It is unfortunate that there have been recent outbreaks of bird flu across Lincolnshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Carmarthanshire. The closest outbreak to North Leeds is Settle, and we need to be acutely aware that this disease can spread easily via wild birds, which is why it’s a notable disease and requires an action by law called called a Prevention Zone. This is currently in force across the UK until 28th February 2017.
If you have a backyard flock of chickens, ducks, geese, or any kind of bird, then it’s important you take action to ensure their health and safety at this time.
The best and most unto date advise can be found on the government website by clicking here, and we strongly recommend you follow the guidelines relevant to you. The information here is information updated daily and there is a short video by the chief vet Nigel Gibbons about what you can do to keep your own flocks safe whilst this Prevention Zone is in place. The Prevention Zone is currently in place until 28th February, but this may change depending on whether any new cases are confirmed across the UK.
If you own chickens, ducks, geese, any other kinds of poultry or domestic birds, you have a responsibility by law and there are certain steps you must take to comply and ensure that you do not inadvertently aid the spread of this awful disease. Avian Influenza is a notable disease, it can spread quickly by wild birds and if your birds become infected by a wild bird it can easily spread through your own domestic flock and be potentially carried by other wild birds to more in the local area.
To prevent this, birds must be kept indoors with artificial light, or if this is impossible a secure netting over their outside area to keep wild birds out is sufficient to comply with the current Prevention Zone restriction currently in place whilst keeping your own birds safe from harm.
If you find a wild bird that is dead, or injured, you MUST contact the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577 or if you are concerned about any of your own domestic flock, then you must contact the rural services helpline on 03000 200 301 for further advice. Please ensure that if you have any birds that are displaying signs of respiratory difficulties, that you contact the helplines as oppose to bringing them into the practice. Whilst we can continue to treat domestic birds kept indoors, outside flocks that are kept with no restrictions to wild bird access, if they display such symptoms we are required by law to euthanase and contact DEFRA ourselves, as they will need to carry out tests to determine any presence of avian influenza in your bird.
For further information, please contact our nursing team at Cookridge on 0113 267 8419 or Greegates 01264 610627 who have been briefed to help where we can.
Updated Wed 1st February 2017.