Bird flu advice for West Sussex poultry owners

Bird flu restrictions are in place across the country
Bird flu restrictions are in place across the country

West Sussex poultry owners are being urged to check the latest restrictions to stop the spread of avian flu.

Poultry keepers are now categorised as living in high or low risk areas.

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has created an interactive map so owners can check which area they live in.

In higher risk areas poultry owners must continue to keep birds housed or in fully netted enclosures.

This is because DEFRA believe the risk from wild birds in these areas is higher.

High risk areas are close to large bodies of water where wild waterfowl congregate.

Outside higher risk areas all other keepers can choose to continue to house birds, or let birds outside into fenced (but not necessarily fully netted) areas.

However, they must follow strict Defra guidance to reduce the risk of infection.

This includes a risk assessment to check outside areas are not contaminated and the risk of contact with wild birds is low.

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards’ manager, said: “For those within the high risk areas it’s more of the same restrictions, but we would stress to those outside the areas that it’s not the end of all precautions.

“They must still exercise adequate bio-security and be vigilant for dead birds.

“If they wish to continue to keep birds housed or in fully netted areas in these lower risk areas then they may of course continue to do so - providing welfare does not suffer.”

Full guidance is available from DEFRA here.

M Aston added: “Sellers of eggs and poultry in the high risk areas can still describe their products as free range if the birds have access to outdoor areas that are both fenced and netted.

“If however they are being kept indoors, then the labelling of the products must reflect this.”

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