintained in England until 28 February. Similar moves were made in Scotland and Wales and there is a Britain-wide ban on poultry shows and gatherings.

Keepers, including people with just a few backyard hens, must place poultry indoors or take other measures to reduce the chances of them coming into contact with wild birds.

The prevention measures were initially imposed on the 6th of December but keepers had been hoping that birds used to roaming free would be allowed out this month.

England’s chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens, said: “Anyone who keeps poultry such as chickens, ducks and geese, even as pets, must take action to stop them coming into contact with wild birds to protect them from avian flu.

“Birds should be moved into a suitable building, or if that isn’t possible owners must take sensible precautions to keep them away from wild birds, like putting up netting to create a temporary enclosure and keeping food and water supplies inside where they cannot be contaminated by wild birds.

“Even when birds are kept indoors a risk of infection remains so keepers must also practice good biosecurity, for example by disinfecting footwear and equipment and washing clothing after contact with birds.”

The chief veterinary officer in Wales, Christianne Glossop, said: “Even when birds are housed, there remains a risk of infection and keepers of poultry and other captive birds should ensure that every effort is made to prevent contact with wild birds.”

For the official notice from DEFRA, CLICK HERE