You must follow the rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading. The rules apply to all poultry and other captive birds, including game birds.

Report signs of disease

You must check your birds regularly for signs of disease. Contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns.

If you suspect bird flu, you must report it immediately. If you do not report it, you’re breaking the law.

Check if you’re in a bird flu disease control or prevention zone

Check if you’re in a zone on the bird flu disease zone map.

If you’re in a disease control or prevention zone you must follow the rules for that zone.

Releasing game birds into the wild

Once game birds have been released, they’re classed as wild birds for bird flu rules. The person who released the game birds is no longer classed as the keeper of the birds.

You must not release game birds into the wild if you’re in a disease control zone.

You can release game birds into the wild in an avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) in areas:

  • without housing measures
  • where no disease control zones are in force

Additional rules apply to the release of common pheasants or red-legged partridges on European sites or within 500 metres of their boundary (known as the buffer zone). These species may only be released under under licence.

In a disease control zone or AIPZ:

  • you can continue to feed and water released game birds except within 500m of a premises where poultry or other captive birds are kept
  • you should minimise the chance of other wild birds accessing your birds’ food and water

Catching up game birds

You cannot catch up gamebirds from the wild outside the shooting season for the species.

Once caught up, previously wild game birds are classed as poultry. They are subject to all the same bird flu rules as other poultry.

Game Farmers’ Association advice

Check the bird flu advice from the Game Farmers’ Association.

Published 4 November 2022

Autor HM Government

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