Keepers reminded of next week's mandatory housing measures

Defra unveiled housing measures starting from 14 December as UK bird flu cases mount
Defra unveiled housing measures starting from 14 December as UK bird flu cases mount

All poultry keepers - large and small - are being encouraged to put in place measures to house their birds as new rules come into place from Monday.

It follows the government's announcement that new mandatory housing rules will be enforced across Britain from 14 December.

From that date it will be a legal requirement for all farmers and poultry keepers to keep their birds indoors.

They will need to follow strict biosecurity measures to limit the spread of avian influenza and eradicate the disease.

Just this week, new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza were confirmed at two turkey farms in Norfolk.

NFU Scotland is urging keepers to ensure they take the necessary measures to protect their poultry.

The union's poultry policy manager, Penny Middleton said: “Giving poultry keepers due notice of these new measures coming into force on 14 December will allow them to prepare and implement the housing order to the best of their ability.

"In recent years, the industry has had to respond to heightened AI risk at this time of year and many will have contingency plans prepared for this eventuality.

“Every poultry keeper, whether you have one hen in the back garden or a large poultry business, must house their birds and I would urge everyone with poultry to take these measures seriously."

She added: “It’s crucial that everyone remains vigilant and reports any signs of disease in their birds at the earliest opportunity.”

Defra says the risk to human health from avian influenza is very low and poses a very low food safety risk for consumers.

It does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.