Here are the biosecurity steps that poultry farmers and bird keepers should follow: make sure that wild birds can’t access birds’ feed and water; avid transfer of contamination by cleansing and disinfecting equipment, vehicles and footwear; reduce movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry or captive birds are kept; implement effective vermin control around buildings where poultry or captive birds are kept; and provide wash facilities or dips containing approved disinfectant at the right concentration at key points such as farm entrances and entrances to bird houses.
The avian influenza protection zone that requires all birds to be housed in doors was put in place in December 2016 after a series of bird flu outbreaks was reported in United Kingdom. It will remain until the end of April although birds will be allowed outdoors at the start of March to keep their free-range status.
“Keepers should start to think about steps they can take now to provide the best biosecurity that they can to protect birds let out on February 28. This could include keeping your range clear of wild birds, and where possible decontaminating the range. You should also discuss your arrangements with your private vet, who will be best placed to provide specific practical advice on reducing the risk of infection,” said Sheila Voas, chief veterinary officer of Scotland.
British Veterinary Association Scottish branch president, Grace Webster, emphasized the need to maintain the highest standard of biosecurity, adding that poultry farmers and bird keepers should be vigilant to signs of the disease.
“Any suspicion of Avian Influenza should be reported to the Animal Plant and Health Agency immediately,” Webster said.