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Since 12 January, Avian Influenza has been confirmed in a small number of wild birds in England. Click here for Defra's up-to-date list of outbreaks.
Chief Vet Nigel Gibbens confirms the prevention zone will legally require all bird keepers in England to follow strict biosecurity measures, introduced as a precautionary measure after cases of the disease were found in wild birds.
Further advice is available via the links below:
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, Nigel Gibbens, 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.
Watch: Chief vet Nigel Gibbens gives advice to people with backyard flocks on what they should look out for and how to keep their birds safe
- When you’re feeding your birds, make sure you are doing it in an area where wild birds are not able to access the feed.
- If your hens are inside, make sure you occupy the birds by giving them something to peck and play with like a straw bale or cardboard.
- Be sensible - if you’re having contact with other birds make sure you change your clothes and disinfect your footwear thoroughly.
- Make sure you keep the number of visitors and movement of vehicles or equipment in to and out of the areas where the birds are kept at an absolute minimum.
- Ensure you are on top of rodent control.
- Disinfectant foot baths should be made available at the correct concentration and kept in suitable and lidded containers and kept at suitable locations such as site entrances and entrances to poultry areas.
"I would urge all of our poultry members to continue to practice enhanced biosecurity at all times and to be vigilant for signs of disease. I would also ask members of the public who keep hens, geese and ducks to follow Defra’s advice as they have an important part to play in reducing the risk of AI both to their birds as well as the commercial poultry sector.” NFU chief poultry adviser Gary Ford