Avian Flu December 2016
UK Restrictions were put in place for Avian Flu December 2016
These measures currently apply whether you have 2 hens or 102 and covers the whole of the UK and at present are in effect until 5th January 2017.
The current 30 day restriction is as follows:
“Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are now required to keep their birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.”
If you have a big enough coop the easiest option would be to contain them within. Many smaller coops aren’t suitable for containment with food an water. In these circumstances you need to put in place a covered run or similar that will prevent wild birds coming into contact.
It needs to be remembered that migratory birds will fly over head and droppings can quickly pass contamination. As such ideally cover all sides of the run at upper levels and make sure the lower area is either covered or has such small mesh that no birds could come through. If you have a shed or other area you can contain your flock in this may be a good idea until the restrictions and risk has passed.
Keeping a clean coop and covered or enclosed run is more important that ever. Disinfect clothing and footwear before and after entering the coop or run, and keep contact to a minimum.
Penalty for Non-Co-Operation
Having checked with DEFRA, those who fail to comply will be looking at a hefty fine so please put these restrictions in place as soon as reasonably possible.
Signs of Avian Flu
It is important to keep a close eye on your flock during this time. The Government advises that:
“Clinical signs that poultry keepers should look for in their birds include a swollen head, discolouration of neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea and fewer eggs laid – although these vary between species of bird.”
And further that:
“If poultry keepers or the general public find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, they should report them to the Defra helpline by calling 03459 33 55 77”
Full Government Press Release
The full press release with regards to the Avian Flu outbreak and restrictions can be found here:
Many thanks to John Harrison for contributing to this article and keeping us updated with the current restrictions