News Bird Flu New Rules For Poultry Keepers

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Bird flu: new rules for poultry keepers
27th November 2021



From Monday 29 November it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors, or to take measures to keep them separate from wild birds, and to follow strict biosecurity measures amid growing incidents of the avian influenza virus.

Defra is also advising the public not to touch, move or transport sick or dead birds.

Poultry keepers must now:
* 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.

Avian influenza can affect any bird, but the public is most likely to notice affected waterfowl such as swans, geese and ducks due to their size and visibility. 

The additional housing measures are being introduced following the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in by the Government across Great Britain as part of the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) earlier in November 2021.

To safeguard the welfare of kept birds under these strict new confinement measures, the RSPCA is encouraging keepers to provide enrichment in the house such as pecking objects and perches.  In addition, the birds should be checked on more frequently.


To report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, contact the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77).

To report sick birds, contact the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 9992

For general bird flu information, biosecurity advice and how to meet the government’s new requirements, visit www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu