Please follow Avian flu advice to protect pet birds

October 21, 2022

Those residents with birds and poultry for pets are being encouraged to keep them indoors as part of a change of law that came into effect earlier this week.

On Wednesday 12 October, a Regional Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, was declared by the Government, which covers parts of Essex, including Southend-on-Sea and the whole of Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Prevention Zone will be in place until a lifting statement is issued by Defra. Under the zone, all bird keepers are legally required to keep birds indoors, including poultry and pet birds. Stringent biosecurity measures must also be followed, which can be found on the website.

Avian Influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health and other animals such as cats and dogs, is very low. Those people in direct contact with affected birds have been contacted and offered appropriate preventative treatment.

Cllr Kay Mitchell, cabinet member for adult social care and health integration, said: “Although the risk to humans is very low, it's still important we put in place and follow the correct procedures and work with Defra. Please follow the guidance, keep poultry and birds inside and report any dead wild birds you may come across.”

The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of the current scientific evidence, properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.

You should call the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77) if you find:

  • one or more dead bird of prey or owl
  • three or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
  • five or more dead birds of any species

Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find. For further information see advice to the public.

If you own birds and have not registered them or updated your contact details recently, the please do this so that you can be contacted quickly if there is a disease outbreak in your area and you need to take action.

If you have more than 50 birds, you are legally required to register your flock within one month of their arrival at your premises. If you have less than 50 birds, including pet birds, you are encouraged to register. Find out how to register your birds.

Pet owners with other animals do not usually need to take other action. If a person has concerns regarding their pet, they should contact their private veterinary surgeon.


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