The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officers are encouraging poultry keepers to take action now to reduce the risk of avian flu over the winter
The UK is currently free from avian flu, but over the last year 26 outbreaks were confirmed in kept poultry and captive birds and in over 300 wild birds. As winter approaches, the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic poultry will rise and therefore it is vital that poultry farmers and bird keepers take action to improve biosecurity standards.
There are several measures that can help to keep flocks disease free.
All keepers – whether they run a large commercial farm or keep just a few pet chickens in their back garden – can get ahead of the game and take these steps to reduce the risk of disease before the migration of wild birds begins again this winter:
- Keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly clean and disinfect any hard surfaces
- Keep chickens and turkeys completely separate from ducks and geese
- Conduct regular maintenance checks on their sheds
- Clean moss off the roofs, empty gutters and remove vegetation between sheds where birds are kept
- Draw up contingency plans for storing bedding and dealing with pests
- Place birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
- Put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl
- Clean and disinfect footwear before and after entering premises where birds are kept
For more guidance from GOV.UK visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/poultry-keepers-act-now-to-reduce-your-risk-from-bird-flu-this-winter