Avian Flu: Requirements for bird keepers

From Monday 29 November, 2021 new UK-wide measures came into force following recent avian flu outbreaks.

The Government has introduced mandatory housing measures for all poultry and other captive birds to limit the spread of avian influenza in the UK.

This page contains the latest information, and was last updated on 12 January, 2022.

If you keep chickens, ducks, geese or any other birds, you must now: 

  • Keep them indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to stop the disease spreading. This is a legal requirement. If you do not do this, the disease could kill your birds and you could be fined.    
  • Wild birds and other wildlife spread the disease, do not allow wild birds to mix with your chickens, ducks, geese or other birds.
      Before going into your bird enclosures, you should wash your hands and clean your boots with disinfectant to stop you spreading the disease to your birds.
  • If your birds fall ill, speak to your vet as soon as possible – any signs of bird flu must be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately.
  • UK Health Security Agency has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said that bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, and it does not affect the consumption of poultry or eggs. 
  • If you find dead wild birds, do not pick them up, instead you should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.  

These new housing measures will be kept under regular review as part of the Government’s work to protect flocks.

Avian Influenza is in no way connected to the COVID-19 pandemic which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is not carried in poultry.

More information 

View the latest Government advice and updates about avian flu in the UK.