What to do if you keep birds

Bird flu is a disease that mainly affects wild and captive birds such as poultry and game birds.

The number of confirmed cases of bird flu has led the Government to declare an Avian Flu (bird flu) Prevention Zone across Great Britain.

This places duties on all bird keepers - whether pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock - to take certain measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

If you live in an area covered by a protection or surveillance zone there may be extra things you need to do. Read bird flu cases in our area to find out more.


Housing measures are being introduced from midnight on 29 November 2021. This means it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.

If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Animal and Health Plant Agency Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

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). Do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

Register for updates from Defra

To receive the latest updates from the Government on the bird flu situation and find out if the virus is found in your area, all keepers of birds are encouraged to register with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). If you have more than 50 birds this is a legal requirement.

Find out how to register your birds.

How to spot the signs of bird flu

Birds with bird flu may have the following symptoms:

  • swollen head
  • blue discolouration of the neck or throat
  • loss of appetite
  • respiratory distress such as gasping beak, coughing, sneezing, gurgling and rattling
  • diarrhoea
  • increased mortality

If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds, including those you keep as pets, you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

Bird flu cases in our area

Outbreak at premises in Bidford near Alcester

The Government has confirmed bird flu has been found in a small commercial flock in premises at Bidford near Alcester. A 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone has been put in place which will affect areas in Wychavon. The affected area is shown on the map below.

If you keep birds and live in the affected area then you will need to take certain actions. Depending on which zone you are in this may include housing your birds.

Find out more about protection and surveillance zone measures near Alcester.