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Bird Flu: Updated guidance for keeping your birds safe

October 18, 2019

Hello. I’m Nigel Gibbens, I’m the Government Chief Veterinary Officer and I’m here to talk to you today about the ongoing threat from bird ‘flu, and the measures we’re taking to help prevent the disease from the 28th of February this year The UK still faces the threat of an epidemic of bird flu. It’s been moving across Europe
since Autumn last year. It arrived in our country in December and
we’re still finding cases in wild birds and unfortunately in poultry
flocks and indeed backyard flocks. Reflecting that risk, we’re reviewing our
approach from the end of February, and we’re going to require continued high disease control measures across the whole country, but only require housing in those parts that are at the very
high risk. Everybody needs to take measures to make sure they don’t carry in disease to their birds. So when you enter your birds, make sure you’re clean, disinfect your feet. Don’t go in unless you need to; go in enough to make sure you’ve fed watered and looked after their welfare, but do everything you
can to make sure you don’t carry disease into your birds. For England we’ve identified the high risk
areas, and we’ve made it easy for you to know whether you’re in a high risk area or not by producing a map, which is available on our website on
GOV.UK. You can use your postcode or ideally a map reference to pinpoint where you are and see whether you’re in a high risk area. We’ve looked very carefully at what’s been
happening across Europe and what’s been happening in this country and it’s clear that the biggest risk is from aquatic wild birds, ducks and geese especially and the areas where they’re congregating. So we can identify areas near large bodies of water, large congregations of ducks and geese, and they are at higher risk. There, people must continue to house their birds, or keep them separate by providing netting, to stop wild
birds getting in amongst them either from the side or from overhead. Of course look after their welfare, check
them regularly to make sure they’re healthy, make sure they’ve got enough
food drink and bedding, make sure that they’re entertained, so feed them on the floor, give them things to do, cabbages to play with, bales to look at. Make sure they’ve got light during the hours of daylight, and ideally, bright enough that you can easily read a newspaper. If you’ve looked at our interactive map and you’ve found hooray, that you’re not in one of the highest risk areas, do consider the risk you face for yourself. If your house, or the place where you keep
your birds is regularly visited by ducks or geese or
other waterfowl, then you are at high risk and you really should
be maintaining housing. If that’s not the case you can allow them
to go outside again, but before you do it, make sure the place you’re letting them out
to is clean, not contaminated by wild birds, and it can be weeks or even months that the virus will stay alive so you need to be very careful about the cleanliness of the area. If you have ponds, make sure they are not
accessible; fence them off, make sure they make sure they don’t attract wild birds
and don’t attract wild birds yourself Feed inside, water inside and make sure your birds have got access to a nice clean range that doesn’t attract
wild birds. All poultry keepers need to maintain vigilance. Do everything you can to make sure you don’t carry disease in to your birds, and wild birds don’t carry disease in to your birds. Obviously look to their welfare,
whether you’ve just let them out or whether you’re continuing to keep them in. Don’t be worried about your own health,
Public Health England have said there is a very low risk to public health, but you really
should worry about your birds’ health and welfare, because this is such a
serious and fatal disease. If you want to look at more detail on what
I’ve just said, do look on our website; we’ve got more detailed guidance on
GOV.UK. Thank you.

1 Comment

  • Reply Trees woods & forest gardens - agroforestry arboriculture March 1, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Added to our keeping chickens and poultry playlist and our biosecurity news playlist, both on our channel homepage.

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