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Avian Influenza

National Avian Influenza control measures applicable to all bird keepers have been lifted

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) for poultry and captive birds, introduced to help stop the spread of avian influenza (bird flu) has been lifted.

The enhanced biosecurity measures were brought in across Great Britain in November when there was a medium risk (meaning, event occurs regularly) for some poultry premises. The measures have been vital in protecting flocks across the country from the virus which is circulating in wild birds.

The risk of avian influenza has now reduced to low (meaning, event is rare but does occur) for all poultry. As a result, the mandatory requirements were lifted from midday on Tuesday 16 August.

Whilst the risk level in kept birds has reduced, all bird keepers should still follow enhanced biosecurity measures at all times to prevent the risk of future outbreaks.

All poultry gatherings, including at fairs, shows and markets, remain banned, due to a large number of flocks mixing together and the risk posed by any infections spreading across the country.

Additional mandatory restrictions apply in disease control zones in force surrounding infected premises where avian influenza has been confirmed in poultry or other captive birds.

Guidance for bird keepers

The Government has made extensive guidance available, both in terms of the controls, but also practical advice on things like biosecurity. 

For detailed guidance and further information, please visit the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) pages on the GOV.UK website.

Checking your birds and reporting concerns

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) asks all poultry keepers to check their birds regularly for symptoms and report any concerns to your vet immediately. You can find guidance on all symptoms on the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) page on the GOV.UK website

Bird keepers should report suspicion of disease in England to DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Registering your birds

DEFRA encourages all bird keepers to register their poultry, even if only kept as pets, so the Animal and Plant Health Agency can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds.

Reporting sick or dead birds - wild or captive

Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from Bird Flu is very low. Nevertheless, DEFRA reminds the public not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that they find, but to report them to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

If you suspect any type of Bird Flu in poultry or captive birds, you must report it immediately by calling the DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

Symptoms of Bird Flu

The main symptoms of Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) are:

  • Swollen head
  • Blue discolouration of neck and throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fewer eggs laid
  • Increased mortality


Keep updated

We will update this page when further information becomes available. For the most up to date information, please visit the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) guidance on the GOV.UK website.

You can also find further information about the AIPZ on the GOV.UK website.

APHA Animal Disease Alert Subscription Service

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) provides a subscription service which notifies subscribers when there is an exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak in the UK. Subscribe to receive animal disease alerts on the GOV.UK website.

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