The change in avian influenza legislation is now in place, and is in force until 30th April 2017, when it is expected control measures will remain.
Nottinghamshire (including the City of Nottingham) is currently regarded as 'low risk' due to the fact that no confirmed outbreaks have occurred in the County, however this can easily change so please be aware.
The main key points are as follows for Nottinghamshire keepers:
- Poultry (and other captive birds) are permitted to be outside in monitored fenced areas (ie larger field) or fenced and netted housing, still having as much protection in place to make these areas unattractive to wild birds by removing feed sources from the outside areas. Keepers may still keep their birds indoors.
- All keepers (regardless of volume) must comply with minimum bio-security measures - this includes cleansing and disinfecting of vehicles, equipment and footwear as a minimum requirement.
- Keepers of 50+ birds must have strategic food dips placed around the premise, using Defra approved disinfectant, footwear to be cleaned/changed on entry/exit.
- Movements of vehicles and personnel kept to a minimum, a log of vehicles on the premise and personnel coming into direct contact with birds must be kept.
- Keepers of 500 birds or more must comply with the above plus additional measures including a 'live bird' area with restricted access to this area for essential personnel only, additional bio-security measures including changing of footwear and clothing, the exterior of any vehicle including wheels and wheel arches to be cleansed and disinfected on entry and exit. Fallen stock and waste kept in totally different areas with clear separation as part of the 'bio-secure' barrier.
- The welfare of all birds must be adhered to; updated codes of practice for various birds species have been issued.
With the poultry being able to go outside in the low risk areas, the free range status of the birds and eggs will not be affected. Some keepers are unable to adhere to the restriction requirements and are keeping their birds indoors still, thus losing their free range status; however some egg producers are adding additional labeling to their eggs to highlight that their hens are indoors as a temporary measure, at least giving consumers more choice and information before purchasing.
Should the County have a confirmed outbreak and become a high risk area, then further advice will be circulated. The list above are only main points so please do check the full requirements. There is very good guidance including the new legislation and schedules on the Defra website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#prevention-zone