Bird flu: Advice for poultry keepers

SUFFOLK'S trading standard officers are in the Holton area today advising poultry keepers within the protected zones after the outbreak of bird flu.A county council spokeswoman said they are not visiting people door-to-door at this stage.

SUFFOLK'S trading standard officers are in the Holton area today advising poultry keepers within the protected zones after the outbreak of bird flu.

A county council spokeswoman said they are not visiting people door-to-door at this stage.

However, officers were carrying out spot checks within the area to check that poultry keepers are adhering to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) restrictions.

Trading standards are working with the State Veterinary Service, who are enforcing a protection zone of two miles radius.

The national general licence on bird gatherings has been revoked, and bird shows and pigeon racing will no longer be permitted.

Meanwhile a bird flu help line has been set up if people have concerns over the outbreak of the disease.

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Suffolk County Council's hotline number is 08456 032 814.

Defra is also operating a national website to help and advise the public.

If you need to report dead wild gulls, waders, ducks, geese or swans; groups of dead birds or need advice on avian flu, contact the Defra helpline 08459 33 55 77 and choose the Avian Influenza option which will be open from 8:30am - 8pm, seven days a week.

The county's trading standards department has also issued advice to those who keep poultry based on guidance from the Defra

It recommends:

Supply clean, fresh drinking water to your birds. Feed and water them under cover to avoid contamination by wild birds and other animals. Flush through and regularly clean water lines and drinkers.

Make sure your premises are clean and tidy. Spilled feed, litter and standing water attract wild birds and vermin. Dispose of litter and manure regularly and properly

Keep your birds separate from wild birds, waterfowl, pets and other animals. Control vermin.

Keep visitors and their vehicles away from your birds as much as possible. If they must have access, make sure vehicles and equipment are clean.

Make sure your clothes, footwear and hands are clean, before and after contact with birds. Any essential visitors should do the same.

Avoid sharing equipment. If you do have to share, make sure it is cleansed and disinfected before and after use. Regularly cleanse and disinfect crates and containers.

Dispose of damaged eggs and dead birds promptly and properly

Buy feed from a mill or supplier that operates in accordance with Defra and Agricultural Industries Confederation codes of practice.

Be vigilant when purchasing new stock. Use reputable sources. Isolate new birds and birds you have taken off your premises (for example, to a show).

If you suspect disease, act quickly and consult your vet. Bird flu is a notifiable disease and must be reported to your local veterinary service.

What is Bird Flu and the signs to look out for:

Avian influenza (also known as bird flu) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds.

The early signs of bird flu include; watery swelling of the head, blueing of the combs and wattles, dullness, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and a drop in egg production.

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