We have had more than enough worries about Covid-19 and now all keepers of outdoor birds are being urged to take precautions to protect their flocks following the discovery of a wild goose testing positive for avian influenza near Weymouth.
There have been a number of outbreaks of bird flu across the country and so the UK’s chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss has confirmed an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. Owners of poultry including chickens, ducks and geese are also urged to strengthen their biosecurity measures in order to prevent further outbreaks of avian influenza in the UK.
They can protect their birds from this disease by following these simple steps;
▪ Keep the area where birds live clean and tidy, control rats and mice and regularly clean and disinfect any hard surfaces
▪ Clean footwear before and after entering the area the birds are kept
▪ Place birds’ feed and water in 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
▪ Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.
Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.
Dorset Council’s trading standards animal health team can also offer help and advice on 01305 224475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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