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Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared in England (effective from 5pm on the 11 November 2020) with additional housing measures in force from 14 December 2020. This means all bird keepers in England (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions, including housing their birds (except in very specific circumstances).
Close to home, H5N8 (highly pathogenic) avian influenza was confirmed in a backyard flock near Gillingham in Dorset on 19th December.

If you keep poultry or other captive birds, you must take action to reduce the risk of disease in your flock by following government advice on biosecurity. Further details of the measures that apply in the AIPZ can be found in the AIPZ declaration.

To assist all bird keepers in complying with the new rules the biosecurity guidance has been updated and a new Biosecurity self-assessment checklist has been published.

Good biosecurity improves the overall health and productivity of flocks by helping keep out poultry diseases such as avian influenza and limiting the spread of disease in an outbreak.

This applies just as much if you only have a few birds as pets, or if you have a large commercial flock. An outbreak of avian influenza in back garden chickens results in the same restrictions on movement of birds. It has the same effect on farmers and trade in poultry as an outbreak on a commercial farm.