14th November 2019
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Council issues advice for poultry keepers on avian flu

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Poultry owners are being advised by Shetland Islands Council to take steps to reduce the risk of avian flu this winter.

The chief veterinary officers across the UK are encouraging anyone who keeps poultry to take some simple steps to protect their birds in the coming months.

These include:
• Keeping the area where birds live clean and tidy, controlling rats and mice and regularly disinfecting any hard surfaces;
• Cleaning footwear before and after visits;
• Placing birds’ feed and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds, and removing any spilled feed regularly;
• Where possible, avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species.

The UK is currently free from avian influenza, the last outbreak being in June 2017, after an avian influenza prevention zone was put in place across the UK to control the outbreak.

SIC environmental health officer Ian Taylor said: “Avian flu is a threat to all poultry and as we regularly see wild bird species in Shetland – especially waterfowl such as geese, swans and ducks – there is a risk of avian flu here too.

“Anyone who keeps domestic poultry, even in small numbers, should act now to reduce the risk of transmission of avian flu to their birds. This includes keeping them separate from wild birds wherever possible and taking some simple biosecurity steps such as regular cleaning and disinfection.”

Keepers should discuss their biosecurity arrangements with their local vet or contact the nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency office in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire by telephone on 01467 626610 or at APHA.Scotland@apha.gsi.gov.uk

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