Poultry and captive birds must be kept inside from next week

Poultry and other birds will have to be kept indoors from Monday to prevent the spread of bird flu.

Birds must be kept indoors from Monday to help prevent the spread of bird flu: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Birds must be kept indoors from Monday to help prevent the spread of bird flu: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

The Chief Veterinary Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed to bring in new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds.

It follows a number of confirmed cases of Avian Influenza across Great Britain in recent weeks, including one at Chirk on the Shropshire border.

A protection zone, surveillance zone and restricted zone were been put in place around the small infected poultry premises in the town to limit the risk of the disease spreading at the beginning of November.

Now all keepers whether they have a couple of chickens in the garden or thousands on a farm will be legally required to keep their birds housed or kept separate from wild birds, the Government has announced.

The move comes as wild birds migrate to the UK from mainland Europe for winter.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said keepers must take precautions such as regularly cleaning and disinfecting clothing, equipment and vehicles and limit access to non-essential workers and visitors.

The UK’s four chief veterinary officers released a joint statement, writing: “We have taken swift action to limit the spread of the disease and are now planning to introduce a legal requirement for all poultry and captive bird keepers to keep their birds housed or otherwise separate from wild birds.

“Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from Monday, onwards you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds.

Although there is a very low risk to human health and food safety the public has been advised not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds, including swans, geese, ducks, gulls or birds of prey. Instead they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

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