In response to the increased risk of Avian Influenza, there will be a legal requirement for all poultry and captive birds to be housed, or otherwise separated from wild birds from 14 December in Wales.
The new measures have been introduced following a number of confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza H5N8 in England during November. On 1 December the first wild bird findings have been also confirmed at two separate locations in Wales. Wild birds could introduce this virus into premises where poultry, game birds, pet or other captive birds are kept. This could be through direct or indirect contact.
In addition to the mandatory housing requirement, if you keep poultry, including game birds, pet or other captive birds anywhere in GB, you should review your biosecurity measures. The full Welsh Government guidance on biosecurity measures can be found by found on the Government website. The principle requirements are as follows:
- housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
- cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
- reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and using effective vermin control
- thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
- keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry and captive bird housing or enclosures
- minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement Services and Public Protection Services, said: “These biosecurity measures are designed with the ultimate aim of keeping the disease out of your premises and to prevent the spread of infection around the locality. You should always consult with a vet when reviewing your biosecurity measures to ensure they are as robust and efficacious as possible.”
All poultry keepers should also be vigilant for signs of disease in their flocks, including newly deceased birds and to report any suspicion immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency at email@example.com.
There is a compulsory requirement to register with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) if you keep more than 50 birds. You are also encouraged to register with fewer than 50 birds so that poultry keepers can be notified of disease outbreaks such as Avian Influenza. Guidance on how register can be seen on the Government’s website.