It is strongly recommended that all keepers – whether they have commercial flocks or a few birds in their back garden – continue to follow good practice on biosecurity despite the Prevention Zone being lifted – to reduce the risk of infection, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds inside.
All disease control measures are kept under review based on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Poultry gatherings across England can now go ahead, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures, now that the Prevention Zone has been lifted.
If your birds are housed it is especially important to keep a close eye on them in warmer weather to ensure they remain comfortable and healthy. Check them regularly and ensure they have enough water and sufficient ventilation. You should monitor the maximum temperature and take action if it significantly exceeds 21ºC for adult birds or around 13ºC for adult ducks.
All egg producers in England can now let their birds outside unless they are in a Protection Zone (not a Prevention Zone) around a confirmed case. Keepers can sell products as free-range if they come from birds which meet all the free-range requirements.
For advice and guidance on what to do if you keep poultry or to report suspicion of disease in animals, call the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Members of the public should report dead wild birds – such as swans, geese, ducks, gulls or birds of prey – to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77. Defra will then collect some of these birds and test them to help us understand how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird.
The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at farms in Northumberland, Suffolk, Lancashire and Lincolnshire, and in backyard flocks in Lancashire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and Carmarthenshire. Hence the Prevention Zone.