Bird flu (avian influenza): housing your birds safely - GOV.UK

2023-01-06 15:40:53 By : Ms. Linda Lee

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Manage your birds’ housing and welfare when they must be kept inside because of disease outbreaks.

Housing your birds reduces the risk of contact with wild birds, which can spread bird flu.

In England and Wales you must house your birds to protect them from bird flu.

In Scotland you may be in a disease control zone with housing measures.

You must follow strict biosecurity rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading.

Housing your birds during a disease outbreak may impact the welfare of your birds, especially if they’re not used to being housed for long periods.

You are responsible for the welfare of your birds while they’re housed. You should:

Consider providing aerial perches for your birds. This helps prevent overcrowding and gives them:

In Scotland registered laying flocks must have aerial perches.

Pullets should be reared in an environment that matches the environment they will live in as adults. If pullets are reared in a range and then confined, it increases the risk of injurious feather pecking.

Pullet suppliers should make any confinement history available to buyers.

If you see signs of feather pecking, you can:

Get advice from your vet or check the FeatherWel website if you have any concerns about welfare.

If you’re a commercial keeper you can also use the benchmarking tool for feather loss from AssureWel and the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC).

You must house ducks and geese and game birds when possible.

If this is not practical, keep them in fully netted areas.

If you cannot house or fully net an outdoor bird area because of unavoidable welfare concerns, you must:

You must also speak to your private vet and put in writing:

You can use the example template (ODT , 20 KB ) .

Avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry. Ducks and geese often do not show any signs of disease but can still pass it on to other captive birds.

Ducks need access to open water like troughs and buckets. They use them to preen and immerse their heads to keep their eyes, nostrils, beaks and plumage healthy.

To help keep bedding dry, you can:

Wet bedding can increase the spread and severity of infectious diseases.

Follow the cleaning and disinfecting guidance to prevent bird flu.

Planning permission regulations are different for commercial poultry keepers and those who keep birds as pets. You must check with your local planning authority before you build any bird housing.

Find out about the planning system in England, Scotland and Wales.

You do not normally need planning permission for:

Temporary structures could have solid walls and a roof, or you can use a polytunnel. Polytunnels can get very hot so will only be suitable in cool weather.

You can use existing buildings to house birds (such as barns, farm sheds, outbuildings, garages, garden sheds and verandas). Make sure there is adequate ventilation and light.

Check for and remove hazardous and toxic substances if garages and outbuildings are being used as temporary accommodation.

If you’re in a zone where it is a legal requirement to house birds you should cover any gaps, openings in buildings or build a covered pen or net ranges (outside areas).

Netting can reduce the spread of disease if it stops wild birds getting into enclosed areas where you keep your birds but wild bird droppings can still be a risk.

You can also use nets to help protect birds that cannot easily be housed, such as ducks, geese and game birds.

If you choose to net outdoor areas, or it’s a legal requirement, you should:

You should check bird housing and nets regularly for any damage that may allow wild birds to get in.

The rules on bird welfare vary across Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).

In England follow poultry on farm welfare guidance.

In Scotland follow Scottish government guidance on animal welfare.

In Wales follow Welsh government guidance on animal welfare.

Updated the section 'Welfare of ducks, geese and game birds'.

In England you must now house your birds to protect them from bird flu.

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.

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