ALL bird keepers in Great Britain will have to register their flocks regardless of the numbers kept.

From 1 October 2024 in England and Wales, and 1 September in Scotland, it will be a legal requirement to register flocks regardless of their size.

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Currently, only those who keep 50 or more poultry must do so, limiting the effectiveness of national disease control measures, in particular when it comes to avian influenza outbreaks.

By registering birds, keepers will receive critical updates relevant to them, such as on any local avian disease outbreaks and information on biosecurity rules to help protect their flocks.

Defra said this will help manage potential disease outbreaks, such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease, and limit their spread.

More effective surveillance

“The information on the register will also be used to identify all bird keepers in disease control zones, allowing for more effective surveillance,” it added, “so that zones can be lifted at the earliest possible opportunity and trade can resume more quickly following an outbreak of avian disease in Great Britain”.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, said: “These new rules will enable us to have a full picture of the number and location of birds kept across Great Britain, making it easier to track and manage the spread of avian disease.

“This information will be vital in helping to inform future risk assessments and maintain our commitment to continually building our extensive avian influenza research portfolio.”

Further information on the registration of birds can be found on GOV.UKgov.scot and gov.wales.