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Now is the time to take steps to protect flocks from avian flu

Published: 3 October 2022

Derbyshire people keeping birds are being urged to take steps now to reduce the risk of their flocks catching avian flu this winter.

Our trading standards officers are issuing the call to people to take action now to protect birds they keep and avoid any outbreaks of the disease, more commonly known as bird flu.

Across the country there have been nearly 140 bird flu cases since October 2021, including 4 outbreaks in Derbyshire or affecting Derbyshire. In other parts of the country 27 cases remain current with disease control zones in force.

Keepers of poultry and other captive birds are being urged to be extra vigilant in caring for their birds and to ensure they adhere to strict biosecurity standards as the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic birds rises as winter approaches.

Measures that owners can take, whether they run a large commercial farm or keep birds in their backyard, include:

  • keeping the area where the birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly cleaning and disinfecting any hard surfaces
  • keeping chickens and turkeys separate from ducks and geese
  • carrying out regular maintenance checks on sheds
  • placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds and remove any spilled feed
  • putting fencing around outdoor areas where birds are allowed and limit their access to ponds or areas visited by wild waterfowl
  • cleaning and disinfecting footwear before and after entering premises where birds are kept

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said:

“We want to make sure everyone who keeps birds is doing all they can to protect them as the risk of avian flu increases during the migration season.

“We’re urging people to act now and start putting extra measures in place, as we want to reduce the risk of outbreaks across the county in the coming months.

“When avian flu is suspected or confirmed restrictions are immediately put in place, with our trading standards officers on the ground ensuring people are aware and know what they need to do.

“The restrictions cover large areas and can have a huge impact on farms. It’s so important that people take preventative steps now.”

More information, including what to do if avian flu is suspected and how to sign up for news alerts is available from Defra and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.