The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officers are encouraging poultry keepers to take action now to reduce the risk of avian flu over the winter. The UK is currently free from avian flu, but over the last year, twenty-six outbreaks were confirmed in kept poultry and captive birds, and in over 300 wild birds. As winter approaches, the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic poultry will rise, and it is therefore important that poultry farmers and bird keepers take action to improve biosecurity standards.
In a joint statement, the UK’s four Chief Veterinary Officers have advised that poultry keepers:
- keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice, and regularly clean and disinfect any hard surfaces
- keep chickens and turkeys completely separate from ducks and geese
- conduct regular maintenance checks on sheds where birds are kept
- clean moss off the roofs, empty gutters and remove vegetation between sheds
- draw up contingency plans for storing bedding and dealing with pests
- place birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
- put fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl
- clean and disinfect footwear before and after entering premises where birds are kept
- ensure contingency and business continuity plans are developed and reviewed for managing your premises in the event of avian flu, including for housing birds, appropriate arrangements for bedding management, vermin and pest control
- ensure production records, including for farm movements, water intake and egg production, are up-to-date and easily accessible
- be ready to submit licensing requests for when planning to move birds, vehicles or feed, and have plans in place in case of delays
The Scottish Government will continue to monitor for incursions of avian flu.
Source: Scottish Government, 12 October 2021