Putting our residents first
Top menu
Search our website: Search

Avian influenza (bird flu) - Update

Avian influenza is a disease of birds. The H5N8 strain of the disease has been found in wild and farmed birds in the UK. A number of cases of avian influenza H5N8 have been confirmed in the UK and restrictions are in place.

It has been announced that all poultry in England are to be allowed outside from Thursday 13 April 2017 following updated evidence on the risk posed by wild birds.

The requirement to house or fully net poultry in Higher Risk Areas of England, introduced on 28 February 2017 to minimise the risk of them catching avian flu from wild birds, will be lifted.

All poultry keepers must however continue to implement the enhanced biosecurity measures which were introduced on 28 February 2017. This includes taking steps to reduce the risks to your birds, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.

Keepers of over 500 birds must continue to implement additional biosecurity measures.

Poultry keepers who are planning to let their birds outdoors on Thursday are strongly advised to take action now to minimise any residual contamination in outdoor areas.

Guidance can on this and biosecurity can be found on GOV.UK

The ban on poultry gatherings announced on 20 December 2017 remains in place.

The risk of poultry becoming infected from H5N8 remains heightened and countries across Europe continue to experience outbreaks and observe cases in wild birds. Defra is continuing surveillance of wild birds across the UK to inform their risk assessments.

Poultry keepers who are worried about the risk of their birds becoming infected should contact their private vet.

Signs of the Avian Influenza disease

The disease spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces and poultry affected may show the following symptoms:

  • swollen head
  • blue discolouration of neck and throat
  • loss of appetite
  • respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
  • diarrhoea
  • fewer eggs laid
  • increased mortality

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show clear signs of infection.

Reporting dead wild birds

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese, or ducks) or gulls, or five or more dead wild birds of other species in the same location, you should report them to the Defra helpline.

Poultry register

If you own, or are responsible for, poultry flocks of 50 or more birds (not necessarily of the same species) and even if your premises are only stocked for part of the year, then you must, within one month of their arrival at your premises, register your flocks.

For poultry flocks of fewer than 50 birds, whilst law does not require you to register them, we still encourage you to do so as this means we can contact you quickly if there is an outbreak of disease.  

Further information about the poultry register »

APHA alerts subscription service

The APHA Alerts Subscription Service provides registered users with the latest news on exotic notifiable animal disease outbreaks in Great Britain. Alerts may also be sent outside of a disease outbreak.

Is there anything wrong with this page?

* What would you like to report?
Broken link
Out of date information
Missing information
Report a problem with a service

* Please provide further details:


Please include your email in case we need further details (optional):

This feedback tool is for improving our pages. To report a problem with a service, please email: contact@hillingdon.gov.uk

Your feedback could not be sent - please ensure you have completed all fields.

Thank you for your feedback.

Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 31 Aug 2017 at 14:54