Somerset Poultry farmers To face restrictions
New rules on housing poultry and other farmed birds will come into force on 14 December. Under the rules it will be a legal requirement for all “bird keepers” to keep their birds indoors.
The public are advised that the risk to human health from the virus is very low. UK food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers and it does not affect the consumption of poultry products including eggs.
This follows several outbreaks of Avian flu across the UK. To date no outbreaks have been detected in Somerset. In a joint statement from Great Britain’s three Chief Veterinary Officers noted “Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from 14 December onwards you will be legally required to keep your birds indoors, or take appropriate steps to keep them separate from wild birds. We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the best way to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”
Poultry and captive bird keepers are asked to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds. If you are concerned please seek prompt advice from your vet. Meanwhile if you keep poultry and/or captive birds you should consider the following measures:
- housing or netting all poultry and captive birds
- cleansing and disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
- reducing the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and using effective vermin control
- thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting housing at the end of a production cycle
- keeping fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all points where people should use it, such as farm entrances and before entering poultry and captive bird housing or enclosures
- minimising direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds
- The new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.