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Updates and information about Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in the UK and the DEFRA Prevention Zones



Updated 22nd March 2021 – new requirements from 1st April 2021 (no this is not an April fool)


DEFRA have announced that the Avian Influenza compulsory housing order put in place on the 14th December 2020 is due to be reduced to a ‘medium risk’ at 11.59pm on the 31st March 2021.  You must still keep your hens completely undercover and protected until this date.


Although the ‘housing order’ is being lifted, enhanced biosecurity requirements that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) on 11th November 2020 will remain in force across the whole of England after the 1st April 2021.  Further guidance regarding the bio security requirements and how to prepare for when your hens can free range again please click here.


Where your garden/area has not been used for several months by your chickens, it may have been contaminated by wild bird faecal matter. So if you are looking to move your chicken coop or run to a new area that has not been covered/protected from wild birds, then you should disinfect that area before your hens can access it.


The virus that causes avian influenza can still be infective in faeces or droppings and other contaminated material for around 50 days (longer in wet conditions or in standing water). If wild birds have had access to your garden and other outdoor areas, you must take steps to reduce the levels of contamination by disinfecting the ground before moving them onto it.


Although the risk of bird flu has been reduced to ‘medium’, the potential for an outbreak is likely to persist for several weeks, so it is essential to continue with enhanced biosecurity measures even after the housing order ends.


A joint statement Great Britain’s three Chief Veterinary Officers said:-


"This will be welcome news for poultry keepers across the country who have put great effort into keeping their flocks safe this winter.


We have taken swift action to contain and eliminate this disease and all bird keepers - whether they have just a few birds or thousands - must continue do their bit to maintain strict biosecurity measures on their premises so that we do not lose the progress that we have made over the past few months as Low Risk does not mean No Risk."


Poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns. They can help prevent avian flu by maintaining good biosecurity on their premises, including:-


·         Fencing off ponds, streams, boggy areas or standing water and draining them where possible

·         Netting or covering ponds

·         Removing any wild bird feed sources

·         Deterring wild birds by regularly walking through the area or by using predator decoys

·         Cleansing and disinfecting concrete or other permeable areas

·         Putting down wood shavings in wet areas

·         Limit the number of people who come onto the site

·         Use disinfectant foot dips when entering and exiting enclosures or houses


You can find further guidance and information on the DEFRA website please click here.


Remember that we have a great selection of trugs in our shop which make ideal footbaths, and we sell Nettex Virocur Disinfectant which is a DEFRA approved disinfectant against Avian Influenza.


We also sell a selection of ground sanitising powders and much more besides. Please email us if you have any questions or concerns about these biosecurity measures, and which products are best to use.







Updated 15th February 2021


Sadly, there are still a few confirmed cases of the Avian Influenza in the UK.  These include cases in backyard flocks and commercial farms.  Unfortunately, all the birds at these premises have had to be destroyed.


It is absolutely essential that all poultry keepers, whether you have just 1 or 100,000 birds, adhere to the compulsory actions put in place by DEFRA to protect their flock and stop the spread of Avian Flu.  These cases can occur anywhere, and affect anyone's birds, therefore it is important that the DEFRA legislation is adhered to, and all birds are "housed" and kept under cover. 


Remember you have a legal obligation to comply and to keep your birds safe you can take the following steps:-


·        Keep all poultry inside an enclosed run, which has a covered roof (tarpaulin will do) to prevent wild birds or their droppings coming in to contact with your birds.


·        Have a DEFRA approved disinfectant foot bath at the gateway to your chicken pen (so you do not walk the virus into your chicken coop).  Nettex Virocur Disinfectant is ideal as it is effective against Avian Influenza and is DEFRA approved.  You can purchase this from ourselves – 1kg tub £21.99 which will make up 100+ litres of disinfectant that will remain effective for maximum of 7 days once made up.


·        Keep the ground inside the chicken run dry and clean by putting down fresh Easichick or Woodchip in your chicken run.


·        Use Agrisec 250 Plus 2kg or Natures Grub Ground Sanitiser 2.5kg inside your chicken coop to keep it dry and free from bacteria – it is a super absorbent sanitiser DEFRA approved disinfectant powder which will also remove any ammonia build up in the air.  This sanitiser can also be used in the chicken run too.  Change the bedding regularly to ensure the hens have a dry, comfortable coop.  Make sure the house has plenty of ventilation as the hens will produce a lot of moisture overnight and even in winter, they do need fresh air to circulate. 


To relieve boredom in the run hang up treats, such as corn on the cob, cabbages or peck blocks.  If pecking does seem to become a problem use an anti-pecking spray to deter further bad behaviour.


If you have any questions or concerns about how to look after your hens please give us a call.  Keep up to date with developments from DEFRA use this link.  If you suspect your flock may have Bird Flu please contact APHA direct.  If you come across any dead wild birds, report them to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.  The whole of the UK is currently under a Prevention Zone, but if you live within 10km of a confirmed outbreak you will also fall within a Protection or Surveillance Zone.  Use this map to check where these areas are.


The symptoms to look out for in infected birds included a swollen head, blue discolouration of the neck and throat, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhoea, fewer eggs laid, increased mortality.  Unfortunately some of these symptoms are common during the winter months, or due to the extra stress felt by the birds because of being confined, but it is always better to get them looked over if you have concerns.


Those of us who are not poultry keepers can assist with the prevention of further spread by being sure to report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks), or other dead wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.


To try to help everyone we have plenty of the products in stock, we feel are most important to you during this lock-down.  See my website for more details.  This includes all sizes of Diatom, and Agrisec 250 Plus,  Natures Grub ground sanitising powder/coop sanitising powder, Scarper anti-pecking spray, violet spray, all sizes and flavours of peck blocks, Poultry Zest pellets, Poultry PEP and of course Nettex Virocur disinfectant.








4th December 2020 – Avian Influenza – PLEASE READ


As from 12.01am Monday 14th December 2020 poultry keepers in England, Scotland and Wales will be required to keep chickens, hens, ducks and turkeys housed indoors where practicable, or under cover to keep them separate from wild birds.


Due to the risk of avian influenza, new poultry housing measures to protect poultry and captive birds will come into force on 14 December in England, Scotland and Wales.


It will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers (whether you own one bird or hundreds) to keep the birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures.

More at GOV.UK:…/avian-influenza-bird-flu-national-prev…, GOV.SCOT:…/new-housing-measures-to-protect-pou…/ and GOV.WALES:…


This means that ALL poultry keepers are now legally obligated to follow strict biosecurity measures for keeping their birds safe and prevent the spread of this disease.


As you know bird flu is spread by wild bird droppings and their saliva. We must all do our bit to prevent avian flu spreading, by maintaining good biosecurity, including:-


· If possible, house you birds inside/under cover.

· Secure your chicken coop and run with poultry netting to stop wild birds entering their coop/run.

· Cover the roof of the chicken run, to stop contamination of wild bird poo entering your chicken’s area.

· Ensure your feeder/drinker is only accessible to your hens and not the wild birds.

· Cleansing and disinfect your footwear before entering the chicken run.

· Thoroughly clean and disinfect housing.

· DO NOT free range your birds.

· Do not allow your hens access to a pond, as this water will attract birds to visit your garden and will make your birds more likely to catch avian flu.


The new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the government’s work to protect flocks.  The introduction of these new measures follows a number of confirmed cases of avian influenza in the UK.