Avian Influenza


avian influenza guidance and virus three bird composite_49799


Download the NFU Guide to Avian Influenza and access a host of useful information here

Access government advice at gov.uk - Avian Influenza page: Latest news, guidance on how to spot AI, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent it


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.

    "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


Download, print or share the NFU's infographic biosecurity poster for backyard keepers

Defra has produced a short leaflet to help keepers of small flocks of poultry to look after their birds and keep them safe from Avian Influenza.

Click here to view Defra's advice for backyard flock keepers

Watch: The previous 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 

Top tips

  • 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.

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.

  • 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?

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