Nottinghamshire businesses, schools and residents in possession of poultry and captive birds are being told to keep them indoors where possible to protect their flock and reduce the risk of avian influenza.
New housing measures were brought into force on Monday 29 November, which means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the country to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.
The warning comes after Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team responded to a report of a farm in the county not complying with the measures on Wednesday – with the farmer saying he was unaware of confirmed avian flu cases nationally or the measures in place.
Now Trading Standards officials have cancelled planned inspections of poultry farms in Nottinghamshire to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
The council is also contacting all farm visitor attractions in the county to remind them of the order.
Key advice for poultry keepers includes to:
- 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.
These new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.
The public is advised not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that they find.
If anyone finds dead 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.
Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301, while they should familiarise themselves with avian flu advice via the Gov.uk website.
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.
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “We need to be clear that these are preventative measures and there is no immediate risk to human health.
“This order is a legal requirement so anyone in possession of poultry or captive birds – whether it be a couple of chickens in a garden coop or a poultry farm – must follow its conditions.
“Although it is optional for people with fewer than 50 poultry or captive birds to register their birds with Defra, we are advising people to register so they get regular updates on this order.”
For further information search “avian influenza” at GOV.UK and to register poultry visit www.gov.uk/guidance/poultry-registration.