a chicken inside of a virus image

Avian Influenza Update

It is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to protect their flocks.

Our guide below outlines ways you can help to reduce the risks to your flock.

Biosecurity is key

Maintaining effective biosecurity has never been more critical for overall flock health and to provide an essential defence to help limit the spread of Avian Influenza (AI).

  • Put a footbath either outside or just inside your run and ensure you dip your feet before entering and leaving.
  • Keep areas clean and tidy and regularly disinfect hard surfaces, feeders and drinkers. You should use a DEFRA approved disinfectant which has been tested to kill off the AI virus such as Nettex Virocur, Progiene Coxicur, Virkon S, Virkon LSP or FAM 30.
  • Rodents can be abundant around poultry houses and scientific research has highlighted the potential role they play in AI transmission from wild birds to housed poultry. It is therefore paramount that you consider rodent control.

Hen hutches

  • Flocks that are in restriction zones are likely to be spending more time in their housing and run. Dust baths, perches and flowerpots to jump on can be a fun way to make the area more enriching and enjoyable for your poultry. Alternatively, you can keep your hens occupied with a high energy supplementary treat to encourage scratch feeding which will help to keep poultry happy, active and interested.
  • Consider a bedding for its insulation benefits, natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, but clean out regularly to help keep the environment as hygienic as possible.

Remain Vigilant

  • Be aware of the clinical signs and remain vigilant for any symptoms of disease in your flock. Clinical signs of AI include difficulty breathing, swollen head, closed eyes, lethargy, discolouration of the face and sudden death. A full list is available on the DEFRA website
  • Poultry owners should have a first aid kit handy to help deal with minor problems and examining your flock frequently can help you to know what is normal and to identify ailments early.


  • Clean hard surfaces, feeders and drinkers frequently with a DEFRA approved disinfectant
  • Clean and disinfect footwear before and after visiting your birds by putting a footbath either outside or just inside your chicken run
  • Discourage wild birds from accessing your poultry run and restrict access to your flock
  • Consider your rodent control programme and do ask our in-store team for advice. We have a comprehensive range of high-quality, cost-effective Mole Valley Farmers baits which are tried, tested and manufactured in the UK
  • Check your flocks housing to ensure they are in good repair and provide enough living space for your birds
  • Be aware of the risk and clinical signs of AI and inspect your flock frequently
  • Keep an eye out for #birdflu highlighted products and if you would like any further advice do speak to one of our team at your local Mole Valley Farmers or Mole Country Stores

DEFRA Key contact details

If you suspect that your poultry or captive birds might have AI, you should report it immediately to the DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.

Reporting dead wild birds

You should phone the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577 if you find:

  • one or more dead bird of prey or owl
  • three or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
  • five or more dead birds of any species

Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly ill birds that you find. For further information please click here.

For more information please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu#latest-situation or to register your flock or to receive free alerts about outbreaks of Avian Flu in your area visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/poultry-including-game-birds-registration-rules-and-forms