Avian Influenza

avian influenza guidance and virus three bird composite_49799




Keep your birds safe poster

This NFU poster explains some of the biosecurity measures that you must implement whilst the AIPZ is in place. The poster can be printed and shared on farm or with other poultry keepers. Download it here.

Only 1g of infected faeces is required to cause one million birds to die, therefore keeping everything that is going in and out of the shed to a minimum and as clean as possible, is the only way to minimise the risk of AI.

Defra has put together some guidance on biosecurity and preventing disease in a Prevention Zone which has good biosecurity points worth following.

The chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, advises the following:

  • Cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • Reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry are kept to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products and using effective vermin control
  • Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
  • Keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry housing or enclosures
  • Minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds.

NFU chief poultry adviser Aimee Mahony said: “All poultry keepers have played a crucial role in minimising the threat of Avian Influenza and have therefore contributed to allowing these measures to be lifted.

“It will be a great relief to farmers with free-range flocks that have had to house their birds for over three months due to these government-imposed measures, and they will be pleased that they can once again give their birds access to the outside range area.

“While the threat of Avian Influenza has decreased, it is still incredibly important that everyone who keeps birds remains vigilant and continues to follow enhanced biosecurity measures, whether they are a commercial farmer with thousands of birds or somebody with one hen in the garden.”


The NFU has created a poster explaining some of the biosecurity measures to implement whilst the AIPZ is in place. The poster can be printed and shared with other poultry keepers. Find it here.

Watch: Chief vet Christine Middlemiss gives advice to people with backyard flocks on what they should look out for and how to keep their birds safe 


It is understandable, during these times, to feel an increase in stress or anxiety. There are a number of rural charities and support networks that can offer help to those in need.

If you are struggling or know someone who is, know that you are not alone and the below helplines are here to support:

  • FCN: 03000 111 999
  • RABI: 0808 281 9490
  • DPJ Foundation: 0800 587 4262
  • YANA: 0300 3230 400

RABI has created an online farming community where you can access free, safe and anonymous online mental wellbeing support from any device – find it here.

Farmwell has also published useful personal resilience guidance.

You can also find regional, national, and membership organisations that offer support in the Prince's Countryside Fund national directory of farm and rural support groups, here.

Members of the public are encouraged to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) helpline on 0300 303 8268.

If you’re concerned with the health of any of your own birds please contact your veterinary surgeon, or if you think they are showing signs of disease please contact your local APHA office.

More from NFUonline:

  • Posted by: GEOFFREY MCCARRONPosted on: 28/02/2017 11:17:45

    Comment: what is the status regarding keeping poultry in for non commercial owners in Shetland from today?