New rules are now in place for people keeping poultry and captive birds in West Norfolk following several outbreaks of bird flu.
It means bird keepers now need to keep them indoors and follow strict measures to protect their flocks from the disease.
Norfolk Trading Standards will be working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to support businesses and minimise the risk of disease spreading further.
The UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.
The Food Standards Agency has said that avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk, and that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, such as eggs, are safe to eat.
The measures that APHA require people keeping birds to take to reduce the risk of spreading the disease are:
- housing all poultry and captive birds (including birds kept as pets)
- cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment, and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
- reduce the movement of people, vehicles, or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from litter, manure, slurry, and other products, and use effective vermin control
- keep records of all deaths, movement of poultry and poultry products and any changes in production
- thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a regular basis
- keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points. Foot dips should be covered to stop disinfectant getting diluted
- minimise 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
- prevent access by poultry to ponds and watercourses and ensure that birds are kept in fenced or enclosed areas
The public are advised to keep to designated footpaths, not to feed wild birds, and keep dogs on leads. Don’t touch sick or dead birds, their feathers, or their droppings. If you see a dead bird, please report it to Defra’s helpline on 03459 335577. Sick birds should be reported to the RSPCA (0300 1234 999) who, dependent on the situation, may be able to offer assistance.