Bird keepers urged to take extra precautions to combat ‘bird flu’
Published 19th October 2022
Bird flu is currently affecting wild birds across the UK, including in Sandwell.
The risk to human health remains low, and as an additional measure the government have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain on 17 October. This means that residents with captive / domestic birds in Sandwell are being asked to take extra precautions to keep them safe.
The AIPZ requires all bird keepers – including those with poultry – to take a range of precautions to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
All birdkeepers, including those have pets or small flocks in their gardens, are required to
• Keep domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry;
• Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
• Feed and water their birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
• Minimise movement into and out of bird enclosures;
• Cleanse and disinfect footwear and keep clean and tidy the areas where birds live;
• Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas;
• Keep free-ranging birds within fenced areas, and ponds, watercourses and permanent standing water must be fenced off (except in specific circumstances, such as zoo birds).
Sandwell Council parks staff and wildlife experts have been working with our partners and sites – including Forge Mill Farm and Sandwell Valley – where birds frequent or reside, to ensure these measures are adhered to, and provide support where needed.
The AIPZ will stay in place until the government deems the risk has passed.
Avian influenza is a notifiable animal disease: if anyone suspects any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds, they must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.
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 (03459 335577).
Domestic poultry and bird keepers can find the latest government advice including minimum precautions online.