North Northamptonshire Council avian flu warning to keep birds fully housed from Monday

Birds must be kept housed or in fully enclosed or netted outdoor areas to minimize the risk of avian flu

Friday, 26th November 2021, 3:04 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 3:06 pm

People who keep birds have been reminded by North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) to keep their poultry or other captive birds housed from Monday (November 29) to minimise the risk of avian flu.

The legal requirement, which has come from the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, has been brought in following several cases of avian influenza across the UK in recent weeks.

Cllr David Brackenbury, NNC’s executive member for growth and infrastructure, said: "It is vital that anyone who keeps poultry or other captive birds, ensures they are kept housed, or where this is not possible on welfare grounds, birds must be kept in fully enclosed or netted outdoor areas."

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Turkeys and other poultry and birds need to be housed from Monday

The warning comes as cases of avian flu in wild bird populations have risen across the UK with latest figures issued by DEFRA showing 62 cases in one week in swans, geese, pheasant, buzzard, grebe, peregrine falcon, and duck.

So far no cases have been reported in Northamptonshire with Stratford-on-Avon and Kings Lynn and West Norfolk the nearest outbreaks in wild birds.

There are 18 cases currently confirmed in England in domestic birds.

The River Nene Valley from Denford to Northampton, Pitsford Reservoir and Stoke Dry Reservoir north of Corby have been designated higher risk areas by the Animal & Plant Health Agency.

The areas of 'higher risk' of avian flu are marked in light blue

Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of NNC said: "We know this is not going to be easy for bird keepers, but I hope everyone can appreciate why the Government has taken this decision.

"I would urge anyone who has a responsibility for birds to look at the advice and make sure you are following the current rules."

From November 29 bird keepers must house birds in accordance with the rules:

• 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

All keepers of poultry and other captive birds, including pet birds must now comply with the minimum biosecurity measures. 500 or more poultry or other captive birds must also comply with enhanced biosecurity measures. Keepers of poultry and other captive birds must comply with the housing measures.

Birds can be infected with the avian influenza virus through contact with infected saliva, nasal secretions or faeces.

Wild birds including waterfowl are often more resistant to avian influenza than domestic birds, and can carry and transmit the virus without showing evidence of disease.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

For more information about bird flu click here