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Housing order advice

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

See the DEFRA website for more information

When does this apply?

When APHA announce a local or national Housing order. See website to sign up to free updates.

Who does this apply to?

All bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or a backyard flock), however many birds you have 1 - 100,000.

Why should I comply?

  1. To protect my birds. Watch my Avian Influenza webinar from last year to see what it can do to your birds.

  2. To protect myself - it is required by law. Failure to comply with this Declaration may be an offence under section 73 of the Animal Health Act 1981 and subject to an unlimited fine on summary conviction and up to 3 months’ imprisonment per offence.

What do I need to do?

Housing orders are in addition to other zone-specific measures that may be introduced in your area.

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.

Top: cover your birds to prevent faeces falling on them from wild birds with a waterproof cover e.g. tarpaulin or corrugated plastic/metal etc,. A net will still allow water ingress which can bring wild bird faeces with it, and should not be used for pet poultry as it will not keep them safe.

Sides: Seal/net your birds in to prevent wild birds visiting your poultry.

The coop above is a good example of a compliant set up with the roof and sides.

To watch a video of how to set up a coop to be compliant, click here. Whatever you choose to do you must ensure the following.

  1. Ideally have chicken specific footwear (wellies or clogs) kept covered by the entrance, or hung up inside the door. You do not have to have a footdip if you have a boot change station, so this might be better for families with pets and children in the garden. To see how to do this, click here to watch a video.

  2. If you choose to use a footdip instead, it is essential you maintain it properly so that it works. Position it at the entrance to your birds housing e.g. a large washing up bowl covered with opaque plastic (to prevent rain ingress and UV light exposure which both reduce efficacy of disinfectants), containing DEFRA registered disinfectant made up to the CORRECT concentration. To see how to do this, click here to watch a video.

  3. Avoid contact with other peoples birds and change your clothes if you do have to handle others birds. Disposable overalls work well. K if you do handle other peoples birds.

  4. Avoid vehicles driving near your bird areas, and disinfect vehicle tyres if this is necessary. Keep records of any vehicle owner who does.

  5. Avoid other people handling your birds, let them wait to have cuddles until after the AI risk has passed. Show them photos instead. Keep records of anyone who does.

  6. Prevent vermin entering as they can carry wild bird faeces on them into your pen.

  7. 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.

  8. Wash your hands before and after touching your birds, and keep some hand gel near their pen.

  9. Prevent wild bird access to your bird's feed and water.

  10. 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. Lend your bird feeders and food to a neighbour instead of attracting them to your own garden during this high risk time.

  11. Prevent access to open or permanent standing water which may have attracted waterfowl recently. This includes ditches, streams and puddles.

  12. Waterfowl MUST be housed separately to chickens.

  13. Record who you give any eggs to, or accept any eggs from.

  14. Fix buildings to prevent water ingress and other sources of contamination.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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