Reminder to follow Government guidance to prevent Avian Influenza

Published Thursday, 5th January 2017

Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards Service is reminding keepers of poultry and game to remain vigilant and follow the latest Government advice regarding avian flu.

There have been further outbreaks of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N8 including one at a smallholding in Carmarthenshire, Wales. 

The national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, introduced by the Chief Veterinary Officer before Christmas, remains in force following a review and has been extended to 28 February 2017. This requires poultry to be “housed” away from wild birds. 

It also introduced mandatory biosecurity measures and requires the compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds. For farmed geese, game birds and other captive birds, keepers should take practical steps to keep these birds separate from wild birds.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities said: “We have issued this reminder as officers have had to speak to one bird keeper already about ensuring his poultry remains housed. However, the risk to kept birds cannot be eliminated by housing alone so we are asking bird keepers to continue to follow the biosecurity measures identified in the guidance from the Ministry.

"We would also ask all bird keepers to remain vigilant and report any signs of the disease.  If a flock gets infected the controls put in place will impact on bird keepers within several kilometres radius of the outbreak location, so if individual keepers take these steps it helps protect all of their fellow keepers in the area."

Details of good practice and how best to protect yourself, your property and your birds can be found on the Gov.UK website, at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/avian-influenza-bird-flu-in-winter-2016-to-2017

Councillor Hodgson added: “We also need people to continue to report findings of dead wild birds so that they can be investigated. If poultry keepers or the general public find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey they should also report this to the DEFRA helpline by calling 03459 33 55 77.”