Animal health workers inspect bird for flu©Imaginechina/Rex Shutterstock

Poultry farmers have been given a new guide to avian influenza (AI), to help them establish a contingency plan for their farms.

The guide, which has been put together by the NFU and the British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association (Bfrepa), provides information on the disease, its routes of transmission, clinical symptoms, the risk to public health, movement restrictions and what to do if the disease is confirmed on farm.

Tom Lander, NFU poultry adviser, said that the new guide was aimed at commercial layer, poultrymeat and game farms, but that backyard flock owners would also benefit.

See also: Poultry farmers offered free avian flu workshops this autumn

Mr Lander told Poultry World that he hoped the guide would raise awareness of all aspects of AI so that farmers established quality contingency plans for their businesses.

He revealed that government vets were also drawing up AI Standard Operating Procedures for the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha), which would be useful to the industry.

“It has been quite difficult to get prescriptive guidance from Apha as they tend to say that no one size fits all,” he said.

He urged backyard flock owners to sign up to the Poultry Register as a matter of “good practice”.

Things to consider when putting together a contingency plan

  • Monitoring of stock protocols
  • Do all staff understand what the clinical symptoms of AI are and is this incorporated into a training plan for new staff
  • Risks associated with being in a control zone
  • What are the risks for other enterprises on the farm (for example, farm shoots and livestock)
  • Visitor book updated regularly
  • Apha local office contact details
  • Implementation of new and revised biosecurity measures, ie measures to detract wild fowl and migratory birds
  • Identify companies to consult with regard to cleaning and disinfecting (C+D)
  • Plan protocol for secondary C+D, including the products to be used and concentration at each C+D stage
  • Identify equipment to be dismantled
  • Vehicle/people movement plan
  • C+D area and equipment – vehicles
  • C+D area and equipment – humans
  • PPE required
  • Plan for manure/litter disposal
  • Disposal of waste material
  • Disposal of waste water
  • Rodent control measures
  • Storage plan for eggs, feed, litter and disinfectants
  • Location for warning signage