Poultry and bird keepers across Staffordshire are being encouraged to maintain good bio-security amongst their birds, to help reduce the risks of avian influenza.
The reminder follows the confirmation of further cases around the country, including an outbreak near Willington in South Derbyshire; bringing in tighter controls for residents in East Staffordshire.
In November, the government introduced an Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) to help prevent disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to house birds, the introduction of the AIPZ means that all bird keepers must follow strict bio-security rules.
This includes tighter controls on the movement of birds and for keeping records for some residents in the Burton area, as a result of the latest Willington outbreak.
Bird owners must ensure wild birds cannot have access to any bedding, feed or water intended for use for kept poultry or birds.
In addition to this, steps must be taken to reduce the movements of people into or out of the areas where birds are kept.
Officers from Staffordshire County Councils Trading Standards Animal Health team are also advising all bird keepers in the county to remain vigilant for signs of ill health in their birds.
The guidance applies to anyone keeping birds, whether it’s a few hens in a back garden, rearing game birds or a large commercial farm.
Further concerns in the county for the possibility of disease in the wild bird population remains and officials are asking people to avoid feeding or making contact with any water birds such as ducks, geese or swans, as these are more susceptible to disease.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:
“We have seen first-hand earlier this year, the impact of an outbreak of avian influenza in the county, so it’s really important that people follow the rules to help reduce the spread of the disease.
“As we enter the winter months and the migration of birds, good biosecurity is an essential defence against disease and is key to limiting its spread. "Whether an outbreak occurs in pet birds, a backyard flock, or a commercial flock, the same disease control measures apply and the same impacts on bird keepers and trade in poultry occurs. “If anyone has any concerns or needs further information, they should contact our Animal Health team or if they have concerns regarding a wild bird, they need to contact the Defra helpline on 03000 200 301”.