All owners and keepers responsible for animals - including farmed poultry - have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act (2006). This is to ensure their animals are provided with a suitable environment and diet, so as to be free to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable) and to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease, and should:
- Keep water fresh and free from droppings
- Keep feed under cover to minimise wild bird attraction
- Keep waterfowl and chickens separate
- Control vermin
- Isolate new stock for 2-3 weeks
- Isolate birds after taking to an exhibition for 7 days
- Change clothes and wash boots before and after visiting other breeders
- Change clothes and wash boots before and after attending a sale
- Keep fresh disinfectant at the entrance to poultry areas for dipping footwear
- Disinfect crates before and after use, especially if lent to others. However, it is preferable not to be sharing equipment
- Disinfect vehicles which have been on poultry premises but avoid taking vehicles onto other premises
- Wash hands before and after handling poultry
- Comply with any import/export regulations/guidelines.
The above are practical measures which can easily be incorporated into a daily routine as advised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Further information on keeping poultry healthy and preventing endemic infections can be found on the DEFRA website.