Bird keepers in the Ledbury area are being asked to follow biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of avian flu.

An avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) was brought into force at midday yesterday (Monday, October 17).

This means it is now a legal requirement for all keepers of birds to follow strict new government rules to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds.

Avian influenza circulates naturally in wild birds. When they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe they can spread the disease to poultry and other captive birds.

Keepers with more than 500 birds need to comply with the minimum and enhanced biosecurity measures, including restricting access for non-essential people on their sites and ensuring workers change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

Backyard owners with smaller numbers of poultry, including chickens, ducks and geese, must also take steps to limit the risk of the disease spreading to their animals.

Bird flu poses 'low food safety risk'

These include keeping domestic ducks and geese separate from other poultry, making their gardens unattractive to wild birds and keeping free-ranging birds within fenced areas.

Bird keepers should visit the government webpage for full details. 

Councillor Ange Tyler, Herefordshire’s cabinet member for housing, regulatory services and community safety, said: “Herefordshire Council asks keepers of poultry and captive birds in the county to look out for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds.

READ MORE: Bird flu prevention zone declared across Great Britain amid new outbreak

“If you have any concerns, please report them immediately to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). You can help prevent avian flu by following the government requirements and maintaining good biosecurity on your premises.

“The UK health agencies say the risk to public health from the virus is very low. The UK food standards agencies say avian influenza poses a very low food safety risk for consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.”

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on: 03459 33 55 77.

Keepers should report any suspicion of disease to APHA on: 03000 200 301.