Scottish Farmers Union warn it's 'vital to maintain vigilance' around bird flu

The NFU says bird flu continues to cause huge concern and all flock owners in Scotland Credit: PA

The National Farmers Union in Scotland has warned it is vital to maintain vigilance around bird flu.

Thousands of wild geese on the Solway coast in Dumfries and Galloway have already died during the recent Avian Influenza outbreak.

The NFU is reminding people to keep their birds housed and to adhere to biosecurity measures at all times. They say risk of avian flu remains extreme and cases in wild birds are still being seen regularly across the country with high infectivity associated with the strain. 

NFU Scotland’s Poultry Policy Manager Penny Middleton said: “The Avian Influenza situation continues to cause huge concern and all flock owners in Scotland – large and small – must house birds and adhere to biosecurity measures.

“Unfortunately, it is apparent from anecdotal reports, that non-compliance with the housing order remains commonplace in backyard or garden flocks and that places the whole Scottish poultry industry at an unacceptable risk.  All bird keepers, whether you only have one or two hens or thousands, must keep birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread and eradicate the disease.

“All can play a part in tackling this devastating disease, including the public, should you be out taking a walk this winter.  If you find a single dead swan, goose, or duck; a single dead bird of prey, or five or more dead wild birds of any other species including gulls, then you should report them to Defra’s national telephone helpline: 03459 33 55 77 (and select option 7).

“Let’s all do our bit to help those who supply Scotland with our eggs and poultry meat.”

In response to the UK-wide outbreak of Avian Flu, nationwide housing measures came into force on Monday 29 November Credit: PA

The NFU also said, "Although the Protection and Surveillance zones associated with infections recorded in Scotland earlier this winter have now all been lifted from affected premises, there remains a prevention zone across the whole of the UK which requires all poultry to be housed and biosecurity measures to be strictly observed."