Prepare for winter Avian Flu threat

The Chief Veterinary Officers across the UK are encouraging all poultry keepers to take action now to reduce the risk of disease in their birds over the winter.

There are some simple measures that all poultry keepers, whether they are running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in their back garden, or rearing game birds, should take to protect their birds against the threat of avian influenza (bird flu) in the coming winter months.

These include:

Keeping the area where birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly disinfecting any hard surfaces

Cleaning footwear before and after visits

Placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and removing any spilled feed regularly

Putting fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limiting their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl

Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.

A joint statement by the four Chief Veterinary Officers in the UK today, said: “Avian flu is a constant threat to all poultry, and with winter approaching there will be an increasing risk of disease incursion from migrating birds. It is therefore important that all keepers of poultry, including game birds and pet birds, act now to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their flocks.”