Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8 and H5N2) has been detected in kept poultry and wild birds in several locations locations and therefore an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was introduced across England on 3 November 2021.
It is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread and to eradicate the disease.
Similar zones are in place in Wales and Scotland. The Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review
The Prevention Zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds in England, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock. The Zone introduces mandatory biosecurity measures.
The Food Standards Agency has said that on the basis of current scientific evidence, the disease poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
If you suspect any type of avian influenza you must report it immediately by calling APHA on 0300 020 0301. Failure to do so is an offence.
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:
blue discolouration of neck and throat
loss of appetite
respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
fewer eggs laid
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 other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (0345 933 5577).
APHA Alerts Subscription Service
The APHA Alerts Subscription Serviceprovides 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.You can subscribe on the government website
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.