On the 4th July the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) lifted the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) for Great Britain, which had been in place since the 17th October 2022. However, mandatory restrictions still apply in numerous disease control zones around infected premises where avian influenza (AI) has been confirmed.
Poultry gatherings at markets, fairs and other shows are still banned by the government as well as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) temporarily prohibiting the release of game birds and ducks for sport this summer.
Although the risk to kept or commercially farmed birds has been downgraded, The UK’s wild birds and waterfowl have been struck by the H5N1 strain in great numbers. This has led to many species of coastal birds, who are already challenged by environmental issues in a precarious condition, with conservationists warning that some breeding species could be pushed to extinction.
How does the wild bird pandemic affect poultry farmers and keepers?
The breeding season for wild birds and waterfowl is between February until August. Many species are migratory and travel great distances to UK coastlines, waterways, estuaries and nature reserves.
A number of species are asymptomatic, meaning they show no outward symptoms of avian influenza, and so carry the virus from their point of origin to the UK. Often their journeys are over great distances and this means that they will seek food and a place to recoup their energy before their final destination. A convenient stopover, where food and other birds are gathered, are organic and free range poultry farms.
Another worry raised by the UK and European authorities is that wild gulls, especially Black-headed Gulls (which breed inland), could increase the risk of poultry contracting avian flu in July to August 2023.
What is the solution to keep my birds safe?
Although the risk level across the UK has been lowered, the government and farming bodies representing the poultry industry are calling for poultry farmers and backyard keepers to apply robust biosecurity measures and to remain vigilant for signs of disease.
How can Livetec help you protect your flock?
Livetec are the leading biosecurity professionals in the UK.
With constant research and development, in association with leading academic establishments and leading figures in animal welfare we have a solution to all your needs.
Find out more about our Biosecurity Advisory Service and our plans here or download The Livetec Systems App for FREE – this app will alert you when there is a nearby outbreak confirmed near your property and gives you guidance on what to do should you be caught in a Disease Control Zone. Find out more here.