Posted: Tue 30th Nov 2021

Bird Flu: New housing measures come into force to protect poultry

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Nov 30th, 2021

Flintshire council’s Animal Health Team has issued an update to make people aware of the increased risk presented by Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).

The Chief Veterinary Officers for Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have agreed to bring in the new housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza.

From Monday (29 November) anyone who keeps birds and poultry – whether it be only a few as pets or thousands of birds as part of a business – will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

This is to ensure owners keep birds indoors and strict biosecurity measures are followed in order to protect their own birds and limit the spread of the disease.

The disease is carried by wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months and this can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds.

The move follows a number of confirmed cases across Great Britain including locally in Wrexham and on Anglesey in recent weeks.

“Avian influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not carried in poultry or captive birds.” The Animal Health Team has said.

Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the avian influenza virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency Wales advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

Flintshire’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell, said:

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, we ask that all bird keepers take appropriate steps to keep their birds separate from wild birds in order to protect them from this highly infectious disease.”

“Protection of health, safety and wellbeing is a priority to the council and this includes animal health and welfare.”

“Our officers want to help bird keepers to protect their animals and ask that if you know someone who keeps birds who may not be aware of the increased risk of Bird Flu please spread the word so that we can keep Flintshire free of the virus.”

Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds and to seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.

Bird keepers are asked to report suspicion of disease in Wales on 0300 303 8268, in England to Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Keepers should familiarise themselves with current avian flu advice that is available on the Gov.wales website.

In the event of a member of the public discovering any dead or sick swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Current Welsh Government Advice to Keepers is as follows:

Poultry keepers must now do the following:

  • House or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild 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
  • 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

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