Chicken and Poultry Information

Avian Flu


An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England effective from 5pm on 11 November 2020 with additional housing measures in force from 14 December 2020.


The AIPZ means all bird keepers in England (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just one bird in their garden) are required by law to keep their birds INDOORS.


This can be a shed or garage if you only have a few birds. 

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)

How to spot avian influenza in your chickens: 

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) can be fatal in birds.


Signs of it are:

  • swollen head

  • blue discolouration of neck and throat

  • loss of appetite

  • respiratory distress such as gaping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling, rattling

  • diarrhoea

  • fewer eggs laid

  • increased mortality

Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) is usually less serious. It can cause mild breathing problems, but affected birds will not always show obvious signs of infection.

Anyone who keeps poultry (even one chicken in their garden) must keep a close watch on them for any signs of disease, and must seek prompt advice from their vet if they have any concerns.

How does avian influenza spread?


  • Avian influenza spreads from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces.

  • It can also be spread by contaminated feed and water or by dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear.

  • The avian influenza virus changes frequently, creating new strains, and there is a constant risk that one of the new strains may spread easily among people.

  • There is no current evidence that any recent strain of avian influenza has been able to spread directly between people.

  • Avian influenza isn’t an airborne virus.

Risk level

The risk of avian influenza has been increased:


  • Wild Birds: Very High

  • Poultry with high biosecurity (kept indoors): Medium

  • Poultry with poor biosecurity (kept outdoors): High


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The information on this page is from:

You can find more information and resources on avian flu by visiting the .gov site