The BVA and the British Veterinary Poultry Association (BVPA) are urging backyard poultry keepers to protect flocks from avian influenza by using practical biosecurity steps.
A Government-enforced avian influenza prevention zone has been extended across Great Britain until 28 February after confirmed cases of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza were reported in wild birds and backyard flocks in Carmarthenshire and Yorkshire, and a swannery in Dorset.
Very real risk
BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “The confirmation of avian influenza in a number of small flocks shows the very real risk the disease poses to backyard flocks and the importance of keeping them separate from wild birds.
“We know not all backyard keepers will have to hand buildings they can immediately house their flocks in, so Defra’s leaflet gives practicable advice on alternatives, including temporary structures.
“Tight biosecurity, such as maintaining high levels of cleanliness and hygiene and not allowing visitors to come close to your birds, is essential.
“Signs of avian flu can vary between species of bird and could range from very mild signs like seeming ‘off colour’ or reduced feed or water intakes through to the severity of death. If you are concerned about your flock, speak to your local vet.”
- Anyone with suspicion of the disease in their birds should contact the APHA on 0300 0200 301.