Clarification on current Avian Influenza restrictions
Where mandatory housing is in force as part of an AIPZ, as is currently the case in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex, a bird of prey or multiple birds of prey that are already kept in the same facility, can be flown to meet bird’s welfare requirements for up to an hour each day.
Further restrictions apply if the birds are located in a disease control zone:
In a 3km PZ, birds of prey can be exercised once preliminary cleaning and disinfection has been completed at the Infected Premises and the initial epidemiological investigations have been completed.
In a 10km SZ, one bird (falcon/hawk etc.) or multiple birds that already kept in the same facility, are still permitted to be flown where it is essential for their welfare, but you must avoid direct contact with wild birds (i.e. catching quarry) because birds of prey are also susceptible to avian influenza.
Bird gatherings are banned within disease control zones, hence birds that are not already housed together/on the same premises should not be flown together.
Outside of disease control zones, and in the AIPZ excluding Norfolk, Sussex and Essex, birds of prey may be flown without restriction. However, keepers are advised to consider the local conditions and take a precautionary approach to how long they allow their birds out to exercise, dependent upon their local environment, while taking account of their bird’s welfare and need to exercise. You are advised not to feed any wild shot or hunted wildfowl, due to the heightened risk of avian influenza infection in those wild birds.
If a trained bird of prey is lost and/or has contact with wild birds, the following should be followed:
the bird should be kept completely separate from your other birds for 14 days, including being fed and exercised;
you should cleanse and disinfect footwear and change clothing before and after dealing with the bird;
good practice would be to tend to the ‘escaped’ bird last so there is less chance of potentially spreading any virus to your other birds.
Please step up your bio security precautions.
Dr Gordon Mellor Chairman The Hawk Board