Captive birds in Peterborough must be housed to tackle bird flu

All captive birds must be housed in Peterborough by November 29 in a bid to tackle bird flu.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 5:12 pm
Rules are being put in place to stop the spread of bird flu

With a rapid rise in bird flu cases across the country, Peterborough City Council is urging local bird keepers to ensure they are implementing strict national measures put in place by the Government to help keep their own birds and the wild bird population safe this winter.

The requirements include new housing measures, which will come into force on Monday 29 November, to protect poultry and captive birds from avian influenza (also known as bird flu). It will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds, and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

The responsibilities will apply to all bird keepers – from major poultry and egg producers to those with a handful of chickens in the garden – and build on the previous measures introduced by the National Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) introduced nationwide earlier this month.

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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

The new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the Government’s work to protect flocks.

Councillor Steve Allen, cabinet member for Housing, Culture and Communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “There have now been 18 confirmed cases of bird flu across Great Britain in less than a month, compared to 21 between last November and March this year. Although we haven’t seen any locally as yet, it is still really important that all bird keepers do their utmost to comply with the measures put in place by the Government. This applies whether you just have a few chickens in your back garden or keep poultry commercially on a farm.

“It’s really important for us to help protect the livelihoods of our commercial bird keepers, as well as the health of birds kept as pets and the wild bird population, so if you look after poultry, please keep a close eye on them for any signs of disease and stay on top of your cleaning and working practises in line with the AIPZ and housing requirements.

“I would like to stress that the risk to public health is very low, and properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are still safe to eat according to the Food Standards Agency.”

All bird keepers are encouraged to register their poultry, even if only kept as pets, so the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) can contact them during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds.

Poultry keepers who have concerns about the health of their birds should contact their vet, and if they suspect disease amongst their birds they must report it immediately to the DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Members of the public are asked not to touch dead wild birds, but instead to report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

For more information about bird flu, including symptoms of the disease and best practice advice, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu