Latest UK pest control and management news for professionals

04 November 2022

Avian flu: Warning for falconers as housing order introduced


A national housing order will be introduced across England, making it a legal requirement for all those keeping birds to house their flocks.

Pest professionals working with birds of prey as a part of their IPM offering should read the biosecurity guidance, which includes details of biosecurity best practice. 

Pest controllers working in areas with poultry are advised to be vigilant with PPE and hygiene. 

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Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds are to be introduced to all areas from 00:01 on Monday 7 November, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer.

The housing measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.

The order will extend measures already in force in Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Essex to the whole of England, following an increase in the national risk of bird flu in wild birds to 'very high'.

Record cases of bird flu

Over the last year, the UK has faced its largest ever outbreak of avian influenza with over 200 cases confirmed since late October 2021.

The introduction of the housing measures comes after the disease was detected at over 70 premises since the beginning of October, as well as multiple reports in wild birds.

The UK's Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, is now encouraging all bird keepers across England to use the week to prepare, including taking steps to safeguard animal welfare, consult their private vet and expand housing where necessary.

"We are now facing this year, the largest ever outbreak of bird flu and are seeing rapid escalation in the number of cases on commercial farms and in backyard birds across England. The risk of kept birds being exposed to disease has reached a point where it is now necessary for all birds to be housed until further notice."

Housing alone will not protect birds and people must still follow the other enhanced biosecurity measures mandated by the AIPZ at all times to protect their flocks and prevent the risk of future outbreaks which is circulating in wild birds.

This means pest professionals working on farms or smallholdings with poultry will need to take extra precautions, such as changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures, wearing protective clothing, and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles regularly to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency continue to advise that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advice remains unchanged, that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat. 


More information can be found at

Previous BPCA release on avian flu measures:

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