Avian Influenza - information for bird keepers

Important information for bird keepers in the Blunham area

There is a confirmed case of Avian Influenza (bird flu) on-premises in the Blunham area.

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), Central Bedfordshire Council, and Bedford Borough Council are working together to manage the outbreak and communicate with residents.

Protection zone declared

The Government has declared a 3-kilometre Protection Zone around the place where the disease has been confirmed to help prevent its spread. The protection zone covers Blunham, Church End, Tempsford, parts of Sandy, Roxton and Great Barford.

Avian Flu zone map in Central Bedfordshire

 

If you keep birds in the protection zone:

  • you are now subject to legally enforced conditions that apply within this zone.
  • they must be housed

A letter is being sent to residents in this zone who have registered with the Government that they keep more than 50 birds.

There will be lots of other residents who will keep birds, we are asking all keepers of birds within the zone to complete our survey to help us gain an accurate picture of captive birds in the area and assess and control the risks appropriately.

Avian Influenza survey

Please complete the survey if you keep birds of any birds (including poultry or game birds such as chickens, ducks, geese, pheasants, any aviary, and caged birds, or any racing or fancy pigeons), in any number, species, or breed within the zone – either at your home, garden, dovecote, allotment, smallholding, or farm.

Completing the survey will help protect local wildfowl, poultry farms and your own birds.

Mandatory registration of poultry

If you keep poultry and have more than 50 birds, you must register them by law at on the GOV.UK website - poultry (including game birds): registration rules and forms. If you have fewer than 50 birds, you should also inform the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as soon as possible as your premises is located in the zone, using the online survey form link above. This will enable us to monitor Avian Influenza infection in the area and provide you with timely information and advice on keeping your birds safe. It is not mandatory to have a CPH (County Parish Holding) number if you keep fewer than 50 birds.

It would be helpful if you could let us know if any of your immediate neighbours have poultry that we may not know about. This would be in confidence, merely to ensure we cover anyone who may have missed this communication. You can use the survey form or the telephone number above.

If you have completed the survey APHA staff may then recontact you very shortly so that veterinary staff can assess the risk of avian influenza spread. A vet may need to get in touch to carry out a visual inspection of your birds to assess their health. In the meantime, if your birds show any signs of disease, you must report your suspicions to APHA immediately by telephoning Defra Rual Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

As always, please seek advice from your own vet if your birds become ill for any reason. If you or your vet suspect the disease, you are required by law to report it for investigation.

Heightened biosecurity

If you keep birds in the zone you are required to comply with heightened biosecurity measures to contain the disease and prevent further spread. Visit the GOV.UK Avian influenza (bird flu) web pages for more information.

Unless you are responsible for the care of another keeper’s stock, please do not visit other livestock premises containing species susceptible to the disease until you are advised it is safe to do so.

Further information on the current avian influenza restrictions and controls which apply in your area can be found on the government website.

You can subscribe to APHA’s free Disease Alerts to receive up-to-date news by phone, fax, or email on this or other incidents of notifiable exotic animal diseases.