Compulsory housing measures for poultry and captive birds are set to be lifted at the end of this month, the Chief Veterinary Officers from Scotland, England and Wales have announced .The risk of incursion of Avian Influenza has been reduced to medium for both wild birds and kept birds, however Biosecurity (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) must remain a priority.
Measures put in place have been successful in helping to contain the disease and, provided that there are no new significant cases between now and the end of March, the current measures are due to be relaxed on the 31st of March. The last confirmed case in poultry in Great Britain was over a month ago on the 12th February in Scotland.
The housing measures, which were introduced across Great Britain in December as one of a range of measures to stop the spread of Avian Influenza, have been a vital tool in protecting flocks across the country from the disease which is circulating in wild birds.
The Scottish Government, Defra and Welsh Government have been working closely with industry and bird keepers to ensure that there are strict biosecurity measures in and around poultry premises to help keep flocks safe.
Bird keepers are advised to use the next two weeks to prepare the ranges and outdoor areas for release of the birds. This will include cleansing and disinfection of hard surfaces, fencing off ponds or standing water and reintroduction of wild bird deterrents.
In addition, when the birds are allowed out at the end of March all poultry and captive bird keepers will need to keep taking extra precautions, such as cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.
Avian influenza (bird flu) is a Notifiable Animal Disease (Opens in a new window or downloads a file). If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.