Defra has announced the welcome news that the housing order for poultry is to be lifted with effect from 18 April. The announcement is a timely one for keepers of poultry and comes with a plea for all to maintain high levels of bio-security in order to protect against the spread of avian influenza.
Advice and guidance from Defra for keepers in England and Wales can be found here.
Keepers of more than 50 birds are required to register their flocks, whether they’re of a single species or a combination of different ones. Non-compliance of registering could result in a fine up to £5,000.
Where companies keep poultry at more than one commercial premises they should supply information for each on a separate form, and the regulations still apply if the premises are only usually stocked to this level for part of the year.
Details of the name of the person responsible for the poultry at each premises and the legal owner of the poultry must be provided. Employed keepers are reminded that they should have permission from their employer before submitting information on their behalf.
If you keep large numbers of poultry and it is difficult to account for all individuals please provide an estimate based on your written records to within 10% accuracy.
Premises where all poultry and their eggs are kept by their owners for their own consumption or, in the case of poultry, as pets are not viewed as commercial.
For the purposes of the register ‘poultry’ refers to all birds reared, given, sold or kept in captivity for showing, breeding, the production of meat or eggs for consumption, the production of other commercial products or for restocking supplies of game. Download the GB Poultry Registration form here.
This requirement will apply to almost all shoots as captive pheasants, ducks and partridges will come within the regulations. Defra have called for all shoots to register even those with fewer than 50 birds, but this would be voluntary.
For game bird premises, please note that the information supplied should only relate to captive birds and those still under the control of the keeper, and not to birds that may remain on the premises (for example, in a woodland area on the premises) after release. Birds are considered captive in release pens until the birds can fly, or walk, freely to and from the pen.
In addition, Defra is currently running a consultation until the end of May on whether the requirement to register flocks should apply to all keepers regardless of the number of birds kept. A link to the consultation can be found here.