Updated: Dec 10, 2020
New housing measures will come into force in England, Scotland and Wales on 14 December.
It will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep birds indoors or ensure they are kept separate from wild birds. You must also follow strict biosecurity measures.
What does this mean for those of you with pet and backyard birds?
Option 1 = Indoors: If you have enough space to keep them indoors e.g. in a stable, then you should do so. This is the safest place for them.
Ensure you adequately enrich their lives and that they have enough space and hidey holes or you will risk bullying.
Option 2 = Kept separate from wild birds: Not everyone has enough indoor space to house all their birds, and not all flocks are conducive to being "cooped in", i.e. if you struggle with bullying if you house them. If this is your situation then these guidelines will apply to you.
Sides: Pen/net your birds in to prevent wild birds visiting your poultry.
Cover your birds to prevent faeces falling on them from wild birds with a waterproof cover e.g. tarpaulin.
Whatever you choose to do you must also ensure the following:
Ideally have chicken specific wellies or clogs kept upside down, and covered, outside your chickens housing.
Make a footdip and keep it at the entrance to your birds housing e.g. a large washing up bowl covered with some wood or plastic (to prevent rain ingress and UV light exposure), containing DEFRA registered disinfectant made up to the CORRECT concentration.
Avoid contact with other peoples birds and change your clothes if you do have to handle others birds. Disposable overalls work well.
Avoid vehicles driving near your bird areas, and disinfect vehicle ty
res if this is necessary.
Avoid other people handling your birds, let them wait to have cuddles until after the AI risk has passed.
Control vermin as they can carry wild bird faeces on them into your pen.
Regularly clean and disinfect your housing, especially if you are moving birds and putting new ones into old housing or buying a second hand coop.
Wash your hands before and after touching your birds, and keep some hand gel near their pen.
Prevent wild bird access to your bird's feed and water.
Minimise contact between your birds and wild birds. Use bird scarer's if you live in a risky area where gulls and waterfowl like to congregate.
Prevent access to open or permanent standing water which may have attracted waterfowl recently. This includes ditches, streams and puddles.
Waterfowl MUST be housed separately to chickens.
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of all concrete walkways, paths and similar surfaces to which poultry or other captive birds or wild birds have access.
Keep records of all vehicles entering premises where poultry are kept and of all people who come into any direct contact with the poultry.
Bird and egg movement records. Click here if this applies to you:
Fix buildings to prevent water ingress and other sources of contamination.
Do NOT place feed on the ground or in uncovered troughs to which wild birds can gain access. E.g. use Grandpa feeders and remove spilled feed regularly
Monitor for signs of disease, and seek prompt veterinary advice if they have any concerns. For details of how to report suspicion of disease click here.
Read here for more details.