Bird Flu housing restrictions are ending on Monday 2nd May 2022.
How to prepare for when your free-range birds can be let outside again.
Bird flu (avian influenza) is spread between birds through direct contact or indirectly via
faeces, droppings, contaminated objects, land or water. If poultry, such as chickens or
turkeys, are infected with bird flu they will likely show signs of illness, whereas waterfowl, such as ducks and geese can carry it without showing signs of illness and can easily spread it to other birds without there being any signs of the birds being infected.
The increased risk of bird flu is likely to persist in the UK for several weeks or possibly
months, but there are several actions that you can take to help protect your birds.
Actions you need to take to protect your birds
Make the range (the outdoor area birds have access to) unattractive to
wild birds, particularly wild waterfowl, corvids (for example crows and
magpies), or gulls
• Net or cover ponds – you must net or cover any ponds that are within the fenced
range area. You should also consider netting ponds or larger bodies of water,
within 100 m of the perimeter of the outdoor area if within your premises. If this is
not possible, you should take steps to deter birds from accessing them.
• Fence off ponds, streams, standing water or wet or boggy areas – whilst the
Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is in place, poultry must not be allowed
access to areas around ponds, streams, canals or other wet areas, as there is an
increased risk that these areas have been contaminated by the droppings of wild
• Remove any wild bird feed sources – check the range and surrounding areas for
any feed sources that might attract wild birds: these are most likely to be associated
with wet areas, but also include spilt grain, seeds, and uncovered feed bins. All
feeding of your birds must be undertaken under cover.
Limit the number of people who have access to the range and ensure that they have no contact with any other poultry or birds.
Decontaminate and sanitise the range
Where the range has not been used for several months, it may have been contaminated by wild bird faecal matter or feathers. This is particularly important if you are changing the area accessed by free-ranging birds. For example, when moving mobile arks or fencing off
areas not previously used for poultry.
The virus that causes avian influenza can remain infective in faeces or droppings and other contaminated material for around 50 days (longer in wet conditions or in standing water). If wild birds have had access to your ranges and other outdoor areas, you must take steps to
reduce the levels of contamination.
• Cleanse and disinfect concrete and other impermeable areas – use a
government-approved disinfectant at the recommended dilution rate for the
Diseases of Poultry Order. Appropriate pollution prevention measures must be
followed (see the section below).
• Decontaminate the range – it may be possible to reduce the level of the virus present in heavily contaminated areas by exposing the surface to sunlight and drying. This could be done by harrowing or raking the range and any grass areas used by the birds to break any build-up of faeces, followed by the use of certain government-approved disinfectants at the recommended dilution rate.
Many approved disinfectants will quickly become inactivated when sprayed on organic material (such as soil), so are unlikely to be effective. You should consult the manufacturer for advice on whether the product you want to use is likely to be effective and follow appropriate pollution prevention measures.
• Drain wet patches and areas of standing water – In the longer term and
subject to obtaining the necessary consents and agreements, consider whether it is possible to fill in or drain any permanent ponds or areas of standing water.
Consult the relevant authorities before undertaking any permanent works that might impact biodiversity.