Avian Influenza: UK government implements bird flu prevention zone to stop the spread of diseas

  • People with more than 500 birds inside the Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) must restrict access for non-essential people, change clothing and footwear before entering enclosures, and vehicles must be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • All bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet.
  • The AIPZ does not at present require the housing of birds.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease 

If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7). Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

Information on the latest avian influenza situation and biosecurity is available at:


Shooting, whether of gamebirds or other quarry species, is currently not restricted as part of the conditions associated with this Prevention Zone, and neither is shooting directly impacted by the implementation of 3km and 10km control zones at sites where Avian Influenza is currently identified. There are currently five sites in England: Leeming Bar, Hambleton, North Yorkshire; Salwick, Flyde, Lancashire; Frinton-on-Sea in Tendring, EssexAlcester, Bidford, Worcestershire; and Droitwich, Worcestershire; in addition to Wrexham in Wales and Angus in Scotland. For details of the cases and the measures that apply in the disease control zones in England, see the avian influenza: cases and disease control zones in England guidance.

There are also currently no restrictions on the movement of shot wild game bird in or out of protection and surveillance zones, and no special conditions for the marking, movement, or sale of the carcases.

Avian influenza circulates naturally among wild birds and can be spread to poultry and other captive birds when they migrate to the UK from mainland Europe in winter.

You should register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so Defra can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

Pigeons or birds of prey

In England, you can exercise and train pigeons or fly birds of prey, including for pest control, but they should avoid direct contact with wild birds. For further information see the biosecurity guidance.

The Hawk Board have said: “[We] have been advised that advice falls short of requiring us to stop flying. The advice remains as of last year, avoid flying and feeding your BoP on waterfowl and where possible stay away from wetlands. Also, respect poultry and livestock operations by observing access restrictions and adhering to strict bio-security protocols.”

You can read the Hawk Board’s Avian Influenza Guidelines here and their Welfare Guidelines for Falconry here.

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