New housing measures will come into force across the UK from 00:01 on Monday 29 November 2021

See the DEFRA website for more information

Who does this apply to?

All bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a backyard flock)

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.

Do I need to house my birds?

Yes from 0:01 on Monday 29 November 2021.

What do I need to do?

This housing order is in addition to the current mandatory enhanced biosecurity measures introduced in GB on 3 November 2021 (to read a summary blog click here)

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 or corrugated plastic/metal etc,.

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, outside your chickens housing. 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.

  4. Avoid vehicles driving near your bird areas, and disinfect vehicle tyres if this is necessary.

  5. Avoid other people handling your birds, let them wait to have cuddles until after the AI risk has passed.

  6. Control vermin 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.

  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. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of all concrete walkways, paths and similar surfaces to which poultry or other captive birds or wild birds have access.

  14. Keep records of all vehicles entering premises where poultry are kept and of all people who come into any direct contact with the poultry.

  15. Bird and egg movement records.

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

  17. 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

  18. 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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