Government warns of increased risk of bird flu as autumn approaches

Defra has issued guidance for poultry keepers to spread awareness about heightened risk of further avian influenza outbreaks as the weather becomes cooler and wetter.

New advice is being publicised reminding owners that dead or sick birds must be seen by a vet, and offering tips on cleaning and disinfecting using the hashtag #autumniscoming on social media.

Keepers are no longer under a legal requirement to apply extra biosecurity, as they were during last winter’s outbreaks. “However, there is still a risk of bird flu and we strongly encourage them to continue to follow industry standard best practice on biosecurity,” said a Defra spokesman. “This includes minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy, and feeding birds indoors or undercover and keeping ducks and geese totally separate from chickens and other species.”

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