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

  • pets
  • birds of prey
  • racing pigeons
  • specialist collections

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.

Flying racing pigeons, doves and other Columbiformes

In disease control zones, you:

  • can fly racing pigeons, doves or other Columbiformes from their home loft for up to one hour, once a day as a single loft
  • must try to prevent your birds having any contact with wild birds
  • must not leave lofts open for birds to come and go
  • must not fly birds together from more than one loft (bird gatherings are not allowed in a disease control zones)

In an avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) where there are housing measures in place, you:

  • can fly racing pigeons, doves or other Columbiformes for up to one hour, once a day from their home loft as a single loft
  • must try to prevent your birds having any contact with wild birds
  • must not leave lofts open for birds to come and go
  • should avoid flying your birds in areas where there are lots of poultry
  • must cleanse and disinfect any baskets, boxes and vehicles you use to transport your birds with a Defra-approved disinfectant
  • may transport racing pigeons, doves or other Columbiformes from the same loft to a point away from their home loft (a location that is not in a disease control zone) to release them for training or an event – but they must fly back to their home loft or be gathered and transported back to their home loft as soon as possible

If you follow the rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading, you can fly your birds as normal in:

  • places that are not in disease control zones
  • an AIPZ without housing measures
  • places where no zones apply

Check the Royal Pigeon Racing Pigeon Association Avian Influenza Code of Practice for Racing Pigeons if you keep racing pigeons.

Flying birds of prey or other captive bird species from hand

These rules do not apply to poultry. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeons bred for meat, partridges, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

In disease control zones, you:

  • can fly birds of prey or other species trained to fly from hand (such as parrots), including for pest control, from their home location for up to one hour a day
  • must not leave bird houses open for birds to come and go
  • must try to prevent your birds having any contact with wild birds

In an AIPZ where there are mandatory housing measures in place, you:

  • can fly birds of prey or other species trained to fly from hand (such as parrots), including for pest control, from their home location for up to one hour a day
  • must not leave bird houses open for birds to come and go
  • must try to prevent your birds having any contact with wild birds
  • may transport birds of prey or other species trained to fly from hand from the same location to a point away from their home (a location that is not in a disease control zone) for exercise, an event or pest control
  • should avoid flying your birds in areas with lots of poultry
  • must cleanse and disinfect the baskets, boxes and vehicles you use to transport your birds using a Defra-approved disinfectant

If your bird catches a wild bird or goes missing for more than one minute, you must:

  • isolate it from other birds
  • closely monitor it for signs of bird flu for 14 days before you let it fly for exercise again

If you follow the rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading, you can fly your birds as normal in:

  • places that are not in disease control zones
  • an AIPZ without housing measures
  • places where no zones apply

Bird gatherings

Bird gatherings are not allowed in disease control zones.

Gatherings of racing pigeons, doves and other Columbiformes, birds of prey and other birds trained to fly from hand (not poultry) are allowed in an AIPZ if:

  • you notify APHA about the gathering at least 7 days before the event
  • the gathering is held indoors
  • you comply with your bird gatherings general licence
  • you comply with any mandatory housing measures in place

Races and other outdoor gatherings are not allowed in an AIPZ when there are housing measures in place.

Check further rules for bird gatherings.

Feeding wild birds to birds of prey

Do not feed any wild birds or wild shot or hunted wildfowl to birds of prey:

This includes wild birds that have been frozen. The avian influenza virus can survive in frozen carcasses for at least 12 months.

Autor HM Government

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Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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